Pro Fitness 24-Elite Fitness, Nutrition and Sports Performance is a locally owned and operated fitness facility located at 1913 E Fire Tower Road which has opened its doors to East Carolina University athletes while uncertainties dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic hover.
Co-owners Chelsea and Roy Hopkins founded Pro Fitness 24 in August of 2011. Roy is a Greenville, North Carolina native who graduated from D.H. Conley High School, and later went on to graduate from East Carolina University in 2006 with a degree in exercise and sports science.
Before attending ECU, Roy said he played collegiate baseball at Pitt Community College. As a former college athlete, Roy said he has a complex understanding of what it takes to play after high school sports and said that is an integral part of what he and the gym offer to the community.
“As a former athlete, I’ve just tried to bring that environment and high energy to the gym atmosphere,” Roy said. “That’s kind of what it’s about.”
For a duration of the summer months, ECU’s athletic facilities were closed or operated on a strict schedule and players from a variety of sports found refuge and availability in Pro Fitness 24, according to Roy.
Student-athletes from several different sports at ECU have made their way to Pro Fitness 24. It isn’t just athletes whose sport is in session or those who need extra work, Roy said. He said all sorts of Pirate student-athletes have come around.
“We got about five to 10 East Carolina football players in there because they needed to continue working out and their gym was closed,” Roy said. “Then we have some women’s lacrosse players, swimmers, men’s club lacrosse. We have a lot of equipment that caters to athletic performance.”
Roy said his knowledge on the topic of baseball gives him the opportunity to help mold young athletes in the area. In the back room of Pro Fitness 24, members can find a slew of exercise equipment such as medicine balls, battle ropes, punching bags and baseball equipment.
Additionally, Roy said he offers semi-private pitching and hitting performance classes, which local baseball teams typically participate in.
“Yeah I got them all, I’ve got Greenville Little League, (D.H.) Conley high school players,” Roy said. “I’ve been training fitness and athletics since 2003 and I’m born and raised in Greenville so I’ve been around a long time.”
Roy said the plan is to expand the gym so that they could do more in the areas of baseball and softball. Former Pirate baseball player Corey Thompson was a member at Pro Fitness 24, according to Roy. Thompson played for ECU in 2009, 2010 and 2011 where he played in 17 games as a true freshman in 2009 and closed out his career as a Pirate with a .328 batting average in the 2011 season.
As an International Sports Sciences Association personal trainer, Chelsea offers a different set of skills from her husband Roy. Chelsea said her specialty is not in college athletes necessarily, but women, their nutrition and helping them to learn proper technique, achieve their fitness goals and to aim them towards loving the skin that they’re in along the way.
Pro Fitness 24 is a safe place for beginner weight lifters as well as for more experienced lifters. Chelsea said there have been several occasions of new members having never set foot in a gym prior to theirs.
“We have people all the time that have never stepped foot in a gym before,” Chelsea said. “Come in and you have to pretty much teach them everything because they’ve never known. The biggest thing with that is getting them comfortable and feeling like it’s okay to be a beginner. That’s my biggest motto is that it’s okay to be a beginner.”
Beginners and those who struggle with body image are what Chelsea said she wishes to help the most as she understands where they’re coming from having been a beginner and somebody who wasn’t always proud of her body herself.
Chelsea and Roy both said their hands-on approach to the gym and their daily conversations with members are what set them apart from any other gym in town and claim that’s why ECU athletes, area little leaguers and beginners all call Pro Fitness 24 their weightlifting home.