THE repeated lockdowns over the pandemic gave birth to the rise of home gyms. With the unpredictable schedules of gym openings because of COVID-19 restrictions, more and more people started investing on building their own safe venue for home workouts.
This meant a drastic increase in the demand for fitness equipment in the local market, leading a family of fitness enthusiasts to set up their own business in response.
Christian Hu and his siblings established Stronghold Athletics, an online shop for quality fitness gym products. The brand sells non-conventional equipment imported from sources overseas, but at an affordable price.
It's a pledge they made among themselves to help out the local fitness community.
Stronghold Athletics wants to keep fitness affordable
"When the pandemic hit, gyms closed down. We ourselves, who are very much into fitness, were trying to build our own gym. We [had] to canvass different suppliers for quality materials. When we discovered where to get them, we decided to open the shop," Hu told SPIN Life.
"We are fitness coaches at our church and we just really enjoy helping people, it's our passion. Kaya we promised, we're not gonna be the sellers who overprice," he added.
Since they started selling in August 2020, the prices of their products have remained steady.
Through their network in the community, they were able to tap and reach out to several athletes — including now-Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz.
In several social media posts, Hidilyn herself often commends the quality of their products, which she used in her backyard gym during her preparation for Tokyo.
In a post dated March 2021, the weightlifting star wrote: "Solid na set-up namin sa backyard gym, ang ganda ng rubber mat namin galing sa Stronghold Athletics. Ganda nung manipis na rubber mat, pang-matagalan!"
Fitness products for athletes and weekend warriors alike
"We really want to help out our athletes. We are bound to serve through providing high quality equipment but affordable," explained Hu. "Our products are also non-conventional. Usually, gym equipment is motorized, but we offer a different type, which is proven effective abroad."
Take, for instance, Stronghold's treadmill. While a typical treadmill is powered by a motor that provides resistance against your run, the one being sold on Stronghold Athletics is the curved type, which ditches the motors and is instead propelled with your every step. This way, more muscles are involved to make it move.
"Most of our equipment is HIIT-ready. Really good for strength and endurance, as they're designed for more resistance," Hu explained.
They also sell variety of other items, from setup mats to weights, dumbell, benches, aerobikes, SkiErgs, and many more.
The supplier has also gotten the thumbs-up from several local fitness enthusiasts, like Spartan pro athlete Wellington Co, and sports doctor Ian Banzon.
Philippine national fencer Maxine Esteban make use of their products too.
And when Hidilyn Diaz officially stamped her mark to qualify for the Olympics last April, coach Julius Naranjo of Team HD tagged them in a gratitude post.
For Hu, it remains business as usual. The 27-year-old entrepreneur and fitness buff said: "We really want the Filipinos, both professional athletes and the regular fitness lovers to experience world-class quality. It's our vision."
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