UTEP students reach their dream of opening fitness center

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

Inspired by their love for fitness and strong desire to give back to the community, three UTEP students have decided to pursue their dreams and have open their own gym.

Peak Fitness, which had its grand opening on Oct. 31 at 5450 Hurd on the Westside of El Paso, is the result of husband and wife, Pamela and John Paul Buchanan, both UTEP students and a UTEP alumni Kimberly Rayner.

“The inspiration came from my partners,” Rayner said. “We really have a passion for fitness and helping others, so that’s something that really brought us together.”

The trio hopes Peak Fitness becomes more than just a gym and is seen as a second home, with a friendly environment for everyone who works out there.

“We decided  to do something   friendly, where everyone here is a member of a family, and that’s one of the main reasons we started it,” Rayner said.

Rayner received her degree in marketing, but never imagined she would be using her business skills as a means to run her own fitness center.

“It was put in front of me, and that’s what motivated me to go through it with it,” Rayner said. “I’m just so glad to be here because it’s a positive environment.”

Peak Fitness will feature personal training sessions that focus on unique training methods and the development of close relationships with everyone involved.

“What’s cool about this gym and what separates us from other gyms is that we are a personal training gym,” Rayner said. “We have sessions every hour on the hour, and there are no more than four clients per hour per trainer, so you can build a relationship with the trainers.”

Because all three of the owners have a UTEP connection, they hope to one day create programs and specials for UTEP students.

“I haven’t spoken to my partners about that yet, but once we speak about it, hopefully we can come up with something for students,” Rayner said. “At other gyms, you may go and workout and then leave, but here you can stick around and talk to everyone.”

During this new journey, the three business owners hope to help out the El Paso community the best way they can and assist anyone on the path to lead a healthier life.

“What I’m looking forward to the most is helping everyone build confidence with their body image and helping people in general,” Rayner said. “I’m so glad to do be doing this partnership with Pamela Buchanan and John Paul Buchanan, because they’re amazing people and they have motivated me so much.”

Pamela Buchanan, senior multidisciplinary studies major, said she’s excited for this next step in their lives because they can help members of the community in a way that is uniquely their own.

“We have a passion to help people and we wanted to do it on our own, instead of under somebody else,” Pamela said. “We just love helping people and motivating them and being around people.”

As someone who has been into fitness since she was young, Pamela said she is excited to share her love for sports through the gym.

“I’ve played sports all my life and I started doing CrossFit in 2012, and I loved being a part of a gym,” Pamela said. “I started coaching and training, and it felt so good hearing things like you ‘changed my life’ or ‘I’ve lost so much weight and I’m eating better,’ it’s a really good feeling.”

John Paul Buchanan, senior kinesiology major, said what he’s looking forward to most about the start of Peak Fitness is having another place to call home and sharing that feeling with others.

“I’ve always dreamt of having my own gym,” John Paul said. “I’m doing it with two of my good friends, one of them being my wife. I’m excited about having people feel like it’s their place, it’s their home. I’m looking forward to growing and being able to impact the community.”

Peak Fitness is open Monday through Thursday from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Friday they’re open from 5 a.m. to 11a.m., and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. For more information, call 585-1777.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]