Killing It with Kindness

Weightlifting at Skybox Gym
Local gym builds its brand on being welcoming.

You may know Drew Coleman from around town as a realtor with Fox Homes. Coleman also owns Skybox Gym in neighboring St. Louis Park.

Coleman’s trajectory toward the world of fitness has been in motion most of his life. He comes from a sports-minded family. His dad played college football for the University of Illinois and his brother played for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Coleman was a high school varsity athlete in football and wrestling. He put competitive sports aside to study business at Arizona State University and pursue a career. But, when approaching 30 years old, he realized how much he missed the benefits of routine fitness.

“I got really serious about [fitness],” says Coleman who studied up on personal training and managed to get himself into incredible shape. People wanted to know his secrets and began asking him to be their trainer. And since success often involves some combination of luck and timing, as luck would have it, the universe’s timing meant that just as Coleman was tiring of his then job as an event planner, his friend, an endurance athlete, was tiring of owning a gym. First, she hired Coleman. They gelled quickly and she gladly handed the daily operations over so she could take a vacation. It was quickly noticed how Coleman shined in his role at the gym, making it a no-brainer to eventually sell the business to him. Coleman hired a general manager and opened a St. Paul location. The business now includes four coaches and the development of a mobile app.

Skybox Gym promotes a hybrid style of training that includes weight lifting and explosive plyometric elements like jumping or throwing balls to get your heart rate up. “We use that same physiology from playing sports,” says Coleman. “Yes, we think you should get stronger, but we stop way short of what a Crossfit [workout] would be … It’s far more exciting than running on a treadmill and what’s really cool is that the workouts are different every day so you don’t get bored with it.” He says Skybox is everyone’s gym, adding, “We stress you are going to do this at your own pace … just push yourself to do a little better than yesterday.” That approach has led to increased interest from all people groups—women and men from every lifestyle and background.

The pandemic has been tough on gym owners and Coleman says the Skybox brand is all about kindness and being welcoming, bringing friends and giving high fives. Some things changed, but people kept coming, making it clear that people still crave connection and opportunities to stay fit.

Workout areas are spaced apart with one-way traffic flow and lots of available hand sanitizer. Those not comfortable with in-person workouts can participate via a virtual modality and Coleman says new people have discovered Skybox through these online connections.

Coleman noted that Skybox has a garage door that is kept open during workouts when weather permits. He believes being able to throw that garage door open again in the spring might be a symbol of having weathered the COVID storm.

If you crave connection and want to get your body back into spring break shape, check out Skybox Gym.