by Susan Mikula Campbell
If your new year's resolution to get up and get in shape got up and went back to the couch, Anthony Kukovica might have the answer.
"If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you," is the slogan for his new business, Apex Personal Fitness, at 2408 Military Road in Payne's Plaza, Town of Niagara.
Unlike regular gyms, where customers have to share their imperfections with the rest of the masses (others who hold gym membership), Apex is a private fitness studio where Kukovica trains individuals or small groups by appointment.
"There's really nothing else like it in this area," he said.
Town of Niagara resident Stephanie Bowman came to Apex with a goal of becoming fitter and healthier.
"I started to see changes pretty quick," she said. "It's easier to focus; it's private between you and your trainer."
A certified trainer and certified nutritionist, Kukovica, a Town of Lewiston resident and Lewiston-Porter High School graduate, attended Niagara County Community College with a goal of eventually becoming a chiropractor. He took a health sciences training class as an elective, and "just kind of fell in love with it." He worked at World Gym on Military Road for more than two years while he was in school and enjoyed the work, but felt restricted by gym hours and not having the "flexibility to work with somebody an extra 10 minutes."
He now works by appointment with all ages, and has taken clients as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 8 p.m., both weekdays and Saturdays. He even offers a 12-week evening "boot camp" for six to eight people at a time.
The studio, which opened in November 2013, is filled with new, state-of-the-art commercial fitness equipment, ranging from free weights to machines and cardio equipment.
And, his clientele at Apex is growing.
"I might be able to bring in a couple of trainers even sooner than I expected, because I'm getting pretty busy," he said.
When a client signs up with Apex, she (or he) gets a free health consultation and discusses with Kukovica what she wants in a program and what would best fit her needs, such as gaining muscle, losing weight, strengthening and conditioning or sports-oriented training. Based on the goals, the individual is given not only personal attention, but also a meal plan, a workout routine to do on her own, a cardio plan and supplement guidance.
"Everyone's a little bit different in what they want," Kukovica said.
Kukovica is no slouch himself. He's been playing sports "since I could walk." He holds bench press, quad press and deadlift state records for the 181-pound class. He also just started competing in men's physique. Last summer, he came in 11th in physique in his class at a national competition in Dallas, so now is offering show prep training at his studio, as well.
Men's physique is different from body building competition. Judges look for fitness with proper shape and symmetry combined with muscularity and overall condition.
When it came to naming his new business, Kukovica whittled suggestions down to three. He chose Apex, because it means the top. "I want people to feel their best, look their best and be their best," he said.
For more information about Apex Personal Fitness, call 716-248-0250.
Anthony Kukovica is shown working with a client at his new fitness studio at 2408 Military Road, Town of Niagara. The gym features a variety of workout equipment.