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Kettlebell and Group Training

Kettlebells have become more popular today than ever before. A 'kettlebell' or girya is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle.

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Customized Programming

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Workshops/Events/ Competitions

We have been proud to host some of the best workshops, certifications, and competitions in the industry. We have been host to Pavel Tsatsouline, StrongFirst...

Barbell Club/ Olympic/Powerlift..

The Tucson Barbell Club is a branch of Evolution Fitness that offers specialized instruction in Powerlifting, Olympic Lifting and Strength & Conditioning.


Strong & Healthy Woman

Our Strong and Healthy Woman Program is unlike any other fitness program offered in Tucson. Our certified personal trainers offer individualized attention...

2016 Challenge


FEBRUARY 6, 2016 10:45am KICKOFF


Fitness Challenge Tucson Evolution Fitness Personal training weight loss tucson




Learn More About Evolution Fitness


USPA Powerlifting Meet, Tucson, AZ, March 26, 2016

 Very Excited to be hosting the USPA Meet in Tucson! This is going to be a great day. Looking forward to having all of you join us.
USPA Powerlifting Meet Tucson Arizona 2016

Southwest Shootout

March 26, 2016 

Full Power, Bench Only, Deadlift Only, Push/Pull

Raw, Classic Raw, Single Ply

Registration Coming Soon!

The Evolution Fitness Challenge 2016

Evolution Fitness Tucson Conditioning and Fitness Classes Group Training Tucson Theory fitness

Are You Ready for a Challenge That Will Make You Stronger, Move Better, and Train With Purpose?


Information Meeting and Kickoff is February 6th at 10:45 am. RSVP today.

 A message from the owner:

The fitness industry is failing people.  Everyone from small studios to big box gyms are promoting life changing success this new year. Promising a slimmer waist, sexy thighs, and washboard abs.

The catch is that you have to follow restrictive food guides and unsustainable workout schedules.

Even more damaging is the fact that if you somehow manage to follow the “rules” and meet the unrealistic goals, the same fitness professionals that are promising you health and vitality reward you with cash but leave you without any tools to sustain your “success”.

We at Evolution Fitness are tired of the gimmicks and want to change the face of the fitness industry.

We’ve put together a challenge that encourages you to build healthy habits, get stronger, do recovery work, do strength work, participate in daily physical activity, and get involved with your community.

Will you lose some pounds?  Sure, if you have some to lose, but more importantly you’ll challenge yourself to move better, be stronger, and train with purpose.

What Do You Get for Signing Up and Who can Participate?

This challenge is for any current Evolution Fitness member or Tucsonan who wants to move better, be stronger, and train with purpose.

Our current Evolution Fitness members can participate and enroll in the challenge at a special $60 rate.  People who are not already members of Evolution will gain full access to our services at a special discounted rate of $199.

Please see the fees and services included below.


RSVP for the Free February 6th Information Meeting and Kickoff Event at 10:45 am.

You can choose to enroll at the meeting and participate.

There will be a complimentary kettlebell intro before the event for people new to kettlebell or needing a refresher. 

What is the Evolution Fitness Challenge?

We have set up numerous activities that will encourage participants to not only train in the gym, but also to become more active outside the gym. Each challenge will have a point value attached to it.

At the end of the 6 weeks, the person with the highest point total will win the Evolution Fitness Challenge. This means anyone can win!

We have built in checks and balances to eliminate the possibility unfair point accumulation.

Some of the challenges include:

  • Hiking Tumamoc Hill
  • Going for a walk/run
  • Doing a recovery yoga class in gym or the community
  • Making a donation to a local charity
  •  Push ups challenges
  • 200 swings in 20 minutes
  • Sled Push Challenges
  • Rower/AirDyne Challenges
  • And Many more… Learn all of them at the kickoff on February 6, 2016!
Blacketts Ridge

Why Did We Put a Challenge Together?

