Rise-ing to the occasion

New Lewes gym a playground for adults
Rise Adventure + Fitness opened in Lewes in May, offering a wide range of fitness activities for active-minded people. Shown are owners (l-r) Amanda Peters, Ryan Peters, Jen Kaufmann and Matt Carter. BY NICK ROTH
August 13, 2014

A cargo net hangs in one corner; a warped wall stands in another. A 44-foot long monkey bar structure dominates one wall, with an equally long piece of green turf occupying the other. It looks like a scene from American Ninja Warrior.

The unusual landscape is part of Rise Adventure + Fitness’s rig room, and is one of the tools used by staff to whip their clients into shape.

Since opening in May, the gym has boasted great success, with hundreds of members jumping on board. In addition to the unconventional rig room equipment, Rise offers a traditional workout space and a wide range of classes. Rise wants to offer something for everyone.

“It's really nice to be a part of a group that offers everything you ever wanted in a gym under one roof,” said Jen Kauffman, part owner and marketing director. “It's like a playground for adults.”

With Kauffman, Rise is owned by Ryan and Amanda Peters and Matt Carter. Carter previously owned the popular Quest Fitness on the other side of Lewes. It was absorbed into Rise, but Carter's Quest Kayak business remains intact.

Ryan Peters was a member at Quest before opening Rise. He vividly remembers when the lightbulb lit up and the idea for Rise was born.

“It was actually on the way home from a Spartan Race up in New Jersey,” he said. “We were just thinking we could do this and we could do that, pulling all of these different elements from power lifting, gymnastics, obstacle course racing and endurance racing and put it all under one roof.”

After months of planning and renovating the old Hocker Manufacturing factory on Kings Highway, Rise has been an early success.

“I don't think we've had any negative feedback,” Ryan said.

The 15,000-square-foot gym has three main rooms: the traditional workout area with conventional do-it-yourself gym equipment, the rig room with unusual, targeted and often-challenging equipment and the group fitness room. Also within the walls of Rise is Forever Fitness, a studio offering private, duet and group pilates classes. Forever Fitness previously made its home at Quest Fitness, moving over to Rise after Quest closed.

The rig room is the centerpiece of Rise's vision. Open to both basic and premium members, it's painted black and designed to push the boundaries of fitness. Unlike other gyms that offer daily workouts in groups, Rise publishes its workouts online and in the gym for all its members. If someone wants to try equipment in the rig room, but is unfamiliar with how to do it, the workouts are often a good introduction, Kaufmann said.

A self-proclaimed nerd, Ryan loves and embraces technology. That is evident in the equipment – a tire flipping machine in place of tires – and in more traditional technology, such as the gym's smartphone app or its gym leaderboard. The leaderboard is designed to offer a little friendly competition among members. It ranks members' speed or reps on specific activities and it can provide motivation for someone to try just a little harder.

Trey Bell, who competed on the NBC competition game show American Ninja Warrior, holds the monkey bar record by completing the 44-foot rig in 11 seconds.

“It takes a normal mortal about 30 seconds,” Kaufmann said.

Falling in line with Rise's philosophy is Les Mills Grit, 30-minute high-intensity training classes that will be introduced into Rise's class schedule this week. The classes are unlike any others Rise offers; Les Mills representatives spent a weekend in Lewes training and certifying six members of the Rise staff.

“The music, the moves, everything is choreographed,” Kaufmann said. “We have to know it cold. I'm a big endurance runner, obstacle racer and this whipped my butt.”

Rise offers 37 classes with more on the way, including the more traditional, such as zumba, yoga, spinning and step aerobics, but also some that are more intense, like boot camp or ninja.

“You could be a 65-year-old grandma and take a class and do fine or you could be a 22-year-old superstar and take a class,” Kaufmann said. “We tailor the classes based on someone's fitness level. Some classes are naturally more intense than others, but we make an effort to ensure everyone is working to the best of their ability and not compromising safety.”

Rise has three membership levels, varying from class only at $39 monthly to premium membership at $79 per month.

Rise is located at 830 Kings Hwy. in Lewes. For more information about Rise's memberships and classes, go to or call 302-703-2017.

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