Hollis Jolly, owner of the Ultra-Fit Gym located next to Casa Blanca on Hwy 72 in Athens, graduated from East Limestone High School in 1997. He studied drafting at Limestone County Career Technical Center as well as Calhoun, and also studied guided communications. He worked in several places in the US, including Texas, where he met his wife, Brenda. One thing that he never expected to be was the sole proprietor of his own gym. In fact, he had never even worked out in a gym until he was close to 20 years old. His mom had gotten a family membership to a local gym, and she didn’t want to see her investment in her family go to waste, so at first he went because of that. Hollis will quickly tell you that at the time he weighed “118 lbs soaking wet.” However, it wasn’t long before he was hooked on being fit, and became hungry for more education. He began to read everything about fitness, physiology, and nutrition that he could get his hands on.
Eventually the gym was sold and renamed No Limits, and the new owner continued to mentor Hollis. He competed in body building competitions in Huntsville, Montgomery, and Cincinnati, and he told me he “took 1st, 2nd and 3rd.” He also became a certified personal trainer, and that’s where the story really begins. Wherever he was, whether on the road with work or at home, he found he had a passion to help people transform their health as well as their shape. He began to do one-on-one personal training at several fitness centers in Alabama, including in Decatur, Rogersville, Hartselle, here in Athens at SportsFit, and he built a solid cadre of clients who followed him to each location. For a while, after Target downsized 2 ½ years ago, he even had a small studio in a building in his own back yard. “My clients have stuck by me wherever I have been. I have always loved training people, seeing results, and helping with their transformation,” he said. He added, “When I no longer had my job at Target, I knew I would never quit being a PT, and it was the perfect time to do this. I’m still here; I’m not going to quit, and I am happy at what I do,” he added.
The concept of “marketplace ministry” became clear when he attended some seminars on the topic given at his church, and he realized that’s what he wanted to do. He finally became comfortable with the obvious truth that helping others to get fit in every way was his purpose. They say you have found your true calling if you would do it for free if you could, and that’s how Hollis feels about helping others build their health. The only thing he loves more is supporting his wife and three kids, and he works hard to do so.
While the prices at Ultra-Fit are competitive with other fitness centers, Hollis feels he brings far more value to his clients than what they’ll experience at any other facility. “Here, people really get the help other places promise but don’t deliver.” While one-on-one personal training at Ultra-Fit is available for an additional fee, clients can ask questions any time, get tips and suggestions, and under Hollis’ watchful eye they are taught how to maximize their work out, as well as how to avoid injury. He also “certifies” any of the personal trainers on his staff. They have to meet his approval before he’ll release them to work with the clients.
“We really don’t want to function like the big gyms,” he said. “People here are family, and they are the ones that are building the Ultra-Fit brand. They are the ones that are out recruiting. One woman lost 12 lbs in one week, eating clean and exercising,” he added. The word “transformation” is used a lot these days, but Hollis has both seen it and helped make it happen. “We are a fitness hospital,” he said. “If you are disabled, you are welcome. If you are wanting to gain strength, sculpt your body, or change your attitude, we are here for you,” said Hollis. He also has a library available and teaches his clients physiology. He doesn’t just want them to get visible results, he wants them to know why it’s working.
Ultra-Fit has the highest quality treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, and an all-in-one Smith machine made by Cybex. They offer aerobics, yoga and Zumba classes. Soon they will be adding spin classes as well as kick-boxing. There is child care available at no charge.
The Ultra-Fit packages are designed to meet the specific needs of their clients. If you are not someone who wants to commit to a contract, you can go month by month. That cost is $45. Contracts are $30 per month, and for November and December, the cost is $20 per month. There are family packages as well, and those are $55 per month. Each client is given a key card, so they can have access 24/7.
If you are wanting to give the gift of fitness to a loved one or yourself, come see Hollis Jolly at Ultra-Fit, and experience transformation from someone who has found their passion.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner