FIT Personal Training founder Michael Everts refers to his business as an “institute of higher learning” for fitness more than an exercise gym and workout center. That distinction has proven key to the success of the soft-spoken 38-year-old owner’s enterprise, located on the lower level at the corner of 17th and Q streets in the Dupont Circle area.
Always knowing he “would work for himself,” Everts launched what is now “the oldest personal training gym in Dupont” at 1633 Q St., N.W., in Dec. 2002. The high-profile spot at the center of the 17th Street commercial strip garnered immediate attention. “There weren’t a lot of similar options when I opened FIT,” Everts recalls.
It was his fitness philosophy, however, that attracted clients to the one-on-one personalized approach he offered, initially as the sole trainer. Everts now employs 14 part-time and full-time trainers assisting a diverse clientele that has evolved alongside neighborhood demographics.
Specializing in individualized instruction for clients with a wide range of objectives, Everts has assembled an experienced staff roster. “Our trainers have comprehensive knowledge, allowing us to teach people how to work out with a plan covering all aspects of health, exercise and fitness,” Everts emphasizes.
Hiring professionals with “very strong academic credentials,” Everts employs trainers with a minimum five years experience and multiple accreditations. “I know how much I’ve learned,” he adds, “and continue to learn about all areas of fitness. We’re not a place that checks exercises off a list, instead designing strategies for achieving goals.”
“Most new participants come from referrals,” he notes, “but we also get a lot of walk-in inquiries from people who have seen our sign or website and heard good things about us, as well as those working in the surrounding area.”
Everts – who serves on the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Nutrition – has a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Rehabilitation Science. His credentials include certification both from the American College and the National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise and National Endurance Sports Trainers Association. A former college athlete with a background in physical therapy, Everts is a NASM-certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, holds an Advanced Exercise Nutrition Certificate and is a CrossFit L1 Trainer.
He personally introduces new clients to the compact well-equipped facility, featuring both free weights and other equipment ideal for use at home or when traveling, and that “provide diversity in muscle recruitment.” Everts sits down for a complimentary one-hour meeting to discuss goals before setting up a schedule with a dedicated trainer. Optional in-home sessions and on-site workouts in residential gym facilities are also available.
One of those trainers is Alvaro Maldonado, domestic partner to Everts, and director of local non-profit dance-theatre company Ballet Teatro Internacional. Maldonado’s training in both classical and modern dance expanded expertise in stretching and alignment techniques.
The couple met shortly after Everts opened FIT and they now live above the gym in the mixed-use building with their two surrogacy-born children. In addition to training clients, Maldonado assists with administrative tasks and marketing projects. They share childrearing duties for five-year-old son Paolo and five-month-old daughter Sasha.
The motivation for Everts to provide guidance to those focusing on their wellbeing is exemplified in his obvious pleasure ducking out of the gym to meet Paolo after his pre-K classes at Ross Elementary School a block away. “The best bang for your buck,” Everts says, “is investing in your health and not being limited by coordination, alignment, or core strength.”
It’s the kind of fitness that allows him to playfully lift Paolo up as they walk home from school together.