NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — The pandemic made it challenging for many people to maintain their fitness goals, but in this week’s Open for Business segment, CBS3’s Vittoria Woodill heads to a local gym whose mission is to help people keep health a priority.

“Strength in the physical form is strength in the mental form just taking place in the physical body,” co-owner Adam Pfender said.

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If a godly body is what you desire — or at least one that just makes you feel better about who you are here on earth — Arete Athletics is the spot for you. Arete’s personal training and classes are known for lifting muscles and mindsets to their highest peak of performance.

“The word Arete is derived from a Greek philosophy,” Pfender said. “It has a bunch of definitions, but the one we like to use is the act of living up to one’s full potential.”

Sean says the goal is to encompass the entire realm of helping their members better themselves.

“Yes we workout, we’re a fitness studio, but we want to be here to talk to you if you need to. Show you stuff we’ve done,” Sean said.

“I think there’s just a level of humanity here you might not get at other places,” Adam said.

Owners Sean Calhoun and Adam Pfender have known each other since high school and while their interests had them playing on opposite sides of the field, their challenges led them to team up as business partners years later.

Sean played lacrosse, basketball, football and soccer until concussions took over.

“Freshman year of college when I was playing lacrosse, I had to quit because it was too much with my head and I just started working out a lot,” Sean said.

Adam describes his younger self as a band geek and has a completely different story.

“I was overweight when I was younger all through middle school and then the first three years of high school I was overweight so this sucks, I’m getting made fun of all the time not being accepted for who I am,” Adam said.

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He knew he needed to change his life and started working out.

When Sean and Adam teamed up years later, they transformed the basement at Sean’s parent’s house into a home gym and would train clients outside of their work schedule as trainers at Orange Theory Fitness. Then, they started renting out space at local gyms in order to host classes, and as the classes grew, so did the need for more space.

Then COVID hit and they had to transform their business model. During the pandemic, they were able to help others stay healthy by holding free virtual classes online and also training clients in Adam’s driveway.

“We actually grew when we had nothing, it was cool,” Adam said.

They both knew in order to continue growing their careers the next step they wanted to take was opening a gym. Mid pandemic, the two quit their job as trainers and took a leap of faith in order to open Arete Athletics.

The gym officially opened on Dec. 4, 2020, after months of renovations and they haven’t looked back. The gym has gained the interest of people with nothing to lose mentalities just like them. People who are looking to write the best versions of themselves.

“I think it’s really important to have that space, wherever you do it, it doesn’t have to be here, but to have that time and space in your life to realize, hey I might not be where I want to be, but you can get there,” Sean said.

“I love this quote, it’s probably my favorite thing, ‘If you have health, you have hope, and if you have hope you have everything you need,'” Adam said.

Arete Athletics is located at 2458 W Main St in Norristown.

They are open seven days a week and have classes running in the mornings and afternoons/evenings. They also offer one-on-one personal training sessions which can be scheduled at times that work best for you. 

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The gym offers a one-week free membership for anyone interested in testing out the classes.