There’s still a clean gleam to the  knurling on the barbell, which rests atop the pins of a single blue and black power rack. A full set of dumbbells, sourced from fitness powerhouse Rogue, sits idle on a rack opposite, and large mirrors back the two side walls: clients are sure to know that at WakeUp Fit, good form is everything.

“Our main goal is always to educate,” said Tara Gesy, co-owner of WakeUp Fit, which opened in Mound Oct. 14. “We want our clients to come in here and understand what we’re teaching them so they can take it out into their regular life and maintain what they’re achieving in here.”

The new gym and wellness center occupies 900 square feet at 2354 Wilshire Blvd. in Mound, filling a three-year tenancy void in the city’s commercial district.

Currently open by appointment only, it’s certainly a personal affair with an almost homelike feel. A small kitchen occupies the back-left corner, and an overturned coffee mug dries on the counter.

“When our clients are here, it’s their gym not just our gym,” said Jeremy Boehne. Boehne. a Watertown-Mayer alumnus and NASM-certified personal trainer, teamed up with Gesy (who now lives in Watertown and is also NASM-certified) to build a business that runs counter to the big box gym.

The iron upstairs is just one part of WakeUp Fit. Go downstairs and there’s another half to the business, and it’s the half that fixes the gym into something a little extra.

WakeUp Fit is Lake Minnetonka’s first salt caves.

Halotherapy, or salt therapy, is relatively new to the States (WakeUp Fit will be the sixth business in Minnesota to offer it), but it has taken off in other countries and is sometimes even covered by insurance, said Gesy.

Halotherapy purportedly can improve a wide range of conditions, including skin ailments and mental conditions like anxiety and depression.

The caves at WakeUp Fit are set to a comfortablly cool 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and pink Himalayan rock salt set into the wood glows faintly. Generators behind the salt, when turned on, waft superfine deposits into the air and give the room a hazy look.

Boehne and Gesy met each other at the Waconia Snap Fitness where they found they both cleaved to the workout protocol of progressive overload and the perspective that wellness, not just about the body, had to be sustainable long term.

But beyond Snap, the route that brought the two together is one of personal trials that has left its chalk on their mind-body approach to fitness in the way they say that working out shouldn’t dominate life above all else, and pastries and a good physique are not mutually exclusive.

“A lot of people, they look great but they don’t feel great,” said Boehne. “The sacrifices they make to look the way they do – it’s just not necessary.”

Results, he said, are about consistency and smart programming; they’re not the work of an idealized chicken, broccoli and rice diet and three hours’ lifting every day.

“If you want to have a cinnamon roll or you want to go out for pizza with friends and have a beer, you should be able to do that,” said Boehne.

Boehne is open about how he first found himself in the weight room: adding weight to the bar was one way to remove it from his shoulders. Boehne said he went through a hard spell of depression a few years ago, and medication wasn’t going to do the trick.

“The fact that I could go to a gym and throw some dumbbells and barbells around to fix that is amazing,” said Boehne, who at the time was studying nursing at St. Cloud State. “I feel like I can help people now in a preventative way.”

Gesy, too, said she wants to use her experience to help others.

Losing her father in 2015 lent new importance to a doctor’s diagnosis of morbidly obese when she was 23, said Gesy. She soon found that heavy restriction didn’t pay dividends and that small changes long term did.

“Fitness didn’t change my life, it gave me a new one,” said Gesy. 

WakeUp Fit is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., by appointment only.

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