A Tampa fitness professional is striking out on his own with a new concept in the Channel district.

Viking Fitness has signed a lease for the 3,500-square-foot warehouse at 1318 Channelside Drive, which was previously an automotive shop. The concept is the brainchild of Bradford Stevens, a personal trainer and instructor at SoHo Cycling in South Tampa.

Stevens said Viking will offer three types of group classes: Viking Tone, Viking Fit and Viking Bootcamp, taught in a circuit training format. Classes will range between $9 and $16, depending on the type of package a client purchases. (An unlimited monthly membership is $135; a single session costs $16, and there are class packages available, too.)

"It's efficient, effective and fun," Stevens said. "The efficient part of it is you’re not doing it for hours and hours. It's part of your lifestyle." Viking is backed by two silent investors, Stevens said, who split their time between the Bay region and Massachusetts. He's also taken on some debt to launch the concept. He declined to disclose the total investment.

The Channel district has demonstrated that it can sustain fitness concepts. Powerhouse Gym, in Grand Central at Kennedy, is an anchor of the district. Orangetheory Fitness also has a location in the neighborhood, in Pierhouse at Channelside.

Boutique fitness concepts are expanding in the Bay region. Camp, which is backed by Ciccio Restaurant Group and combines circuit training, yoga and cycling, is set to open in South Tampa this summer.

Viking will hold a soft opening on June 6, followed by a grand opening free bootcamp class on June 25. Stevens said his concept will complement the existing gyms in the area. Some of his clients, he said, will likely go to one or both of the other businesses.

A New York native and Tampa Heights resident, Stevens said he wanted to be near the urban core and looked for spaces in downtown Tampa, Tampa Heights and throughout the Channel district before landing on this location.

Stevens was a member of his college crew team at the State University of New York at Albany. He moved to Tampa about three and a half years ago to be head coach of the Stewards Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that spearheads youth rowing programs in Tampa.

From there, he was the strength and conditioning coach for the crew at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa and the head men's crew coach at the University of South Florida.

He holds a master's degree in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania and designed all of the programs for Viking Fitness.

His rowing background, he said, will come into play — but not with a gym full of rowing machines.

"Rowing is very much a mental sport, where you have to take yourself outside your comfort zone," he said. "That’s part of what [Viking] is — taking that mentality and applying it to group fitness."

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