THE Urban Athletic Club STORY
Graham King - OWNER
In the Fall of 2000, Graham King found himself at a crossroads: his corporate sales job was going nowhere, and he had just enough credits for half a bachelor’s degree. The only place that he found solace was at the gym. At an age where most people are making career advances, he decided to start over. Graham quit his job, sold everything with a recurring bill, and decided to finish his degree in business. Then went to his local gym and asked for a job. “I’ll take anything you got,” he said. At the gym, Graham had befriended the head trainer, an old-school weight lifter named Carmine, who looked like he could have been Rocky’s trainer.
Carmine had seen Graham train and saw potential, so he offered him a job as floor trainer, which meant putting away weights, assisting personal trainers, and helping members. At the same time, Carmine helped Graham enroll in a personal training course. Once Graham finished the training course, it was full steam ahead: in a few months, Graham had a complete client list, and he was promoted to the club’s assistant manager. Over the next several years, Graham graduated from college, started a fitness business, a food delivery company, and a non-profit. He also got elected to his neighborhood advisory committee. From 2003 to 2013, Graham took on business partners and grew the fitness business, expanding from one location in the back of a Church to three locations around DC. In April 2013, Urban Athletic Club was born. Graham decided to pursue a new path over frustrations with the direction of his fitness business and a disagreement with his business partners. A client of his had just purchased the Savoy Suites Hotel in Glover Park and asked Graham to open a neighborhood gym within the hotel. Graham reimagined the hotel gym as a neighborhood spot featuring a “real gym” with barbells, sleds, and kettlebells along with friendly faces and intense training. From 2013 to 2016, Urban Athletic Club would expand its offering and locations, eventually opening a flagship location in Shaw. At Shaw, Graham brought out the best in Urban Athletic Club: a beautiful, spacious, modern CrossFit gym with the best equipment, group classes, and personal training. He partnered with fellow trainer Jay Morgan, who came on board with an ownership interest. Graham also partnered with local businesses District Cryo, Momentous Physical Therapy, and Composition ID to offer members a comprehensive fitness experience.
Jay Morgan has always had a strong passion for sport, competition, and fitness. As a former dual athlete, he learned the importance of a functional, balanced, and powerful body on and off the court and field. He is a strong advocate of making fitness a community effort and believes that each and everyone of us has a high capacity to perform and do work; simply, we are all athletes!
Jay has been featured in the Washington Post, the Washingtonian, WUSA Channel 9, radio publications, and was voted Best Personal Trainer in Washington DC by the Washington City Paper! In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, hiking, and hitting the trails on his Pedego bike as well as spending time with his son and pup! Jay is a true Washingtonian having lived in DC nearly his entire life, and even went to Shaw Junior High School right here in our neighborhood! Certifications Certifications: CrossFit-L1, NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Nico has been into sports since he was 8 years old, getting to be part of the National Rowing Team in Argentina by 16. At 18, he got involved in the boxing world and became a professional fighter after 7 years. While looking for new methods of training, he discovered CrossFit. Nico suffered back and knee injuries in part due to poor coaching. These injuries led him to pursue resistance training, eventually progressing to love for Olympic weightlifting.
Nico was motivated by these injuries to pursue becoming an instructor as he didn’t want others to suffer as he had. Nico researched nutritional studies, additional certifications, and other materials to optimize his own performance in the gym. This information has helped him to develop as an athlete and a coach. He began his career like many: training a few of his friends. Now, as a full-time coach, Nico enjoys continually learning and sharing his knowledge with clients. He especially focuses on working on injury prevention and injury rehabilitation with all of his clients. Certifications Certifications: CrossFit-L1, USAW Sport Performance Coach
Evie began competitively swimming at the age of 6 through 18 and attributes her work ethic, competitive mindset and love of fitness back to her early years in the pool. After college, she became heavily involved in various group fitness communities focused on HIIT, functional training, cycling and strength and conditioning, which eventually led to pursuing a career as a trainer. Once Evie stopped competitively swimming, she experienced struggle with weight, body image and sticking to a routine.
She eventually found a love for running and HIIT and was training up to 6x/wk. Over time, she experienced many injuries from high impact and turned to strength and conditioning in the form of powerlifting, Crossfit, and eventually olympic lifting. Evie’s personal transformation and connections made in her past fitness experiences drove her to get more involved in creating a strong community promoting sweat and good vibes! Personally, Evie’s drive to train harder and heavier is to build strength, avoid injury and develop a healthier relationship with food. She takes safety very seriously and has developed an in-depth understanding of fundamental movement patterns through personal and professional experience. As a coach, her drive is to help others feel happy and confident in their bodies. Her personal progress as an athlete led her to pursue a “side hustle” coaching, in addition to her full-time job. She has since transitioned to follow her passion in the Health and Wellness industry full-time. She has coached interval training group fitness for four years and recently earned her Level 1 USAW certification to deepen her knowledge in S&C and olympic lifting. Evie is a body-positive coach who promotes building fundamentals before loading the bar. Certifications Certified ACE Personal Trainer, USAW Level 1
As a lifelong athlete and former college field hockey player, Gussie always had a passion for competition and for a fitness-oriented lifestyle in a team environment. Upon graduation, Gussie moved to D.C. in 2012 where she found herself sorely missing team workouts and leading a group in achieving their athletic and fitness goals. Gussie enjoys variety when it comes to her personal workouts and over the years could be found in various fitness classes around the city or dragging friends to the nearest hill for a sprint workout.
Eventually she landed at Urban Athletic Club in 2017 as a personal training client. While in-between jobs in 2019 Gussie pursued her personal training certification. Like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself with a bit of spare time; so, with a new certification, and a lot of neighbors missing their regular fitness classes and gyms she began running an outdoor bootcamp every day for her community out of her front yard and garage. After spending the year working with clients from young teens to seniors, and witnessing their progress firsthand, it solidified Gussie’s desire to pursue personal training on a regular basis. For Gussie, training hard but smart to feel strong, fast, and remain injury-free keeps her mentally sane and keeps the rest of her life in check. When it comes to helping others and coaching, Gussie’s drive comes from those moments when someone achieves something that maybe they couldn’t do a few weeks, months, or even years earlier. Creating a space to not only achieve your goals, but to confidently pursue them is what Gussie strives for. Outside of coaching, Gussie has over a decade of experience working in government, event production, and protocol. When she’s not at UAC Gussie works in event production for a DC-based firm. Certifications Certifications NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Amy is notoriously bad at any sports that involve balls, so it's no surprise that she eventually found herself at the barbell. Amy spent time as a rower and coxswain on a D1 rowing team at Brown University and has dabbled in all realms of the fitness scene in the District. She approaches coaching in an inclusive and empowering manner and is invested in helping members achieve their strength and fitness goals. If you see Amy at the gym, you'll have to remember to say, "Hi," to her trusty sidekick, Taro the Border Collie.
A native of the Bay Area, California, Amy is passionate about policy and social issues, so she inevitably found herself based in Washington, DC, and has been primarily based here since 2010. Outside of coaching, Amy is a cybersecurity and intelligence professional at a major financial institution. Amy has been a part of the Urban Athletic Club community since 2020. Certifications Certifications: CrossFit-L1