How Did We Get Here???

Matt Feb 22, 2023
11 People Read

-Like many, my fitness journey began in my early 20s after a bad breakup and has stuck with me ever since. It started with a membership to a local 24-Hour fitness where I was greeted with a sea of treadmills, a basic selection of Hammer Strength plate loaded, and Life Fitness selectorized equipment. Sprinkled in were a few well-worn pieces that I noticed had brand names that were not like the others. There was always that "one" Leg press that was unlike the others.

- One day I ventured into a local pro gym called Armbrust after hearing about it from friends. Armbrust opened my eyes to a world of gym equipment manufacturers from an era gone by; I was hooked. Being a mechanical guy, I became enamored by the combination of heavy steel, cams, levers, belts, and bearings. I became obsessed with the mechanics and thoughtful adaptation to human motion. Unfortunately, after a few years of training at Armbrust, life changes and a move made the commute beyond practical, and I found myself back at 24-hour fitness and now wholly dissatisfied.

- One day, while endlessly scrolling through Craigslist, as I so often did, I noticed a piece of equipment for sale that I loved using at Armbrust, and it was cheap! I bought it without thinking things through and set it up in my basement. Of course, I would need more than just one piece, and things quickly got out of hand. Next thing I knew, I had stuff stashed in every extra square foot I had available and enough to outfit a decent-size studio of my own. My next logical step was to do just that and rent out some commercial space. In 2014 I officially started The Icarian Complex and found about 2000 square feet available in a local strip mall that was once the Daycare portion of a Better Bodies. I built out the space and filled it with the pieces I handpicked.

- During gym ownership, I quickly realized that dealing with gym equipment was my forte, but attracting customers and clients was not. At the end of my lease, I became completely burned out trying to maintain, market, and work another job. Sadly, I wasn't motivated to move all that equipment again, and I sold most of it.

- I always maintained an interest in the equipment and planned on reviving The Icarian Complex when I found a new outlet. In 2021 I moved to Utah and had a house built with a huge basement that I left unfinished. I knew that would be the resurgence, and I was also fortunate enough to meet my girlfriend Nicole, who also shares my passion for the gym. From there, things went fast, and we built out a 1000-square-foot basement gym that we are calling a Next Level Home Gym. Most of our content is created here, and we are passing the knowledge that might be useful along the way. Enjoy the Ride!