Team Tryon Spotlight: Ross Gilling

Dec 28, 2022 - 2:55 PM

Say hello to our next Team Tryon spotlight, Ross Gilling! Ross is the Tryon Resort’s Fitness Manager at Fitness Wide Open at Tryon Resort. His vision for Wide Open has always been to create a fitness facility that has something for everyone, regardless of age, experience or fitness level and that vision is now becoming a reality at Tryon Resort! Keep reading to learn how Wide Open came to TIEC, how it has evolved since then, and classes they offer!


What made you decide to become a fitness professional?

I’ve been a fitness fanatic my whole life. I started lifting weights when I was about 12 years old, because I was a really skinny kid, and my passion for health and fitness grew from there. I first started working out at home in my garage, then progressed to a local gym when I was 16. I played every sport I possibly could in high school, from football to basketball, tennis, track and field and cricket, but my number one passion was always Rugby. This combined with my love of weight training led me to pursue a career in the fitness industry. After graduating high school I went to college and studied for my Bachelors in Sport & Physical Education and also continued my rugby career gaining international honors for Welsh Colleges. It was in fact rugby that brought me to the US and to my career as a coach and gym owner/manager. During my graduating year of college I was recruited to come to Florida to coach rugby with two of my teammates, which led to a state championship and also to meeting my future wife. I deferred a masters degree upon returning home to Wales and saved up money to return to the US to start my new life with Sarah. I became a personal trainer in Cocoa Beach, but quickly worked my way up into a management position. We relocated to NC a few years later and I once again worked as a trainer for a little while before opening my own facility (The Edge Fitness) in 2007 which eventually became Fitness Wide Open.


How did Fitness Wide Open come to TIEC?

We’ve been friends with Sharon and Bob Decker for a long time. We met them early on when we first moved to Rutherfordton. In fact we almost rented our first building from them when we opened up our place downtown. We stayed in contact through the years, and whenever our paths would cross we would always end up talking about the potential and possibilities for a fitness facility on location at TIEC. In November of 2021, I was invited to a meeting to see if we could set our vision for a collaboration in motion and there was no stopping it from there!


How has Wide Open evolved since moving to TIEC?

It’s evolved a lot already! As with any new business venture the first year is about trying to get established and it’s been a learning curve, but thanks to a lot of time and effort put forth by our team we’ve already exceeded early expectations! Moving the facility to Tryon Resort has allowed us to continue to grow both our facility and membership options, it’s allowed us to expand and upgrade in so many different ways already, and we’re just getting started! In the past we have always offered CrossFit and personal training, but now we also offer yoga, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, pickleball and sculpt classes. With more options coming out in 2023, the sky’s the limit!



What are the classes you currently offer?

We offer CrossFit, which is kind of our staple. Since we’ve been here, we’ve also added a kickboxing class suited for all levels of experience. We have added a sculpt class for people that want to get in shape, but don’t want to  lift heavy weights. It’s lightweight calisthenics program, with lots of focus on mobility, flexibility, and core work. Another staple for us has always been personal training and this program continues to thrive at TIEC. We have added  Yoga classes since transitioning out here and it’s been a great compliment to our other offerings. Most recently we opened our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School, which is absolutely booming! It’s something that we did on a small scale in our previous facility and it’s something I believe in and see huge potential for growth! Both our adult and kids classes have really taken off since being here, and I think it’s going to be one of our most popular classes. 

In the future we would like to offer spin classes here. I had a very popular spin program in Florida and see a great potential for it here. We also plan to develop different events and seminars. Through CrossFit we have always done small fundraisers and competitions, but we plan to grow these to a bigger scale and additionally would like to host certification courses, and training seminars as well. As our martial arts programs grow we also plan to host seminars and competitions for them as well and possibly even for Pickleball at some point as it’s getting so popular!



What is your mission as a fitness instructor?

My mission is to create a place and community that offers something for everybody. Somewhere people feel safe, supported and motivated to come to work towards their goals. Our vision is not just to cater to athletes. We welcome everyone and feel confident we have a program to meet just about anyone’s health and fitness needs. We currently have kids as young as 7, adults in their 80’s and everything in between! I still maintain my passion for sports and so we also offer sport specific programs for high school and college athletes as well. I spent a lot of time this first year during the busy season getting to know a lot of the equestrian community and it’s been great having them utilize our facility while they’re here competing. We plan to offer more options for them this coming year also in the form of sport specific personal training and classes. 


Why is Fitness Wide Open great for families?

We have always taken pride in creating a family friendly environment. We want this to be a place where parents can come to get a workout and relieve the stresses of everyday life and kids can come to have fun! In addition to our programs there are also lots of other cool things to do here like play pickleball, ping pong, foosball, pool and more. We have a future goal to also  provide childcare as we know how much of a game changer it can be for parents being able to come in, have someone watch their kids, and be able to get their workout in. 

We are all about community and family. We want people to feel welcome here. We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated. We want our members to feel confident and comfortable while they’re here, that’s always been our mission. We require everyone to check their egos at the door, it’s not about that for us, it’s about everyone supporting each other through their fitness journey.


How do you spend your time outside of the gym?

Most of my time outside work is spent with family and friends. Even outside of work, fitness is my passion. I’m usually either working out in some form, whether it be lifting in the gym or playing sports outside with my family. Basically anything that gets my heart rate and adrenaline going, I’m into it! I also enjoy riding my Onewheel and Indo board, they are my stress relievers and I love watching movies.


Tell us about the gym mascot, Oly the French Bulldog!

Oly is actually short for Olympic. He’s awesome! He’s like my Pokemon, everywhere I go he goes! He’s been in the gym with me since he was eight weeks old, so he feels like he owns the place. We had some issues with him in the beginning, when he was a pup, because he used to get possessive if people were touching the equipment. He’d get mad, because he thought it was his equipment, but he’s figured it out now. He does still love to guard the perimeter, but once you’re inside then he loves everybody. He’s very chill. 

Thank you for all you do for Fitness Wide Open, Ross! We’ll see you in the gym soon.

To learn more about Fitness Wide Open, including memberships and class punch cards, visit or email Ross at

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