First, we want to encourage fitness throughout our Tucson community in a smart and effective manner. We believe that strength training and physical activity are cornerstones to a strong and healthy body so we want to encourage people to do more of these activities.

Second, we want to be the leaders in developing effective programs for our members at Evolution and the surrounding community. We believe that the fitness industry is failing people by promoting unhealthy practices and marketing them with sexy pictures and glamorized results.  We see a need to change the face of fitness, promote sustainable habits, and level the playing fields for all that participate.

How Does the Challenge Work?

The challenge includes:

  • Access  and participation in group training classes at Evolution Fitness
  • Completing physical activity events around the community, for example completing a 20 mile bike ride or walking up Tumamoc Hill and other activities. 
  • Completing strength challenges at Evolution Fitness like 200 kettlebell swings in 20 minutes, 50 push ups, a 500 meter row for time,and others.  
  • Giving back to the community via donations to a organization of your choice that is based in Tucson.

By participating in the challenge you’ll also receive a nutrition guide and body composition measurements. Although weight loss is not a focus for this challenge, we understand that some members may have body composition change goals and we want to make sure they are successful.

Each participant that signs up will have 6 weeks to complete the various challenges to accumulate points.  The accumulation of points will be used for determining challenge leaders and rewards earned. Our point and reward system will be revealed to all participants at our challenge kickoff on February 6th, 2016. RSVP and come to the information meeting to find out more.  You can choose to enroll then.

Prizes will be awarded to the participants with the highest amount of points as follows:

  • 1st Place: $500 Cash or 3 Months Unlimited Group Training  and  $200 Evolution Bucks ($635 Value) OR 8 sessions One on One Training and $100 Evolution Bucks ($660 Value)
  • 2nd Place: 1- Month Unlimited Group Training and $150 Evolution Bucks 
  • 3rd Place: $100 Evolution Bucks
  • 4th Place: $50 Evolution Bucks

***All participants that earn 200 points will receive an Evolution Fitness tee shirt ***

RSVP for the Free February 6th Information Meeting and Kickoff Event at 10:45 am.

You can choose to enroll at the meeting and participate.

There will be a complimentary kettlebell intro before the event for people new to kettlebell or needing a refresher. 

A Note from Danny Sawaya:

Looking around the fitness industry we seem to be inundated  with before and after ads of extreme weight loss. I am seeing more and more gyms and supplement companies push their products on people with extreme and many times unhealthy expectations. Don’t get me wrong, before and after pictures can be motivating and we use them at Evolution Fitness in some of our ads, but my question for many people doing these challenges and dropping the weight, is what happens after the “after picture”? So you lost 20lbs in 5 weeks (unhealthy for most people by the way), what now? Was the weight lost just to win the challenge or was the weight lost as a product of healthy life long changes?

Unrealistic Before and After Pictures

Lets talk about unrealistic Before and Afters. Unfortunately this stuff is everywhere. This is perfect example of photoshop and dishonest marketing.

After more than 15 years in the Fitness Industry and organizing numerous challenges over the years, I’ve decided that I am committed to stop buying in to what the fitness industry considers the standard in challenges. So the Evolution Staff and I came up with a challenge that doesn’t have to do with weight loss or before and after pictures. Our challenge will get people moving and hopefully allow them to create consistency in their training schedule and have goals outside of just weight loss. If weight loss is your goal you will still be able to accomplish that, as part of this challenge. However, the truth is that not everyone loses weight at the same pace and not everyone needs to lose a ton of weight so weight loss is not the biggest factor for this challenge.  Well we leveled the playing field. So if you lose 15 lbs or 1 lb your chance of winning is about the same as long as you put in the work.

