The owner of a new Hilliard fitness center says his gym offers a unique feature: fitness of the spirit, as well as the body.
Graham Holmberg, 29, who lives in Columbus near Hilliard, opened Eleventh Element CrossFit Hilliard at 4665 Northwest Parkway on Jan. 13.
The term Eleventh Element refers to the "spiritual side of faith, prayer and God" that Holmberg adds to the "10 elements of fitness" that comprise the CrossFit brand, he said.
Those fitness elements include strength, stamina and agility, but, Holmberg says, "clarity of the mind" is as important as physical fitness.
The 12,000-square-foot Hilliard studio is the third CrossFit studio Holmberg has owned, but the first to introduce the Eleventh Element, an original idea of Holmberg's. The first two gyms were in Gahanna and downtown Columbus.
"We want to train people in their spiritual life, in their walk with God, which we think makes a better person," Holmberg said.
Classes at the Hilliard studio are offered Monday through Saturday.
"Each of the CrossFit classes is different each day," Holmberg said.
He said CrossFit, a core strength and conditioning program that has gained popularity in recent years, is intended to maximize physical fitness by avoiding predictable and regimented workouts.
"When the body has to guess what's coming next, you get better results," Holmberg said.
He said the fitness center offers an interactive experience, as opposed to some gyms where people listen to music on personal devices and work out alone.
The Eleventh Element is offered each Saturday, Holmberg said, when the group studies the Bible following a morning exercise session. Holmberg leads the Bible studies.
Holmberg said his grandfather was a minister for the Salvation Army. He said religion has always been a part of his life, though not as much when he was playing baseball and football at Capital University and pursuing his dream of being a professional athlete.
When that did not come to pass, he joined the varsity baseball coaching staff at Granville High School and met Ralph Hicks, a former professional baseball player in the Houston Astros organization.
Hicks owned a CrossFit studio in New Albany where Holmberg trained, which eventually led Holmberg to open his first CrossFit facility in downtown Columbus.
He also began competing in CrossFit competitions.
In 2010, Holmberg was named the "Fittest Man on Earth" at the CrossFit Games, televised each year on ESPN. He first competed in 2009 and has competed every year since.
"After I opened my first studio, I reconnected with God," Holmberg said. "After I put Him first, he put me first (in the CrossFit games in 2010) and I have continued my faith journey."
Holmberg's staff includes his wife, Savanna, who offers cooking classes with healthful food choices.
For more information about Eleventh Element CrossFit Hilliard, call 614-562-7971 or visit its Facebook page. A website, crossfithilliard.com, was under construction as of Jan. 20.