Former athlete turns pandemic setback into gym in Virginia | Health and Fitness

Exchange-Former Athlete Opens Gym

Will Martin, a John Handley High School Class of 2014 member and former varsity football and baseball player poses for a photo in Vintage Iron, a strength training gym in the Delco Plaza shopping center Thursday, March 3, 2022 in Winchester, Va. A grand opening is planned for March 12.

WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) — When William Martin was laid off from his job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to put his time to good use.

Less than two years later, Martin, 26, has achieved his longtime goal of opening a gym. Vintage Iron opened Feb. 12 and hosted a grand opening event on March 12.

“I always had the dream of opening up a gym. I put most of the unemployment money I had and spent the last year and a half grinding and saving money, traveling all over to pick up equipment from Long Island, New York, to North Carolina. It’s been a process,” he said.

After playing sports at John Handley High School in Winchester and football at a small college in Maryland, Martin said being in the weight room felt like his second home. Even after graduating college, Martin kept up his fitness regime.

But he said the COVID-19 pandemic hit him hard, both mentally and physically.

After being laid off, he moved back to the Winchester area from Maryland and was living in his parents’ basement.

During that time, he kept thinking about someday opening a gym. Then he decided to turn his dream into reality.

“I remember early on in high school saying it would be cool to open a gym. I had conversations with a lot of my friends about it,” Martin said. “The chips kind of fell into place, and I said, ‘You know what, I’ve always kind of been entrepreneurial and always had that self-driving spirit. Let me see if I can do it.’ I put everything I had into chasing that dream of opening the gym.”

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