Stop Buying into the Fitness Industry

I have been very contemplative over the past few months about the future of the Fitness Industry and how Evolution Fitness will progress as a business to serve people that want to become stronger and healthier. It has never been in our belief system to be at the center of the weight loss world or competing against the big box gyms. It is amazing how this industry will play on the emotions of individuals that have struggled with losing weight over a life time.  There are billions of dollars of products sold each year with dishonest marketing tactics that will get young women to try in attempts to lose that weight and fit into smaller jeans, and at the end of it those products are either completely ineffective or highly dangerous for health. On the other end young men are force fed this BS of taking ineffective supplements to get ripped and jacked, yet the models they are idolizing in those pictures are dosed with 10 times the Testosterone any human would naturally have in their body.

When I started Evolution in 2010 the goal was strength. Fast forward to 2016 the goal is still strength. Strength does have a greater purpose. It allows for more personal independence and confidence. Strength isn’t about becoming a powerlifter or world class athlete. Strength is about being able to challenge yourself and progressively move more weight in training to become better for activities in the outside world. So when you are looking for BS marketing to draw you in, you won’t find it here. We have helped hundreds of people lose lots of weight over the years, but focusing on the weight loss is not our strategy. Focusing on strength, creating healthy habits, and  promoting consistency will and always be our focus. In 2016 we will be expanding our programs to include a new Heart Rate monitoring training system throughout the gym to better serve our clients in their conditioning endeavors. We will also be offering numerous yoga classes that will allow our members to move better and de-stress. We will continue to evolve our offerings (no pun intended) to keep our clients moving forward.

I read this article recently titled 10 Things I want My Daughter to Know about Working Out, but really it should have been titled 10 Things I want Everyone to Know About Workout Out. It is short and sweet and I think it hits home on what I believe to a core with Evolution Fitness   If you haven’t read it, take few seconds and read it here..

When #Science Gets Into the Wrong Hands

Fitness trends come and go and over the past 20+ years I have been a part of and experienced most of them.  The past few years there has been a movement  of promoting the “science” of training, backed by research and University studies. Drop the Science of something in a blog, conversation or more importantly a sales pitch and you win instant credibility (to the naive). Science and research can be extremely beneficial  when applied correctly in the fitness / strength and conditioning field and there is large amounts of it available. Having said all of this there is a lot of skill in learning how to apply the “science” and understanding when good judgement and experience trump what research says about a specific concept.


#science exercise fitness theory tucson

Recently, I shopped another gym to see what type of programs they offered.  They drop the #science word a lot so I figured it was worth looking into. As a gym owner, staying connected to the industry is crucial if I want to stay on top of my game giving my clients the best overall experience. The gym I chose to visit promotes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training ) and EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Consumption) as the science buzz words of choice. In theory high intensity bouts of conditioning will have increased metabolism (calorie burning) for hours after training and improved hormone profiles by keeping testosterone levels higher after training,

Increased metabolism and improved hormone profiles should then lead over time to improve body composition (more muscle created, more fat  being burned). As another benefit, this high intensity training environment also allows people to train for a shorter duration of time and see longer term benefits.  There is a lot of research backing this theory. What is also known, is that in keeping exercise intensity elevated for excessive amounts of time and doing so numerous times per week can also lead to poor adherence to exercise program due to fatigue, increased injury risk, and higher cortisol levels over time which can interfere with weight loss and be detrimental to health. So the lesson here is get enough intensity, but not too much. The cool thing about the training effect of EPOC, is that you can measure it by monitoring Heart Rate which can take a lot of the guessing out of your training. In real terms, pushing north of 85% of your max heart rate is enough to stimulate EPOC, and remember you don’t need to push those levels for extended periods of time. Really 15-25 minutes total at this level is just about right, and most importantly not all at once. If you think about it in terms of a car, 90% +  is your redline on the RPM meter. If you are up that high for too long you need to switch gears or your engine and transmission will not last as long. Pushing at 85% is fine for short bouts of training, but staying there too long will cause wear/tear and over fatigue on many people, especially beginners. The goal of HIIT training is to get into the ranges of 85% + and then get out. So the intervals should be 75-80% as a baseline steady pace then shooting into that 85%+ or sometimes 90%+ range for 30seconds to a few minutes, then bringing it back down to the lower ranges.  In term of a 60 minute workout, spending about 30-40% of your time in these ranges would be considered effective (18-24minutes). The term stimulate don’t annihilate would fit perfectly here.

