Opening Gym Post Covid – Spectrum News

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RALEIGH, N.C. — When you walk into Hardwork Strength and Performance and train with Aaron Hosking or Joe McNeil, you need to bring two things: your best effort and energy. 
What You Need To Know 
Hardwork Strength & Performance opened in 2022 
About 30% of all fitness studios closed since the beginning of 2021, but two business partners are hoping to beat the odds 
More than 1.5 million fitness industry jobs have been cut 
“If you can learn to work off the positive energy and on the worst days, on a negative energy day, and feed off of that, that’s what makes you a goat," McNeil said. "That’s what makes you great.” 
When the two friends opened their gym just eight months ago, they were faced with a challenge. 
Financial advisors told them it was too expensive, and that it wasn’t practical to open their dream garage gym, especially after thousands closed during the pandemic.
But much like they’ve had to do in their past, the two forged their own path. 
“I said no matter what I do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability, whether it was painting the walls by hand or picking the best equipment," McNeil said. "It’s not about how much money you have, it’s literally what effort you’re putting into it.”
Their struggles go back further than opening a gym. Both men have had health obstacles to overcome. 
“This was me immediately after surgery waking up. I had some of the tubes removed but that was what I was rocking out with," Hosking says as he shows the results of his heart surgery. 
He isn’t far removed from having an aortic aneurysm surgically extracted, a result of his 2012 diagnosis of Marfan syndrome, which is a disorder that affects connective tissue. 
Despite what doctors told him, he used it to motivate himself.
“It was just something that I never wanted to actually let go of. Even though I faced some adversity, I still wanted to push through and actually continue to better myself," Hosking said. 
That motivation to get better comes from the man he considers a mentor, and someone who has faced his own similar physical issues after a car accident when he was a child- his friend and partner, McNeil.
“I found out my L5 was missing. I wasn’t supposed to be able to bend over and tie my shoe by the age of 30, according to the orthopedics," McNeil said. "I just refused to accept that as a part of my life, this can’t just be it.” 
McNeil has far exceeded the expectations, powering through every blow he was dealt. 
That determination is what brings him and Hosking together as business partners. 
“The best way to become enlightened is to go through darkness," McNeil said. "I’m not going to ask for help from someone who’s never helped them self. 
While 30% of all studios closed since the beginning of 2021, McNeil and Hosking refuse be another statistic. Fitness is more than a hobby for the two, it is their life. 
“No matter what, if you work hard every day, something good has to happen, something has to come out of that," McNeil said. "You can have all the talent, you can have all the privileges. But nothing outworks hard work, and that’s what I want to live forever.” 


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