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Fitness center opens in Geneva

GENEVA – Jan Silverman said she always has been physically active, not only running marathons regularly, but participating in ultra marathons, where she ran 100 miles in 30 hours.

“Thirty hours is slow for a 100-mile run,” Silverman said. “Elite runners run much, much faster.”

Still, in leaving her downtown Chicago job, Silverman, 51, of St. Charles, said she sought instead to combine her love of fitness with being involved in the community.

“During spring break, I was feeling like I needed to do something, both to become a part of the community I’m living in, and be closer to home,” Silverman said. 

As a single mother of four with three adult children, and one 13-year-old daughter still at home, Silverman was a licensed clinical social worker in community mental health for 15 years before taking a job in Chicago.

“In addition to wanting to spend time with [my daughter], I wanted to be part of a community again,” Silverman said. “I was thinking, ‘What can I do that is different?’ ”

So she opened Geneva Fit – Fox Valley CrossFit, 321 Stevens St., Suite Q, Geneva, a 2,000-square-foot facility last week with a grand opening planned from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Information is available by calling 815-236-9025 or

The open house will include three mini-boot camps of high-intensity training, free chair massages and tips on healthy eating. Also, representatives of Geneva Running Outfitters will answer questions about running, as will Doug Beattie, who will present “Running 101: The nuts and bolts of getting started.”

Also at the open house will be Geneva chiropractor Patricia Zanelli with anti-oxidant scanning, so people can see whether their bodies are utilizing the nutrients they eat. Juli Aistars, another ultra-runner and registered nurse, will talk about nutrition.

Inov-8 Functional Shoes also will provide a demonstration, and light refreshments will be provided.

Silverman said the experience her youngest daughter had at another gym influenced the decision to open her own fitness business.

“She hated it,” Silverman said.

In reaction to her daughter’s experience, Silverman earned a personal training certificate. And after additional research, Silverman said she embraced the functional fitness concept – that is, of using one’s whole body for movement that helps in everyday life.

“My goal is to create a community with equipment and support for individuals to meet their long-term goals as opposed to joining a nameless, faceless [gym] and going for a few months to fulfill a resolution,” she said. “I wanted to provide a fitness home for people.”

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