A 24-hour gym that offers personal training has opened in the former Roberts & Wellons space on Bridge Street in downtown Smithfield.
Flex Affect owners Cameron White, 26, and his fiance, Kasie Braswell, 27, have full-time jobs they plan to keep: He’s an insurance agent in Smithfield, and she teaches at Clayton High School. But they are passionate about health and wellness and are on a mission to share that passion with Smithfield of Johnston County.
White first began preaching health and wellness to his family. Flex Affect is an extension of that.
“This is about getting healthy regardless of your goal,” he said. “We can help you do anything you want – lose weight, get fit, eat better, strength train; whatever you need, we can be that.”
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A former Division 1 sprinter at Campbell University and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, White offers cross-training, group fitness classes and personal training. He’s also a nutritionist.
“He’ll even go grocery shopping with you,” Braswell said, laughing.
But wellness is no laughing matter to White, who is easy going until the music is on and he’s training clients. He’s firm but encouraging, with an emphasis on safety.
“We want to make sure you’re making healthy lifestyle changes,” White said. “This is about improving people’s lives, every step of the way.”
Everyone who enters Flex Affect has the opportunity to create a fitness plan with White, along with a nutrition plan to make sure they’re not only eating healthy but getting the nutrients needed to fuel the body through workouts. Supplement and vitamin recommendations round out the plans.
The gym is open 24 hours, and clients have special access to the secured building so they can use it any time of day.
“We want people to feel safe,” White said.
White and Braswell are renovating the 11,000-square-foot building at 311 Bridge St., and the first phase of that work is done. A lobby has nutrition products, merchandise and drinks. The gym is a large open area with mirrors and fitness equipment, including rowing machines and weight benches.
Flex Affect has an outdoor sandpit, and White is planning a Spartan obstacle course. Sometimes he takes his classes outside to nearby parks.
The first consultation at the gym is free.
Flex Affect attracted 30 clients in its first two weeks and is aiming for 50 before expanding into the rest of its building, which White aims to outfit with showers and lockers. The gym currently uses 5,000 of its 11,000 square feet.
White has worked at other gyms and has coached at the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center. “I’m taking the things that I’ve liked, the things I’ve seen work, and using them here,” he said.
Flex Affect aims to be the premier fitness facility in Smithfield, White said.
“I’ve seen Smithfield come up,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be downtown because it’s historic, and they don’t build places like this anymore. I want to help Johnston County with its health and wellness because that’s a problem in this county.”
“People knew me from sprinting and from growing up here,” White added. “And when they come here, they see what it’s all about. I’m about breaking down the barrier between fitness being miserable and being fun and helping people make drastic life changes.”
Braswell said she’s worked out with White since they were in college, and “we’ve never done the same thing twice,” she said. “He’s great at making it fun and different.”
Currently the gym has a lot of couples working out together, Braswell said. “We like that a lot because we get to help people be a team,” she said. “We get to help them help each other, and it’s great to see people be supportive of one another like that.”
“This is a place for everyone,” White added. “Everyone can feel comfortable and safe here while seeing their results.”
For more information on Flex Affect, go to www.flexaffect.com or search for the gym on Facebook.
Abbie Bennett: 919-553-7234, Ext. 101; @AbbieRBennett
Elsewhere in Smithfield
In other business news in Smithfield:
▪ Drive-in restaurant chain Sonic, which had a store in Smithfield years ago, is returning to town. The fast-food eatery is renovating the former Wendy’s at 1131 N. Bright Leaf Blvd.
▪ Kobe Japanese Steakhouse is relocating to 1551 E. Market St. That’s the lot being cleared next to the Waffle House.
▪ Country Folks Creamery, which offers homemade ice cream, has opened at 618-A E. Market St. That’s next to Zack’s Char-Grill.
▪ The Bistro on Third Street has closed, but a sign on the door says look for another restaurant to open in the space this fall.
▪ Ladybug designers, which offers pageant sashes, graduation stoles and embroidery, is open at 335 E. Market St.
▪ Vanir Installed Sales, which installs exterior siding, has an office at 237 E. Market St.
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