For John Lehne, it all started during the 2009 holiday season.
“I saw some Christmas photos around New Years and didn't like the way I looked, so I started working out,” he said. “I signed up for a triathlon up at Lums Pond and got in pretty good shape.”
Over the next four years, Lehne added more 5Ks, triathlons and Ironman triathlons into the mix. But his biggest accomplishment to date came Oct. 1, when he officially opened his studio, 302 Fitness, in downtown Milton.
“It's always been a dream of mine,” he said.
Lehne has worked at Flex World Fitness, Quest Fitness and Sussex Family YMCA. He established 302 Fitness in 2010, but worked with clients only in their homes. Through the Delaware Economic Development Office's Project Pop-Up Program, Lehne was able to secure a unit on Union Street rent-free for the first three months. He also has the full support from DEDO staff, who are willing to offer help along the way.
“Any help is better than no help,” Lehne said. “They know people in all these towns, so if you have a question, they know who to email, who to call.”
Dr. Bill Shearer also took advantage of DEDO's program and is set to open Milton Wellness Center of Delaware in a neighboring unit.
Lehne was previously employed in the aircraft industry, working 10 years at PATs in Georgetown before moving to Dassault Falcon in the Wilmington area, where he worked for nearly a year and a half. He said the long daily commute motivated his career change.
“Doing this as a career is way more rewarding than working on aircraft,” he said. “When someone steps on a scale and is 10 pounds down and just seeing how they feel and how that makes you feel.”
When he made the decision to change careers, he enrolled at National Personal Trainers Institute in Philadelphia, where he received 500 hours of hands-on training. He said the school more than prepared him for his new path.
Lehne is offering half-hour and full-hour personal training sessions as well as speed work, boot camp and circuit classes. Yoga is also offered Tuesdays and Fridays by Liz King.
Lehne hopes to have Zumba, hip hop abs and other classes available in the coming months.