Chris Marhefka
Founder and Owner, B3 Gym | Co-Founder, Eat the 80

First off, I am honored to speak on behalf of the fitness community for “Why Gainesville.” Having lived in Gainesville for over a decade now, I have come to understand and love what makes the Greater Gainesville area a unique and amazing place to live. The Gainesville area offers a delicate balance of breathtaking nature experiences, higher education, quirky culture, deep history and a booming business community.

When it comes to health and fitness, there is no better place to be than Gainesville, Florida. On the University of Florida campus, you can exercise at one of the many state of the art facilities for students, faculty and staff including multiple fitness centers, lap pools, acres of athletic fields, even a skate park and sand volleyball!

UF also boasts amazing medical facilities and research. The UF Sports Performance Center provides elite level athlete testing, accessible to the weekend warrior. Also on campus, the famous Ben Hill Griffin Football Stadium isn’t just for football games. Enter the stadium at almost any hour of the day and join the many people climbing the 90 flights of bleachers (“Gator Mountains.”)

Head off campus and fitness is everywhere you look! With dozens of health clubs, gyms, studios and CrossFit Boxes, everyone can find a fitness home that meets their needs. There is spinning, rock climbing, yoga, kickboxing, martial arts, Bootcamp, Barre, CrossFit and personal trainers abound. It is no surprise Gainesville was ranked as the “the healthiest community in America” in 2003.

If being active outside is more your style, the Greater Gainesville area will not disappoint. Walk the steps at Devil’s Millhopper, hike through Hogtown Creek trails, walk the La Chua trail at Paynes Prairie and run trails through San Felasco, Loblolly North or Sweet water Preserve.

The entire Gainesville area is bike-friendly with dozens of on and off road trails. Bike Avenue connects much of downtown and campus, while the Hawthorne Rail Trail and Boulware Springs are must-do rides. If going off road is what you are looking for, the Rock Trail and San Felasco are your best bets in the Gainesville area or a short drive to Santos in Ocala.

Even though we are technically a Swamp, the water is crystal clear for swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding at Devil’s Den, Ginnie, Blue or Poe Springs. Lake Santa Fe is the best lake in the area to express your fitness through skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, rowing or any other watersport.

Lastly, if your fitness activities leave you a little too banged up, Gainesville has no shortage of health and wellness professionals due to UF, Santa Fe, the Florida School of Massage, and Palmer Chiropractic (Daytona.) Simply drive up 6th Street and you will see a massage therapist’s office in almost every building!

Whether it be a running group, cycle team, triathlon club or CrossFit gym, the fitness community in Gainesville is incredibly welcoming and diverse. Being healthy and active, there was no better place than Gainesville for our family and to start our businesses!

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