By: Amy Cleary
Staying healthy requires commitment. Dynamic duo Nikki and Darrin Gray take dedication to the next level by helping themselves, as well as others, be their very best
Inspiration is defined in the dictionary as the ability to influence or suggest positively. The Herald’s cover story this week highlight two very humble individuals who truly inspire people to be their best.
Keeping in shape is a goal for most people, but it can be pretty intimidating
The Herald sat down with the dynamic Darrin and the spirited Nikki Gray – first time cover stars and fitness magicians – who make keeping in shape look easy.
“The health and nutrition evolved into personal training because we were working with clients that wanted to work on a one-on-one basis,” said Darrin
The fitness duo own and operate Evolve Health and Fitness, which is located at 1277 Topsail Road in Mount Pearl. They both have a strong sense and desire to help people, and in the beginning it all started with a love of sports.
“I’ve been a big sports fan since I was young. I’m a big Blue Jays fan. My girls are big sports fans,” said Nikki.
The 1993 World Series was an important moment for Nikki, as she witnessed the big moment first hand.
“I was there when Joe Carter hit that home run for the world series,” Nikki shared.
The love of sports lit the spark of health and fitness for them both. They became heavily involved with everything surrounding nutrition – from bodybuilding and fitness to simply taking care of themselves. Eventually, this evolved into personal training and health and nutrition coaching for others.
The two started noticing a trend with individuals who wanted the expertise of a personal trainer.
‘A Better Version’
“A lot of clients that we were doing health and wellness with couldn’t afford personal training, but wanted to go to the gym,” said Darrin
Clients wanted to become a better version of themselves. The Grays wanted to help.
“Nobody who’s self-conscious wants to workout with a bunch of bodybuilders,” said Darrin.
There was a desire to build an environment where people didn’t feel intimated, a place where reaching every health goal was possible. Evolve was born out of that desire. The couple took the values they apply to themselves, plus everything they learned from being in the business, incorporated personal experiences, and created not only a gym, but a family.
“Our gym on Topsail Road is for people who are into fitness but are intimidated by a big box gym,” said Darrin.
The difference between this gym and others in the city is that Darrin and Nikki treat clients like family. From the first moment walking into the door of the gym, they are there to greet you.
“When they come to the gym, it’s their gym. It’s their home, it’s a big family,” said Darrin.
It’s a Lifestyle
Evolve stands out for so many reasons. At the beginning of every visit to the gym, the experience starts with conversation. Darrin and Nikki both believe that keeping in shape isn’t just about losing weight, but it’s a lifestyle.
“I don’t like to accept clients over the phone. I want them to come to the gym and see that it’s not so intimidating,” said Darrin.
The positivity they have nurtured has allowed them to help people who had been afraid.
“We had a girl who came to us, and she was so afraid to walk up the stairs, but I stood by her, and we walked up the stairs together,” said Nikki.
The building has a grade A gym, and they have created a program that works for everyone. Introducing people into the world of fitness in a way that fits each person’s lifestyle has been their focus. The magic they are both creating is working.
Martin Kilgore lost 115 pounds in 12 months, and Patrick Follett lost 40 pounds in three months. They both lost the weight by eating 2,500 or more calories a day, and using the 10 week weight loss program they created together according to Nikki and Darrin.
“It’s all about our 10 weeks weight loss program that sets everyone up on the right track to eating healthy, understanding how foods, when used right, can work for you, not against you,” said Nikki.
Kilgore and Follett are just two prime examples. There are many more.
“We want people to know that we understand and we want to help,” Darrin said.
One of the most important aspects they both believe in is that even though you’re accepting the gym lifestyle, you don’t need to stop doing what you love.
“You don’t have to be a hermit, you don’t have to starve yourself. There are a lot of ways to stay healthy and enjoy life,” explains Darrin
They apply this philosophy to their own life as well; enjoying family and doing everything most couples enjoy.
“Outside of the gym, I’m a full time mom,” said Nikki
She shares that their kids are involved in health and wellness as well as they both hope to pass down everything they have learned to their children.
One of the things they enjoy outside of the gym is celebrating and having friends and family around.
“Having people over for barbecues is our favourite thing to do,” said Darrin.
Another thing these two love to do as a couple is travelling. “I’ve been all around the world,” said Nikki.
From super mom to globe-trotter, Nikki has passed on the travel bug to her husband since their wedding. Like many of us, Nikki and Darrin Gary enjoy their time in the sunshine.
One spot stands out above all others when it comes to planning a holiday, however. “We both love Mexico,” said Nikki.
Looking towards the future, the two have many plans, but above any personal goals, Nikki and Darrin hope every Newfoundlander and Labradorian finds their own happy, healthy place.
*Photos Courtesy of Bud Gaulton and Stone Photography Studio