Forging a path
A new gym does more than provide access to fitness.
The Pearl District’s Forge gym isn’t confined indoors.
Co-owner and trainer Jill Trebilcock takes clients outside to train.
Some walk to nearby Centennial Park to practice mixed martial arts. Others, the heavy lifters, flip tractor tires in a fenced-off space nicknamed the Pen behind the building at 1314 E. Third St.
Additionally, Trebilcock and fellow owner John Buck are transforming the rooftop, which has an idyllic view of downtown Tulsa, into a place for yoga and other classes.
“We didn’t imagine we’d have this much outdoor space when we bought the building, so it really was a blessing,” says Buck, who also is a Tulsa firefighter.
The owners first met through Kent Stockstill, a Broken Arrow firefighter who offered classes in Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense method. Because Trebilcock and Buck both work as trainers, they kept meeting and talking, which eventually led to opening Forge this past July.
For them, the Pearl District became the best choice.
“We just loved this area, and we had looked at a couple of other areas, but we always came back here,” Trebilcock says. “It’s growing and there is a lot of activity. We just love the old buildings and wanted something unique.”
Buck and Trebilcock see the space as a gym and a gathering place. Upstairs, members can meet in the kitchen and dining area, which also has a small library. They also have plans to cultivate a community garden near the Pen. And connected to the gym is a hair salon, where members can schedule a cut around their workouts.
“I had a tragedy, and the community really came together — the fire department and my clients — and so we wanted to recreate a place like that where there was a lot of support,” says Buck, referring to his battle with cancer, which has been in remission for four years.
Expanding on this idea, the owners are looking into providing seminars on nutrition, meditation and other subjects. They want to have dinners upstairs once a month for clients to meet and build a stronger support network.
Along with treadmills, weights and other exercise equipment, eight regular trainers teach a diverse range of fitness methods and classes.
Former professional boxer Cecil Pettigrew, or “Lethal Cecil,” has his own ring inside the gym and teaches all ages. Trainer Matt Christensen is a Russian kettlebell instructor. Buck incorporated his second job by repurposing an old fire hose as battling rope.
While providing some high-intensity classes, the owners offer training for the young and old. In April, Trebilcock began giving once-a-week fitness classes to students from Street School, an alternative high school that focuses on dropout prevention. She has several years of experience training teenage girls, ages 12-17.
“I’m really excited about working with the kids, especially in boxing, because it’s empowering,” Trebilcock says.
Through the nonprofit Cecil Pettigrew Foundation, the boxer Pettigrew also gives lessons to children from vulnerable populations.
While the gym is still expanding, its owners hope to gain enough members to keep the community projects and other interests going, but not so many that the gym becomes overcrowded.
“We don’t want it to be a place where you have to wait to workout,” Buck says.