Fitness center is one of the newest tenants in Middletown Commons | Business

WHITE HALL — Marion County business owner Drew Hale recently relocated his gym, Next Level Fitness, from an older part of Middletown Commons to a new suite there.

The move happened after over a year of work renovating the new space. The gym — located in Suite 253 at the back of the former mall — now boasts over 10,000 square feet of space, almost twice as much as the original location. The new floor space has been dedicated to taking the gym to the next level, so to speak.

“I like Next Level Fitness not only because of the equipment and the atmosphere, but also because of all it has to offer,” said Kierstyn Palmer, a gym member. “I personally felt that Planet Fitness was a great place to start my fitness journey, but over time I grew out of it. Next Level ironically was what felt like the next level in my fitness journey.”

The new gym has been retrofitted with all of the latest amenities. In lieu of a pair of open locker rooms, Next Level has clean, private dressing rooms for their members which have been updated using the latest touchless technology including the toilets, sinks, soap dispensers and hand driers.

The backlit dressing room mirrors are even equipped with anti-fog technology. So, after a hot shower the mirrors will still be ‘selfie ready.’

“If there’s one thing I learned from Rocco it’s if you have clean bathrooms, a good product, and good service, people keep coming back,” Hale said paying homage to his old boss and local legend Rocco F. Muriale, of Muriale’s Italian Kitchen.

“Everything here is top of the line,” Hale said.

The gym offers access to both UV and spray tanning amenities to members, as well as drop-in group fitness classes in a soundproof workout studio lead by Hale’s wife Shawna. They offer spin, yoga, and barre (a form of ballet) classes. Next Level also has a half-court basketball facility. The half-court is accessible to members any time it is not reserved. The half court facility costs $25 per hour session of uninterrupted play. Some local youth teams have already been seen practicing at Next Level, according to Palmer.

Cleanliness and sanitation were huge priorities when renovating Next Level Fitness, Hale said. He wanted to distance himself from the kind of grungy atmosphere a lot of gyms are known for. The floors in the group fitness room and half-court facility have been made from an antimicrobial polymer that only needs to be cleaned once a week. Hale also invested in an HVAC system which auto circulates each hour for improved air quality.

Members of the new Next Level Fitness cam enjoy unbridled access to free weight equipment such as dumbbells, bench presses, and squat racks as well as a full array of resistance machines and cardio equipment. Hale also has plans to construct a turfed area outside where members will be able to exercise. He said the trees planted near the entrance will soon grow tall and provide a private area for members to exercise in the fresh air.

Hale also has plans to hang the jerseys of past and present Marion County athletes who went on to play for Division I schools all around the country. Hale said he wants members of his gym to realize that greatness can come from anywhere, especially right here at home in Marion County. Hale believes that seeing the greatness that came before is sure to inspire young members of his gym into letting him hang their jerseys in the future.

The gym is open 24/7 to members. Membership normally costs between $27-35 a month, but right now memberships are priced to sell at $19.99. More info at www.LiftNextLevel.com.

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By Betty C. Giordano

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