#CommunityDialogue: Black Box Fitness


Written by Carlos Contreras

As a hustler who is building own own brand and business at Immastar Productions, I often come into contact with incredible people. One recent encounter brought me some of Burque’s most incredible – a duo certainly worthy of an installment of #CommunityDialogue. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chaco Taylor and Jessica Gentry, new owners and partners in Black Box Fitness, a local fitness facility that is doing an impressive amount of work in our community, not just at their gym either.

Jessica was nice enough to give me some of her time, so that I could ask a few things about being active, while not being active at all -we sat on the cushy couch of the office/design room connected to Black Box, and Gentry talked a bit about the journey – a journey which just so happens to be a second time around – second time around at being a Burque gym owner that is.

“Yep, this is our sequel, if you will. The first go-round I focused primarily on youth athletics, injury prevention, and strength and speed work. Eighty percent of the work we did was team based with a focus on pre-season conditioning and explosive power along with sprinting mechanics – The venture into the Crossfit culture marries my love for competitive weightlifting and the athletic development of power,” said Gentry.

That sounds cool. Still with us?

We know beer drinkers, sometimes gyms and activity gets mentioned and you get a little scared, or scared and thirsty – trust us, this is worth the read. We let Jessica talk about what it means to do something “new” that isn’t really new to her – but to many would be a bit of a terrifying venture to embark upon. Owning one’s own business sure sounds nice – but there’s a lot of work involved.

“Doing anything new is always a little scary, but that is overcome by the ability to make a positive impact, even if it is just on one person,” she said. That’s when it all made sense. There was a reason why Immastar gravitated toward Taylor and Gentry when approached to help create some visibility and awareness in the community about Black Box Fitness, and their  12,000 sq foot facility, located at 4201 Yale Blvd NE Ste I .

It was obvious in that statement that the duo views this business as being something bigger than themselves. It seems to be instead, about Albuquerque, and Immastar Productions can certainly get behind that.

“Chacho and I both live in Abq and are raising our children in this community – we want to be able to give back in ways that are “outside the box”. Neither of us have been successful on our own – it has always been a joint effort from mentors, friends, community and we know that Black Box is no different,” said the business-owning, single-mother, and entrepreneur.

Those things are all connected for Gentry: family, community, and fitness – Taylor shares similar ideals as a father and athlete beyond “the box.” The two click, and have a passion for parenting just as much as training and conditioning. In fact, Gentry reminded herself and hipped us to how she sort of “fell into” her space in the gym.

“Fitness helps me “manage” life. My son was 11 when he told me “mom, you’re grouchy, you should probably go workout” Straight out the mouths of babes… he was spot on. I never connected the two before that day,” she said. Someone give that kid a high five! Gentry is no stranger to long and challenging days of building and chasing dreams – often with Taylor a phone call or email away. They’re battle tested and ready for 2018 with some steam. They know where they’re headed because the two certainly remember all they’ve been through and where they come from.

The road has been long and challenging. We asked Jessica about a few of the things that she thinks about as she continues on her journey as a small-business owner in ABQ. “We want to bridge the gap – gyms here don’t usually work together, combine efforts or team up often, if ever. It’s a shame. We are passionate about creating a space where everyone can benefit. There’s enough success out there for each of us to shine, I am a true believer in that. But, the scarcity mentality here is a tough battle. it’s a constant hustle to prove to folks that our hearts are in the right place,” she added.

We might add, that we think it might be tough for a little while, but not for long. Immastar thinks the battle won’t be so uphill when it comes to community engagement and  the collaborative appeal Black Box is shooting for. Why?

Well, because Taylor and Gentry are choosing to focus on what’s most important in Albuquerque. Youth!

While not giving away all the details about an upcoming program that Black Box Fitness is launching for Albuquerque kids, she did give us a few “teasers” as far as what they’re going to pull out of that box. “Stay tuned for a program we are pushing into our community that will impact ABQ Youth along with some local businesses that haven’t cross-collaborated in this space before – We are super excited to change the game “ she said. Stay tuned we will! Sounds great! We asked Gentry to give anyone out there looking at the CrossFit world from the outside, a few words of encouragement.

“Crossfit can sound scary and the thought of walking into a gym full of unknown can be paralyzing to people. I was nervous when I first walked into a “Box.” The language is different, the equipment looks different – but it is super inviting and EVERYTHING is scaleable – that means we make Crossfit meet you where you’re at… we work to help you reach YOUR goals… YOUR ideas of what being healthy means… WE work together to take measurable steps to achieving those goals. I’d suggest people come in and watch, talk to a coach, or try a couple of classes – being in a community where everyone is supportive makes a world of difference in not only to your physical health but mental health as well.”

We believe her – do you? Check out Black Box Fitness, soon! Maybe for Valentine’s Day, with or without a date – check out their upcoming Barbells & Brew – A Different Kind of Date Night, the first in a series of community facing events aimed at exposing the ABQ community to the gem that is Black Box Fitness.”