(Photo courtesy of Mark Willey.)

The economic shutdown isn’t stopping one neighbor’s plans to open a new gym in East Dallas this summer. The news may be dominated by closures and layoffs, but Lakewood resident Mark Willey is hiring fitness instructors for Offbeat Boxing and Cycling Studios.

“The only thing we hear about is how people are struggling,” Willey says. “This is a story about hope. There will be better days to come. There are new businesses opening even in these desperate times.”

Essential construction workers are still renovating the building on Buckner Boulevard near the Bath House Cultural Center. If social distancing measures are successful in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, Willey plans to open in June. He hopes to attract active residents around White Rock Lake who have been locked out of their gyms for the past few months.

“Offbeat, to me, spoke to the culture of East Dallas,” Willey says. “We’re not focused on trying to be pretty, skinny models in a room together. It’s more about mental health and self-care and being inspired.”

The gym will offer rhythm-based spin classes and boxing-based classes that include punch combos on heavy bags, as well as core and athletic training. Keep performing at your best in the recovery room with coffee, grab-and-go snacks, percussive therapy and compression therapy.

For each class purchased, $1 will be donated to Trinity Athletics, a nonprofit that provides CrossFit Kids programs in underserved areas of Dallas.

(Photo courtesy of Mark Willey.)

Willey has been an active runner all his life, but he didn’t think about opening his own gym until experiencing the benefits of cross training. He upped his boxing sessions in the months leading to the London Marathon in April 2019. On race day, he beat his personal best time by 15 minutes.

He’s confident members at his gym will see results, but he’s had to hold on to faith during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s been a few sleepless nights,” Willey says. “Does this business model still make sense? Are people going to be scared to come in? Keeping my faith and following through when everybody says, “Don’t” has been a personal growth opportunity.”

Find Offbeat Boxing and Cycling Studios at 718 N. Buckner Blvd. or visit offbeatbcs.com.

(Photo courtesy of Mark Willey.)