Fitness Enthusiast & Personal Trainer Nicholas Karavolas channeled his passion for fitness and his enthusiasm for helping others into Ignite Fitness Group.
“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty & strength of which his body is capable.”
The above quote can be found on the homepage of Ignite Fitness Group, founded, owned, and operated by Nicholas Karavolos. It’s just one of many core beliefs by which this young entrepreneur lives.
Meet Nicholas Karavolos
Nicholas Karavolos, 29, was born and raised in Elmhurst, IL. He holds a BA in Architectural History and is currently working towards his MS in Exercise Physiology. He holds a NCSA-CSCS (College Strength and Conditioning Specialist), is a certified personal trainer (NASM-CPT), has trained at collegiate and professional levels, and has competed nationally. He also holds a CrossFit Level 1 certificate.
Nicholas attended the University of Illinois at Chicago on a scholarship for Track and Field. It was while competing in college, that he found himself becoming more and more interested in the strength and conditioning side of athleticism, and ultimately uncovered his true passion and purpose: to help others become as fit as they can be. His own physical strength can only be surpassed by his mental strength and clarity.
“When I was younger I always played sports. And while I had experience working in architecture, I knew that that’s not where my passion was and that I wouldn’t be able to impact other people’s lives as much as I wanted to.”
Combining his own experience as a coach at UIC, along with his purpose-driven knowledge and skills, and with the guidance of his college coach, Nicholas earned a BA and CSCS certificate simultaneously. This allowed him to ultimately pursue his true ambition; fitness.
Inspired by his innate passion for fitness and the human body, coupled with his refined skills, and desire to help others improve their overall health, in December 2013, he launched Ignite Fitness Group in his garage.
A thriving business
Nicholas began offering strength and conditioning coaching to six clients, and within six months, the client list grew to 30.
“The garage had electric heaters set up, two strips of rubber and some bar bells. It was nitty, gritty and cold. We were all training while wearing gloves and hats. I actually passed out gloves and hats that winter as Christmas gifts to everyone. I’m still appreciative and in awe, to this day, of how they put themselves through that back then.”
The physical environment may not have been ideal, but that didn’t stop his clients from continuously coming back for more AND getting the results they were looking for.
“They really enjoyed what I was providing for them and I really enjoyed being able to provide them with what they wanted.”
It was around this time that Nicholas began entertaining the idea of introducing and constructing some type of comprehensive functional fitness program, not only for his current clients but for potential future ones. Thoughts of expanding his reach, and his services, to be able to help many more individuals within his community, took hold.
Nicholas left his garage in 2014, and moved to a facility in Elmhurst.
Ignite Fitness Group’s focus areas are cardiac strength, weight loss, and overall physical strength, one of his program’s unique features that sets him apart from many other fitness centers is that he employs the use of heart rate monitors, allowing members to quantify their progress and witness improvements firsthand.
“I also focus on each member’s individual movements and how they move their bodies. This improves their own unique mobility making them overall more efficient in their workouts and at the same time reduces the risk of any possible injuries.”
Ignite Fitness Group offers CrossFit classes (continuously varied high-intensity functional movement). Using the latest techniques in CrossFit, strength training, heart rate training, high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) and sports performance training, Nicholas has been able to cultivate a fitness program that exceeds all others.
Clients’ successes are priority #1
Nicholas’s main goal at Ignite Fitness Group is to make sure all clients experience growth and improvement in a multitude of health-related areas, not just physical strength.
“Health is more about how being fit affects your life outside of the gym. How you become more confident when you become a better athlete or more athletic. Fitness can create confidence and strength in things that you may have not been able to do in the past. I really enjoy seeing people becoming better, by having the dedication and determination they display in the gym spill over into the rest of their lives.”
Nicholas will forever be grateful his members, especially the “original” Ignite group, and to the community as a whole, for allowing him the opportunity to grow and expand his business so quickly. This attitude of gratitude has made “giving back”a priority. Ignite Fitness Group currently contributes to the Make a Wish Foundation and plans to support other charitable organizations they expand..
This summer, Ignite will be introducing the first of many conditioning sports camps for kids, ages 8-18. With a recently finished, brand new, 1200 sq. ft. turf field expansion, Ignite Fitness Group will not only provide the space needed for upcoming sports camps, but will also make way for additional training opportunities and classes for adult members.
With the impending completion of his MS in Exercise Physiology, the Elmhurst location is just the beginning. Nicholas has visions of expanding his “Ignite” community with additional centers in surrounding suburbs and to eventually apply his acquired degree to help and consult individuals with a variety of health concerns.
“There is always something new to research, something new to learn in the fitness industry. I’d like to incorporate my future degree into my business and have my members benefit from it also; by having them experience “a university” type feeling within the group. This way I can help them incorporate the belief of being a ‘student’ of fitness rather than just using fitness as a means to an end.”
3 years of helping others get fit
In December 2016, Ignite Fitness Group will celebrate its three-year anniversary. While a three year-old business may still be considered in its infancy, Ignite Fitness Group’s strength and stability will sustain them as they continue to grow at a rapid pace.
Nicholas’ overall history and achievements can be best summed up by Ignite’s own mission statement:
“to provide a level of training, enthusiasm and education that is unmatched by the fitness community.”
Ignite Fitness Group is located at 263 N. York Street in Elmhurst, IL. 630.915.4027
She trained at Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. and holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis. She’s also the proud mom of 4 little boys. Roula is currently accepting new clients in her office, at home, over the phone, or via Skype. Visit her website at www.myhealthysoma.com.