Bodybuilders Steve Ralos and Nina Vitale opened Brickyard Fitness at 13550 Madison Ave. on February 18.

Bodybuilding competitors open Brickyard Fitness in south KC

“Our clients, even our experienced lifters, are just looking for that extra bit of accountability.”

By Kathy Feist

Soon after Brickyard Fitness opened at 13550 Madison Ave., two neighboring stores in the State Line shopping strip, Petco and Tuesday Morning, shut their doors. That might be discouraging for a new business. But owners Steve Ralos and Nina Vitale are not concerned. “People stop by on their Target run just to peek in and see what we are about,” says Ralos. 

What they see may impress them.

Inside the former mattress store is a fitness gym unexpectedly pleasing to the eye. 

Gray-flecked rubber flooring and an exposed, dark ceiling encompass black and faux red brick walls and corrugated metal furnishings. Columns are cleverly covered with black chalkboard paint. Neon signs serve to inspire. Bursts of bright green turf hug both sides of the interior. Amber-colored Edison bulbs drop from the ceiling. 

Among all the ambience are 41 pieces of shiny, new workout equipment from Life Fitness and TechnoGym. 

Brickyard Fitness was formerly located in a historic, brick building in the East Bottoms. Ralos and Vitale, who are engaged, chose to keep the gym’s urban vibe when they moved it closer to their home in Leawood. They closed the downtown gym in October and opened the southtown version on February 18. 

The gym is open 9 to 5 pm Monday through Friday, with 24-hour door code access to members.

Both Ralos and Vitale compete as bodybuilders, having recently won in all categories at the Nebraska State Bodybuilding Championship. They offer personal training for bodybuilding prep and strength. 

Ralos, who formerly coached collegiate soccer, also offers personal training for aspiring soccer players ages 8 and up. Both provide personal training for all fitness levels.

“We have clients who are in their 60s, in their teens, or middle-aged,” says Vitale. “Everyone has to start somewhere. Our clients, even our experienced lifters, are just looking for that extra bit of accountability.”

The gym has free weights, circuit training equipment, treadmills, elliptical machines, upright and recumbent bikes and wall and med balls, saddle ropes, sleds, and plyo (jump) boxes. 

Vitale, whose sister owns the Italian-based preschool Creativi Bambini in Martin City, is especially proud of the gym’s Italian brand TechoGym weight machines which allow for isolated muscle strengthening.

Monthly membership costs about $50 a month with 24-hour access to the gym. After a question and answer session, a fitness advisor can get new members started in the right direction. Personal training sessions are separate and cost around $90 an hour. For more information, visit


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