Powerlifting Community

Unleashed Fitness helps build strength and confidence

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KATHRYN and DYLAN CAYLOR, co-owners of Unleashed Fitness, have carved out a unique space in Wilmington’s fitness scene. Like other trainers, the Caylors help clients get toned and manage their weight, but they specialize in powerlifting, which they stress is good for women as well as men.

Perhaps most radical, Unleashed Fitness has no contracts or initial or annual fees. Clients pay on a month-to-month basis.

“We wanted to keep it simple and unleash clients from commercial-style gyms,” says Kathryn Caylor.

The Caylors, who both earned an associate degree in fitness management from Hocking College in Ohio, always planned to open their own gym. After moving to Wilmington, they worked in a local gym for seven months. Then, the couple took the plunge and opened their own place in April at 3905 Independence Blvd. Unleashed offers one-on-one and partner training, and members can purchase day and weekly passes to the gym.

The Caylors’ personal training is tailored to each individual client. After an initial consultation and assessment, they help their clients set specific and achievable goals, they say.

That is, instead of the amorphous “I want to lose weight,” objective a client’s goal becomes “I want to lose 10 pounds by October 2.” Unleashed selects exercises to help clients achieve that goal, taking into account injuries or other special conditions. Throughout the training, the Caylors check in with their clients to learn if they need to adjust the program.

Though many women shy away from powerlifting, placing it in the macho, he-man category, the Caylors are changing several of their female clients’ minds. Currently, about 25% of women clients are powerlifters, and more are interested in transitioning into it.

That’s a good thing, according to the Caylors. The benefits of powerlifting, which is strength training on steroids, can’t be underestimated, especially for women, says Kathryn Caylor. Powerlifting builds muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which prevents injury; it stresses bones, which helps prevent or reverse osteoporosis; and it builds confidence, she says.

Another advantage of powerlifting is that it is functional: you use squats to sit, bench presses to open heavy doors, and deadlifts to pick something off the ground, according to Dylan Caylor. Also, if done properly, powerlifting can be done throughout your life, enabling you to keep doing everyday tasks and activities you love, he adds.

Despite its benefits, some women are afraid powerlifting will make them look like The Incredible Hulk. Not so, according to Kathryn Caylor, who says people are always surprised to learn that she is a powerlifter.

Though the Caylors focus on getting clients results, they also like them to have fun. The gym maintains a friendly atmosphere where clients know and support each other. In addition, Unleashed hosts special events such as the upcoming Donuts & Deadlifts competition on October 2. These competitions, which are open to people of all fitness levels, bring the community together, says Dylan Caylor.

While the Caylors hope to grow in the coming years, they never want to lose the personal touch they have with their clients.

“When our clients hit their goals, it makes us feel great,” says Kathryn Caylor. “They are like family.”

To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to michaelclinephoto.com.

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Categories: Health