Three years in, Beyond Barbell Gym named Idaho’s Best

At 24, Kevin Bravo is likely Weiser’s youngest business owner with his Beyond Barbell Gym, occupying a 5,000 square-foot retail space at the corner of West 2nd and Commercial streets.
 Now, Bravo and the whole community can take pride in Beyond Barbell’s receiving the 2022 Idaho’s Best Business Awards in the gym category for both the Treasure Valley and statewide.
 Formerly the Best of Treasure Valley, in 2020 the contest’s name was changed to Idaho’s Best, expanding into four regions across the state, and recognizing businesses in every category from A to Z. Both contest names are trademarked. 
 Somewhat of a “people’s choice” contest, nominees are named, voted on, and reviewed via public participation, as well as validated through online reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings.
 This isn’t Bravo’s first recognition in a “best” category. He was named the Argus Observer’s 2021 Best of the Western Treasure Valley’s personal trainer last October.
 Early last week, an official plaque arrived at the gym signifying this year’s Idaho’s Best win and is now hanging where it can readily be seen at the gym’s front door entrance.
 “There was an awards banquet in Boise in April, where the 2022 winners were announced,” Bravo said. “I just didn’t want to overstate receiving the award before I had this in my hands.”
 Bravo’s development of the business is a remarkable story, and he’s quick to give God the credit. He’s based his business model on making a space where each individual may grow spiritually, mentally, and physically.
 “I was pretty young when my dad died from the effects of alcoholism,” Bravo said. “By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was angry, depressed, and really at rock bottom.
 “I remember praying to God, telling Him I didn’t like feeling like that and asking for help,” he said. “Something clicked almost right away. I just really liked the weight training class in high school, and I was able to focus all of those emotions there. The seed was planted.”
 It wasn’t necessarily a straight line from the WHS weight room to Bravo’s gym ownership. 
 He was a soccer standout, along with wrestling, in high school and had earned a soccer scholarship to Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, where he played one season. But he quickly recognized that wasn’t his heart’s desire.
 “I quit college and came home,” he said. “All I had was an idea of what my own gym would be.”
 That was in 2018.
 “Buying equipment was the first step, and I tried for loans,” Bravo said. “But, at 19, I didn’t have a credit history or rating, so I decided to keep working and put away 90 percent of my earnings to put towards equipment.”
 He was able to sustain himself with what he didn’t save, but there weren’t any personal fun shopping trips on his calendar.
 In 2019, Bravo rented a 1,000 square-foot space and opened Beyond Barbell Gym.
 “In 2020 I made the move to the current location,” he said. “At 22, I took the biggest risk of my life and COVID hit.
 “I believe this is what God wants me to do,” Bravo went on. “I’ve read books, taken small business classes at TVCC to make sure I’m doing things legally and correctly, connect with other gym owners in the valley, and listen to knowledgeable people.
 “I want to stay humble and keep my ego in check,” he added.
 The gym is open 24/7 to members, with classes and personal training available. Bravo, along with Nathaniel Mink, Oscar Padilla, and Leah Downing, provides personal training to clients.
 They each follow his example in helping out gym members with advice on equipment use or recommendations on improving form.
 It follows right along with Bravo’s Facebook cover page motto, “The most valuable currency you have is the effect you have on other people.”
 A gym member and fellow powerlifting competitor, Rockford Stone, may have said it best in a congratulatory post after the Idaho’s Best win was announced in April.
 “From the beginning when you first meet Kevin Bravo, you can tell what a genuine and remarkable young man he is,” Stone said. “So many nights in that little, tiny gym he started in, training and conversations about life and the ‘whys’ of what we do. It’s been awesome to watch him grow this dream. The struggles at times and the triumphs that shined, this is so well deserved, brother. Glad to be not just a member but part of the family you’ve created. This is still just the beginning.”

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18 E. Idaho St.
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