Doernhoefer siblings 'show' and 'go' at Renovo Fitness

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Siblings Eric and Liz Doernhoefer, who own and operate Renovo Fitness studio at Landmark Lofts in Hilliard, are competitive bodybuilders. They are pictured Oct. 14 at Renovo, 5224 Cemetery Road.

One is about the "show," and the other is about the "go," but siblings Eric and Liz Doernhoefer each inspire the other to excel in their fitness competitions.

The Doernhoefers both are personal trainers and have operated Renovo Fitness at 5224 Cemetery Road, which is in Hilliard’s Landmark Lofts mixed-use development, since November 2018.

That same month, Liz Doernhoefer, 26, of Columbus’ University District entered her first amateur power-lifting competition, which in turn inspired her brother, Eric, 30, of downtown Columbus, to compete this year in a International Natural Bodybuilding Association contest, at which he earned his “pro card.”

“He’s also about the show,” Liz Doernhoefer said, referring to how contestants perform in the physique class of the INBA.

In groups and individually, competitors strive to showcase a balanced and defined physique rather than being judged on muscle mass alone, Eric Doernhoefer said.

At his pro-qualifier event Sept. 10 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eric Doernhoefer placed first in three amateur men’s physique categories: novice, beginner and open.

The sweep earned him the "pro card," which he is required to defend by entering a professional INBA competition within two years of receiving the card. If he doesn't, he would forfeit the status.

“I plan to make by pro debut one year from now,” he said.

During the next 12 months, he said, he will work with a coach to condition for the competition, which includes cardio exercise, weight-lifting and “very disciplined" competition.

Although weight-lifting is not part of the judging in the physique class, it is part of the training regimen to showcase the muscles and contours of the body, he said.

Because he is competing in the International Natural Bodybuilding Association, he will be screened for performance-enhancing drugs, Eric Doernhoefer said.

So common is the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the related practices of bodybuilding, some competitions are divided into categories that allow or prohibit it, he said.

(The INBA) is pretty ruthless, too," he said. "If you fail, you’re banned for life and put on a wall of shame."

He chose to compete in the INBA because of its stance, Eric Doernhoefer said.

As Eric Doernhoefer contemplates where he will make his pro debut, his sister said she expects to resume competing in the United States Powerlifting Association.

After Liz Doernhoefer's amateur win in November 2018 at the CBUS Lifting Co. in Worthington, she competed at the same facility in April 2019 to earn enough points to compete in the USPA drug-tested nationals in Las Vegas.

“She’s all about the ‘go,’” Eric Doernhoefer said, referring to the three kinds of lifts she is required to perform: the back squat, dead lift and bench press.

In each category, the lifter is required to lift and hold, in a proscribed manner, the greatest weight possible, in three attempts.

Liz Doernhoefer did not rank in the national competition in 2019 and did not compete in 2020 because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but she is preparing to compete in 2021, she said.

Both siblings are college athletes.

Liz Doernhoefer played rugby at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Eric Doernhoefer played soccer for Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Eric Doernhoefer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movements, and was a personal trainer at several central Ohio studios before striking out on his own and opening Renovo Fitness, first at a studio on Parkway Lane in Hilliard in 2016 while Liz Doernhoefer, who has a degree in economics, was working in the human-resources department for a corporation in Chicago.

Not happy with her job, Liz Doernhoefer said, she took the opportunity to become business partners with her brother as the studio began to grow, and the two discussed the need for a more solid plan moving forward.

Almost two years ago, Renovo Fitness – named for a Latin term used to describe things that are renewed, repaired or restored – became one of the earliest tenants of the new Landmark Lofts.

The studio specializes in personal training for people of all ages, offering basic fitness, yoga, aerobics and other programs.

“We strive to make our gym a place where everyone can feel comfortable and we can help people achieve personal health and fitness goals at levels that are best for them,” Liz Doernhoefer said.

Libby Gierach, president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, said Renovo Fitness and the Doernhoefers have been a welcome addition to the city.

Earlier this year, the chamber named Renovo Fitness the "Emerging Business Award" for 2020.

"We are so lucky to have Renovo Fitness choose Hillard for their business," Gierach said. "They have become very involved in the community with volunteering for Taste of Hilliard, as well as the Hollyfest Arts & Crafts Show, (and) make it very easy for people to feel so comfortable in their fitness studio."

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo