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Under Armour turns 1930s bank hall into fitness center – Sports Illustrated

When Cam Newton visits Under Armour in Baltimore, he heads to the bank. For workouts.
Already with an impressive workout facility at its worldwide headquarters on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, the new Under Armour Performance Center powered by FX Fitness at 10 Light St. has turned America’s largest bank hall in the 1930s into one of the most unique fitness stops anywhere. A stop Newton has already made since the facility opened in May. 
Not only is the Light Street location in the heart of the Inner Harbor, but developers kept the building’s history in tact, while merging it with the modern. The classic bank hall now sports a 60-yard field turf run, with each of the oversized teller bays off the hall still wrought with the original ironwork.
courtesy Under Armour
Chris Welsh, FX executive vice president of fitness, says the historic main hall—still with marble pillars, iron ordainments and fossil designs—blends with the space kept at high energy. With racks, bars, weight benches, plate-loading and free weights in the various former teller bays, mounted TVs that display daily workouts and plenty of open space to encourage people to “get up and move,” there’s nothing quite like the look of the old bank.
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Climbing the marble stairs to the second floor offers more in the way of movement. With 70 pieces of cardio in the mezzanine overlooking the bank hall, Under Armour and FX Fitness have also loaded up on state-of-the-art machines, such as the ARC trainer, which mimics of the motion of a skier, in an Under Armour-branded design. Expect anchor points aplenty for TRX bands or bags, a Jacob’s Ladder machine for incline work—a popular machine for use by firefighters—30-degree incline treadmills and even space for a DJ to overlook the main space.
courtesy Under Armour
A 30-bike spin room and Barre studio sit off the second floor.
When Newton visited, it wasn’t only about the workout. The Under Armour facility also boasts a full salon, health-focused café, retail component and a six-bed physical therapy space. To ensure the correct frame of mind for visitors, the bank’s former deposit vault, still complete with the vault door, now serves as a tranquility room.
courtesy Under Armour
While branded Under Armour, the Inner Harbor location is open by membership to the community.
courtesy Under Armour
courtesy Under Armour
FX Fitness owner Nate Costa opened the Under Armour facility in the former bank, but it comes as his fourth Under Armour location. Already with space at Hunt’s Point and a relatively new workout facility at Building 37—the first building at Under Armour’s future campus nearby the Inner Harbor—the other most well known workout space for Under Armour comes at its headquarters on the water, the former Procter & Gamble soap factory.
It is there that spin classes move onto the promenade for workouts overlooking the Inner Harbor and exercise classes shift outside onto the FieldTurf that connects the water to the brick building that houses the workout facilities, open to both Under Armour employees and the community. Oversized garage doors open onto the promenade from inside the largely open space of the facility, designed for small-group classes, TRX and more.
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Inside the space, expect plenty of free weights, cardio equipment and the other requisite materials expected in a gym. But one more element comes as a surprise: The pit.
Located in the main space overlooking the water is a pit lowered below the main workout space, accessible by climbing rope. It is there that boxing and other physical workouts reign supreme. And the way back out? Yes, that same rope that brought visitors in.
From the pit to the bank hall, Under Armour Performance Centers offer plenty of intrigue. They also encourage a healthy deposit of movement.
Tim Newcomb covers sports aesthetics—stadiums to sneakers—and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb


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