Tysons, VA

Changes don’t happen quickly at Breakaway Fitness. The walls are all mustard-colored brick and there’s not a TV in sight.

Co-owner Christa Dalakis takes pride in the facility being an “old school” type of gym. But after 17 years of operating in Tysons, starting next year the gym will be going through some changes.

The big one is the gym will be nearly doubling in size, consolidating its operations currently spread out in two locations into one, expanding the facility at 1524 Spring Hill Rd onto a second floor. The gym will also start selling memberships for the first time.

“So right now, we just do appointments,” said Dalakis. “With new membership, you can come in on alternate days of training or just use membership without training.”

Formerly, clients who came in for training sessions could de facto come in on other days to work out, but with the new expansions Dalakis said she thought it was fair to start charging a membership for that.

Memberships are $50 per month for the rest of the year for those who purchase in January or $75 per month for those who purchase after January. Training sessions are priced separately, though Dalakis says the first session of training is free.

There’s no less than 16 gyms in the Tysons area, but Breakaway Fitness is a “mom and pop” type gym that bears little resemblance to the state-of-the-art workout centers or yoga studios across the area. It’s a distinction Dalakis wears proudly.

“We’re ‘Cheers’ without the beers,” said Dalakis. “You walk in and everybody knows your name. It’s a home feel.”

The block Breakaway Fitness inhabits is one of Tysons’ last refuges for independent businesses in an area increasingly overrun with upscale development and a flood of national chains. The new upstairs location is located next door to the 1st Stage Theater and over The Palladium, a nightclub that opened earlier this year.

“It’s a type of gym that doesn’t really exist anymore,” said Dalakis. “There’s not a lot of frill.”

The new upstairs will be an open turf area where people can run or lift weights. The downstairs will mostly be used for classical power lifting. The expansion will also add locker rooms for the gym. Dalakis says the old school atmosphere will remain the same, though.

“There’s no TV’s on our ellipticals,” Dalakis says. “You’re there to work out.”

The new joint location means that Dalakis can once again work alongside her husband, who had formerly been handling training at the other gym location a few blocks away.

“Now that in the same location, going to bring back even more of the family atmosphere,” said Dalakis. “It’s hard to explain what we bring to the table, but anyone feels comfortable when they step into our place of business.”

The new gym location and new membership requirements will start on Jan. 2. Dalakis says the gym will have a grand reopening celebration, but hasn’t selected a specific date yet.

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