The last time you were circling the Whole Foods parking lot, you might have glanced across Lincoln to notice a group of highly motivated individuals running sprints, flipping over tires and lifting kegs. (What's this, you ask. A new business taking over another auto body shop on Lincoln?) By the time you load the trunk with fresh veg for this week's juice cleanse, you're thinking it might be time to spice up your fitness routine, and you'd like to know more about this Deuce Gym.
Combining general CrossFit strength and conditioning with specialized training programs, Deuce Gym embodies the versatility, expertise and enthusiasm of founding coaches Logan Gelbrich and Danny Lesslie who have evolved the business from small group workouts on the Santa Monica bluffs into a rapidly growing community of members who settled into a permanent space in Venice.
"We made it through a few winters outside, and then we were fortunate enough to get into this place," says Lesslie.
Gelbrich and Lesslie met three years ago training together at a CrossFit program in Santa Monica. Gelbrich, a Santa Monica native who played college baseball at the University of San Diego and then professionally for the San Diego Padres, and Lesslie, a Kansas City transplant who left his corporate gig as a financial advisor to dedicate himself to strength training and coaching, loved the communal aspect of CrossFit programs but wanted to also incorporate specialized coaching so that anyone, at most any age, and in any physical condition, could come in and find the right workout, and achieve their individual fitness goals. They ventured out and created Functional Fitness On The Bluffs, or FFOTB, which Gelbrich admits is not the ideal name from a marketing perspective, but FFOTB members lovingly referred to it as Fake Gym and the idea caught on quickly. However, as the group began to bulk up, it wasn't long before the City of Santa Monica saw Fake Gym as a real problem and started to impose regulations. Gelbrich and Lesslie began their search for a new place, and in February 2013, re-opened at 110 S. Lincoln, the former Pacific Service & Repair, which aesthetically has been incorporated into the new brand, Deuce Gym.
"We don't hide that," says Gelbrich. "The branding and look and feel of things has this vintage racing element, and the idea was to embrace the garage. The '2' is symbolic of the racing number on the side of a race car, and also because it is the second gym."
It's also emblematic of their move from Santa Monica to Venice:
"In 1915, the Grand Prix was held here in Venice," says Gelbrich. "It was supposed to be held in Santa Monica, and right up until the race, the community caused a little uproar, and an article back then said the wealthy opinions of Santa Monica swayed the mayor to cancel the event because it was going to be dangerous and problematic. So Venice raised their hands and said, 'Yeah we can do it here,' and it was this international success. 70,000 people were here. It was international news, a huge event, part of the race track was on Lincoln, dead man's curve was on Washington, and it's this whole cool history of Venice that few people know. So we saw the funny metaphor there, and we embraced our new home here in Venice."
They also brought on Coach Lindsey (Dr. Lindsey Mathews DC) who leads the Women's Only Program and the Goal Setting Program. She also doubles as a chiropractor for elite athletes including Sam Briggs and Lindsey Valenzuela.
The best part about the new and improved Deuce Gym? Both Gelbrich and Lesslie agree that it's the tight-knit community of friends and neighbors who motivate each other in and out of the gym. Deuce is not only a place to exercise, it's a place to barbecue, a place to see old friends and new ones, and a place to feel welcome.
"You'll be coached here better than you've ever been coached anywhere in your life," says Gelbrich. "It just so happens that we also have this community element."
110 S. Lincoln Blvd., Venice CA 90291