is a weekly feature highlighting local businesses serving Washington
and Beaufort County. This week’s BizLine works out with Fitness
Unlimited, a Washington gym.
Austin Thomas went from banks to barbells.
Thomas, who co-owns Washington’s Fitness Unlimited with his wife,
Amy, started out financing gyms at BB&T.
Then, the banker decided to strike out on his own, starting Fitness
Unlimited 11-and-a-half years ago.
Today, the gym has around 2,100 members, including its
senior-citizens Silver Sneakers population, part of a national
“Silver Sneakers is about 250 members,” Thomas said. “It’s 65 and
older. It’s paid for by insurance companies. It’s actually very
different than our traditional member base where John Doe walks in
and pays for his year or after his year, that kind of thing.”
Fitness Unlimited also boasts its Total Solution weight-loss
program, which has yielded results for people like Jerry Woolard of
Washington, who was recently profiled on WITN-TV.
“That has kind of changed the face of our club,” Thomas said of the
initiative, adding that within this one program are 29 different
programs, all tailored to the client’s weight goals, metabolic rates
and other factors.
In other words, Fitness Unlimited is more than just free weights and
treadmills — although the building sports those items in abundance.
“The image that people have of our gym most of the time is wrong,”
And he sees the gym evolving even more to fit into a new fitness
“I see the industry going much more to wellness, I see us going much
more to wellness and the overall picture of someone’s health versus
traditional gym life,” he said.
Thomas’ No. 1 goal is to ensure his customers aren’t intimidated by
the experience of walking through the front doors for the first
“We want to get the intimidation factor out of people’s mind because
most people have this image before they ever walk in the doors of
what this place is like, and most of the time it’s wrong,” he said.
Fitness Unlimited houses a smoothie bar, tanning bed, child-care
room, sauna, full basketball court and, coming by Dec. 27, added
high-tech cardio equipment outfitted with TV and Internet access.
The facility also accommodates early risers — very early risers.
The place comes with an early access option for members to swipe
club-issued cards and gain entry to the building as early as 4 a.m.
“The goal is to expand that to 24 hours, but we’re waiting until the
market demands it,” Thomas said.
Regular hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays,
5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m.
to 5 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, call 252-975-7400, visit
www.fitnessunlimitednc.com or see the gym’s page on
“We feel like we change lives — I think that’s really what we do,”
Thomas said. “That’s what our mission is, is how can we impact one’s
life in a positive manner.”
Located at 622 W. 15th St., the gym has about 26 employees, eight of
Six years ago, the place had five employees total.
“So we’ve grown a lot in this location,” Thomas pointed out.
Thomas and Fitness Unlimited took home the 2012 Small Business of
the Year award from the Washington-Beaufort Chamber of Commerce.
Potential Unlimited, New
Year, New Goals
in Club Business for Entrepreneurs Magazine
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