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JL Fit gym emphasizes training body, mind alike

JL Fit co-owners Jeremiah Burnett and Latoya Cauthen use their facility to expand their clientele’s minds as well as their physical abilities.

JL Fit co-owners Jeremiah Burnett and Latoya Cauthen use their facility to expand their clientele’s minds as well as their physical abilities.

One of the most popular destinations for the area’s high school athletes is a gym that’s developing far more than their physical abilities.

JL Fit, a gym located near the underpass on East Commerce Street (across from the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce), is a business established by Jeremiah Burnett and Latoya Cauthen, two athletes who began a grassroots following during the course of their routine training at Dunbar Park.

A humble group of just four grew into dozens over the course of a year, and now the establishment draws attention from not only Butler County’s best athletes, but any local looking for a tailor-fitted training regimen.

Burnett, a 1998 graduate of Greenville High School and a 3,000-yard rusher during the 11-1 season, knows a thing or two about expanding the body past its physical limits.

But he’s dedicated at least as much of his time to expanding his athletes’ minds, as well, thanks to novel ideas like the Teach One to Read One program.

“You’ve got a lot of kids that can’t afford that kind of training,” Burnett said.

“So in return for me training them, I tell them they have to read a book at least once a week, and then they have to come back and tell me about that book.”

The gym has become a popular destination for some of the area’s best athletes, including Greenville High School’s Joe Maxwell, Brandon Simmons and Skilar Moorer, and Georgiana’s Sir Jalen Scott.

The athletes all spend sessions working on traditional activities such as wind sprints, agility drills, improvised weight training and more.

One of Burnett’s more punishing drills is the focus factor workout, which sees athletes performing explosive workouts for five minutes straight with only a 30-45 second recovery period before jumping immediately into another five-minute workout.

Though there is some machinery at JL Fit, Burnett says it rarely gets used.

“They’re seeing working out in a whole different light,” Burnett said. “You can use what’s around you to get a good workout, and that’s what I use in my classes.  We use the steps outside by the railroad tracks.  My track is the block (behind the gym).  The goal is by any means.  We train like Rocky.”

The training benefits not only athletes, but also locals such as Brandon Sellers, who recently began boxing and weight lifting at JL Fit.

“Years ago, I broke my back.  So he tailors what I have to do around not putting any strain on my back,” Sellers said.

“This is by far the healthiest thing by far, and him holding me accountable for my workout has been great.”

Co-owner Latoya Cauthen, who spearheads the business’s Zumba classes as well as its Girl Talk sessions on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays, said that the business is a far cry from its humble beginnings.

“We started with four people,” Cauthen said.

“We grew, we got a building and now we have more than 50 people.

“And the New Year’s resolution crowd will come in during January, so that’ll be a good season.  And we’re in a perfect spot for marketing right downtown in Greenville.  You can’t beat that.”

Those interested in training at JL Fit are asked to contact Burnett at 251-369-2215.