Driving past Element Gym on Fairview Avenue, many would see a boxing gym, not giving it a second thought. True, Element started as a boxing focused gym, but since their launch, founder Dalton Outlaw has built a community-focused fitness space with so much more to offer than your average gym.
A boxer himself, Outlaw had the idea to open his own gym when he saw many Twin Cities boxing gyms throwing in the towel and shutting their doors. Once his neighborhood gym closed, Outlaw made the decision to strike out his own, found a lease on a space and began the grind familiar to many small business entrepreneurs. Selling his own car to finance the gym, Outlaw focused on starting small, knocking on doors and building connections to make sure he could scale.
Building a Community
The transformation from Element Boxing to Element Gym was one based on collaboration. Their space is home to six other organizations who collaborate to provide fitness classes and equipment for a range of activities. Now offering boxing, martial arts, ballet, high intensity interval training and much more, Element and its collaborators continue to focus on providing sustainable resources for the community.
The biggest focus in Element’s fitness offerings is that all are welcome. It isn’t about who is the strongest or fastest, it is a supporting community of people dedicated to self-improvement.
Element’s future is exciting to Outlaw who said their plans are not only to expand their space and offerings but to create more programs to give back to the community. Many schools in the Midway neighborhood cannot afford to offer after school programs. Element wants to fill that space, combining after school fitness programs with a computer lab and workspaces for students to do their homework. “We want to step in and help where we can,” says Outlaw. “Midway has given us so much and we want to make sure we give back and sustain the community during the large changes in the near future.”
While Outlaw wants Element to stay in Midway, he doesn’t want to compromise their mission. As a B Corporation, their dedication is to using business as a force for good. Expansion is the focus but only if it can sustain the mission. If you’re curious to learn more or join the Element Gym community, Outlaw encourages everyone to stop by and try a class. After all, the first one is free. What is there to lose?
Visit Element Gym at elementgym.org