HIIT Training Tucson This isn't a Theory Fitness

Now back to my story. This gym I shopped actually gives you a heart rage monitor to train with and projects your HR on a large TV screen for you and your instructor to see so that you can quantify how hard you are working. You can then know the appropriate time to back off when it is necessary to push a little harder if you are slacking. It is a great concept and something I will possibly implement at my facility. The Young lady who greeted us at the gym explained these concepts as she handed me the heart rate monitor so that we could manage our fatigue to prevent injury and burnout.  Once class started the instructor also gave us a break down on the #science.  I was actually looking forward to the training. The workout was broken down into a conditioning circuit with rowers, treadmills, weights and  followed by a strength circuit with more weights. The instructor noticed that I was a 200lb powerlifter and handed me two 70lb kettlebells. The first part of the workout was a combination of rowing machine, heavy goblet squats, more rowing, heavy presses, rowing and more high rep weighted squats for about 20 minutes, this was followed by the strength portion of more pressing, more weighted squats, and some body weight movements. I was told that  you never do the same workout twice (that can be an entirely different article). As the workout began my HR was staying steady in the 85% range and shot up occasionally in 90% range, and I was pretty fascinated seeing my stats in real time on the TV monitors around the facility. Knowing what I know I chose to slow it down a bit because rowing a 500m sprint the pressing 140lbs for 12 reps with an elevated heart rate isn’t the safest thing for my shoulders and neck. I really didn’t need the HR monitor to tell me slow down, but at least I could quantify the “feels”.

The Science of Heart Rate Monitoring

The thing that boggled my mind was every time I slowed down to get my heart rate out of the “Orange” or “Red” zone (HR on the screens are color coded) so I could push the heavier weight, the instructor told me to keep going and not stop. I listened to my body and took a few extra seconds, but having the “coach” yell at you to keep it moving does push you a little harder. This happened not only throughout the conditioning portion, but also through the so called “strength” portion of the workout. It was an intense workout, and I enjoyed some of it. At the end of the session we were then shown a graph of our training, and that 15-25 minutes max time I was supposed to spend in the higher heart rate zones was actually closer to 40 minutes. I had burned 950 calories which was cool since I wanted to eat a big breakfast afterwards, but I was baffled. The instructor saw my HR the entire time and chose to push me regardless of what the HR monitor was telling us after he had already explained the #science. I wasn’t the only person with these results. My friend in the class was in the 92%+ range for nearly 9 minutes! The philosophy that was just preached to me before class was completely disregarded. It’s like a strength coach telling you how to never push to failure and keep good form only to push you into 3 extra reps on bench press giving you a deadlift spot screaming, “It’s all you bro!!” Even more ironically, each person in class receives points for the workout and guess what… you receive more points the longer you stay in the red and orange zones of your heart rate. So the science says spend only 15-25 minutes in these zones for the maximal benefit and reducing risk of injury as well as to improve long term adherence of an exercise program, but you receive a reward for disregarding it to push harder and longer. Here is the post workout email she received highlighting her heart data and guess what she had the most points for the class as well!



I’m sure this experience isn’t unique to this gym.  A lot of the fitness industry has become kind of laughable to me, but unfortunately there is a seemingly endless crowd of individuals that are uneducated in this field and will be wowed by talk that isn’t backed in practice. This experience is a perfect example of putting science into the wrong hands. Our instructor was motivational and did a good job of managing a room, but did a big disservice to what could have been real experience in how science and training can coincide for great experience that makes sense. As I have said for years, anyone with no experience can put a workout together to create a beat down to make you sweat and really sore, but it takes practice and expertise to put together a thoughtful program that gets long term results. Just because someones hands you some fancy technology and makes you feel exhausted after a workout doesn’t meant they know what they are doing.