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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
There's local beer on tap for after workouts, freshly brewed coffee, and gym-goers can bring their dog.
Brew Fitness might just be the most Milwaukee gym in town.
The owner, Ryan Mleziva, likes it that way.
"We take fitness very serious, but we don't take ourselves too seriously so that we can't experience what the city has to offer," Mleziva said.
One of the studio's classes that focuses on core strength is even called "Keg To 6-Pack."
The whole idea for Mleziva was to combine craft beer with fitness. He has a liquor store license to pour a rotating selection of local brews in the old candy factory building turned gym at 408 W. Florida St.
Just like Milwaukee, it's more than beer. Drinks from Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co., Pilcrow Coffee Roasters and Rishi Tea are brewed after morning workouts. Art from the health-focused Artery Ink hangs on the walls.
Mleziva said he takes pride most in Brew Fitness' "top notch, science-based classes."
Mleziva and six other trainers lead the studio's strength and yoga classes. A 10-pack of classes is $150. Single classes and unlimited packages are available too.
"With the coffee, beer and the camaraderie, there's an atmosphere where people come early and stay late because they want to. It's a fun hour of their day," Mleziva said.
His 2-year-old dog, Mia, hangs out some days too.
Mleziva moved from the small farm town of Luxemburg, near Green Bay, in 2006 to start school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The runner was given a full athletic scholarship to compete on the cross country and track teams. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, he left the city for a master's degree in kinesiology and sports management from East Tennessee State University.
Of course, he returned to Brew City.
He worked for health clubs large and small before deciding to go into business for himself. Brew Fitness opened July with a $30,000 loan from the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation. The studio has around 100 members, which Mleziva said is about halfway to capacity.
While there are dozens of gyms in Milwaukee, Mleziva thinks Brew Fitness is hitting an open spot in the market for a strength training gym in a sea of specialty spin, yoga, barre and crossfit workouts. Mleziva doesn't have plans to expand but said he could see the gym moving beyond Milwaukee.
"Brew Fitness could go into any city that has a brewery culture and a love for the city," he said. "Any area that has a love for coffee and beer would love Brew Fitness. It could be the next big franchise - who knows. But right now I'm not looking that far into the future."
Sarah Hauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @HauerSarah and Twitter @SarahHauer.
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