If one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2022 is to improve your physical fitness, a business that will soon open in the Creekside Marketplace shopping center on Rt. 412 may be able to help.
Unrivaled Nutrition & Training will be located in the space formerly occupied by Pet Valu–a pet supply store that closed in 2020–in the retail center just south of Hellertown.
Owner John Rainis–a Schuylkill County native, personal trainer and nutritionist–has been part of the Lehigh Valley fitness scene for a number of years. He currently operates a nutritional counseling office in Bethlehem Township, while training clients who include a number of competitive bodybuilders at Main Street Gym in Hellertown.
Given his familiarity with the Hellertown area and its demographics, Rainis said it was a logical choice when he decided to grow his business to look at space in the Saucon Valley.
That led him to the high-visibility storefront in the shopping center, which is located in Lower Saucon Township and is home to the only supermarket in the immediate area.
Rainis said he thinks the location is ideal for Unrivaled Nutrition & Training, which he is quick to point out is not a typical gym.
“This is not an open gym,” he explained. “It’s meant to be a semi-private training facility.”
Rainis said he will offer a total of 50 annual “legacy memberships” to clients who want 24/7 access to the facility, which will also host small group classes and training programs.
With four degrees–including a Master’s degree in applied clinical nutrition–Rainis said he works primarily as a nutritionist, helping clients battling health issues from multiple sclerosis to cancer find paths to better health and happiness through dietary changes.
Some of his passion for this work arose from personal experience.
Rainis has chronic ulcerative colitis, which he controlled through medication until two years ago, when he said he was able to stop drug therapy and control it via diet alone.
“It got to the point where I didn’t even need the medication because I was eating so clean,” he said.
For Rainis, eating clean has meant eliminating alcohol completely and adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet that features foods like sweet potatoes and couscous.
Rainis’s clients include people like Judex Gonzalez of Bethlehem, who has worked with him for about two years and seen his life transformed thanks to changes in how he eats.
Gonzalez, who has fought a dual battle against leukemia and coronary artery disease for years, said losing weight has only been part of his journey to better health with Rainis.
“We started off slowly, with a meal plan,” he said, noting that at the time he weighed approximately 280 pounds and had a 44-inch waist size.
“I didn’t know anything about eating the right foods,” admitted Gonzalez, who has documented much of his journey toward a healthier life on Instagram (@jr_gonz75).
Gonzalez receives meal plans from Rainis, which he said immediately began to help him.
Ultimately his weight dropped to 194 pounds, some of which he said he has since gained back in the form of muscle mass, as his percentage of body fat continues to decrease.
“My health, my blood work, everything is like perfect,” Gonzalez said, adding that his cancer is now close to being in remission.
“It’s a lifestyle, not a diet,” he stressed. “It’s a whole different lifestyle.”
Lifestyle training is a term Rainis uses to describe what he does for many of his clients, and it reflects his belief that “exercise alone will never get you to where you want to be.”
That, he said, is one of the reasons so many people who want to lead healthier lives ultimately fail to achieve their goals by joining “big box” gyms and fitness center chains.
Rainis said Unrivaled Nutrition & Training clients will be able to use the same types of state-of-the-art cardio equipment, weights and fitness machines that they would in a large gym setting, but with access to training and support the chains don’t typically offer.
“If you want a $10 membership, Planet Fitness is for you,” he said. Similarly, if someone is only interested in exercising and wants an “open membership” in order to do so, Rainis said he’ll refer them to Main Street Gym, which is owned by his friend Kevin Branco.
But for individuals who want a higher level of support, he’s hoping Unrivaled Nutrition & Training will be a place they will consider. Potential clients always receive a 30-minute consultation on Zoom so they can learn more about Rainis, his methods and the facilities.
Unrivaled Nutrition & Training will be located at 1854 Leithsville Road, Hellertown, and Rainis said his goal is to open on Feb. 1. Partly because some things like lighting were left in place by the former tenant, he hasn’t had to completely renovate the space, he added.
The facility will be dog-friendly, and Rainis said he is also installing an air filtration system in keeping with COVID safety protocols, which he said he plans to follow.
He will also offer a limited selection of nutritional products and supplements for sale.
“I want people to wain in and be like, ‘I’m comfortable here,'” Rainis said.
Rainis said a business website is currently under development.