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Photo by Theo Tate
Richie Kelly (top) helps his brother, Leo, lift weights Jan. 19 at Tank’s Training Facility. Leo and Richie graduated from GCHS in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
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Photo by Theo Tate
Granite City resident Kayla Morelan lifts weights Jan. 19. Morelan has been a powerlifter since 2013.
GRANITE CITY — On Dec. 1, 2014, Tank’s Training Facility found a new home.
After spending five years at 1815 Delmar Ave., the training facility moved just four blocks down to 1908 State St.
“It’s growing day by day,” said Granite City graduate Chris Janek, owner and trainer of Tank’s. “I’m really happy with everything that we have going on.”
The building was a storage room for used tires before Janek bought it in 2014. Now, it’s a 20,000-square-foot facility with weight machines, artificial turf and cardio equipment in the lower level and an MMA (mixed martial arts) training area and a baseball-softball facility in the upper level.
“It’s three times bigger than the other place,” said Granite City resident Kayla Morelan, who trains there four times per week. “All of the powerlifting areas were so crammed in this tiny little cubbyhole area. Now it’s all spread out and we got more benches. We have three mono (lifts) now and tons of turf space, and it’s really nice. It has everything you need, basically.”
Morelan, a 2010 Granite City High graduate, started training at Tank’s when she became a powerlifter in 2013 while she was a student at McKendree College.
“I like it a lot,” said Morelan, who played soccer at GCHS and McKendree. “I was going to a different gym for a little while and it ran out of equipment that I needed and I had to keep improvising. It was hard for my programming. I came here and I talked to Chris and he got me set up and doing the monolifts and gave the equipment that I needed for my programming.”
Janek, who is also a powerlifter, said he’s thrilled his facility is part of a revitalized downtown area that includes the Granite City Cinema and Kool Beanz Café.
“It’s kind of a weird deal,” Janek said. “I actually have more businesses from people out of Granite City than the people in Granite City. When you have a good product to offer, people will travel to it. We have people from all over the area coming.”
Before he became the owner of a training facility, Janek was a standout football player at the high school, college and professional levels. He played for Granite City High and the University of Wisconsin before heading to the Arena Football League.
After the AFL folded in 2009, Janek came up with the idea of opening up a weightlifting facility. So he opened Tank’s on Delmar in May of that year. Janek named the facility after his nickname, “Tank.”
“The only thing to me that really made sense was running the gym,” said Janek, who graduated from Granite City in 1996. “That’s my life. I’ve been lifting heavy weights and lifting and studying this stuff since I was 13 years old. So I studied it in college. The strength coaches who have been around my life are top-notch best from the NCAA Division I coaches to the professional coaches; I learned from them all and it’s putting my model together and it has really helped me a lot. That’s kind of what I’m offering to our area.”
When it first opened, Tank’s had weightlifting equipment, an indoor turf facility, powercages, squat racks, bench presses, cardio equipment and a pair of high-definition TVs. It also had personal and group training classes on cardio, strength and yoga, among others.
But after five years, Janek needed a change.
“I liked it there,” Janek said. “It was a good place to start. But as far as being a true training facility, it didn’t fit the mold. There was no growth. It wasn’t made for a training facility. It may be OK for what they’re doing now, but for what I have envisioned, I had to grow.”
In 2014, Janek bought the current building from Lance Callis.
“From what I understand, he owns a lot of stuff down here,” Janek said. “Lance has been awesome.”
Janek said his facility is made for people who seriously want to get in shape.
“This is a true training facility to come and train,” he said. “You won’t find anyone watching TV or talking or laughing on their phones. There are not too many selfies taken down here. If you’re not looking for a serious place to train, don’t come down here and we’re fine with that. Everyone has what they want to do, but we have a different motto out here than most places. I drive by some of these other 24-hour fitness places and I literally see people in there barely moving and kind of talking and walking. My whole two cents is this — if you want to walk and talk and watch TV, do that at home. When you’re ready to train and work out, come up and train your butt off. Life’s too short. Do it while you can.”
For more information, call (618) 531-6720.