DeFranco's Gym Fit Field Trip

The AFM crew with trainer Eric Leija and Onnit staff

DeFranco’s Gym at the ONNIT Academy
4401 Freidrich Ln #301, Austin, TX 78744
(512) 593-5437

Devyn: DeFranco’s Gym at the Onnit Academy is without a doubt one of my favorite spots to visit. Although it’s hidden towards the south side of Austin, it’s far worth the trek, and you won’t want to spend just one hour. After preparing dropping our stuff off in the clean and modernized locker room (at least the women’s!), we were led into a smaller classroom branched off the main floor. Eric Leija, kettle bell and mace extraordinaire, trained us through and amazing series that burned our glutes and biceps. Eric was great at explaining each movement carefully and demonstrating the proper way to do it. I felt pushed to the limit, just making it to the end of the class and to the café! At Onnit, you earn what you put in, and I love testing my boundaries every time I attend.

Weston: Some words that come to mind when I think about Onnit are ‘primal, intensity, Joe Rogan, Aubrey Marcus, and never quit.’ If someone outside the fitness world hears some of these words or sees some of the graphics that Onnit markets, they may not feel comfortable giving their classes a try, especially if they're just getting started on their fitness journey toward a healthy lifestyle. Even for me, I didn't know what I was getting into when I signed up for the class. I was in the same mindset as someone who just walked in and signed up for the first time. However, I have been to Onnit before for photo shoots with Aubrey, Jena, and Whitney on separate occasions so I knew the atmosphere. Our instructor, Eric, led us into a room and taught us his kettle bell and mace bar flow workout, and it really wasn't all that scary! I loved it. I worked up a good sweat and left feeling like I had a better understanding on how to work out with mace bars and kettle bells. I've never worked out with a mace bar before, but Eric explained everything perfectly. Everyone in the class was really friendly and I think that's what it's all about. Sweat together and laugh together. My second favorite part was getting the Velvet Rocket smoothie (with Cold Brew in it) from their cafe. My morning was complete! I'll be back.

Kristin: The Onnit Academy facility is gorgeous, packed with top notch workout toys and set up perfectly for athletes. Eric's class had a lot of new elements for me, specifically the "monkey" stretches and the mace bar moves. I enjoyed implementing both as they kept me mentally engaged with the workout while I tried to perfect the movements while grinding through the burn. Coupling a solid workout with a Brew Chata from their cafe on my way out made for a perfect way to start the day!

Alex: The Onnit Academy truly is unique. There's nothing like it. It has Jiu Jitsu, Olympic lifting, personal training, group fitness classes, kettle bell workouts, ropes, maces, and a whole lot more medieval-looking devices that are fun to swing around.  Today's Fit Field Trip consisted of a mace bell and kettle bell workout with Master Kettle bell Trainer and Onnit Academy Trainer Eric Leija. I've been fortunate to know Eric for a number of years, and this dude is the real deal. Not only have I seen him grow into an amazing trainer with his ability to connect, communicate and motivate his clients, he also completely practices what he preaches.  Our workout today would likely be intimidating at first to most because of the equipment used, but Eric's ability to break it down, showing proper form, and consistent communication to every person in the class is remarkable.  We worked our way through a variety of squats, lunges, push presses, with the kettle bells, keeping our primary focus on good form. This is what I love about Onnit. They focus on effective, safe, form, rather than exertion, or speed to finish per se. Post workout, I was drenched in sweat, but feeling good. This is a place that will always be money and time well spent to exceed your fitness goals.

Maddie: That was my first time going to Onnit, and I loved the experience. The gym in the main room took me back to my high school days (but modern and not stinky), with the latest music playing, a turf, and workout equipment with people warming up getting ready to turn it up. All the people working there were really cool and motivating. Also, loved the smoothie bar after the workout, it’s the perfect setup!

Anna: Onnit 's gym had a good atmosphere and many tools for functional total body training. We completed a class that combined kettle bell, mace, and body weight moves. The class began with a warm up, then we did 3 rounds of moves with the kettle bell and maces, including a 90-second flow. We finished up with 8 rounds of tabata moves and some stretching on the turf. Our instructor was great! He was very motivational and pushed us to do our best. The class also had a great selection of music to keep us moving. Overall, I enjoyed the variety of unique movements Onnit 's class offered and had fun using a mace for the first time ever. Their smoothie bar was also delicious for a post workout meal. I would definitely love to go back to Onnit for another class or workout!

Andrea: Onnit is one of my favorite places to work out for weight circuit training.  You can expect unconventional training, where the trainers turn boring squats, lunges, rows and press ups into a powerful and fun experience, with the added use of steel maces and kettle bells. Warm-ups and cool downs are also unique with their fusion of animal flow and yoga. 

Gretchen: The only time I had ever been to ONNIT prior to this fit field trip was in summer 2015 to interview and photograph Aubrey Marcus for our cover story. I've seen the maces and heard members talk about the classes, but never experienced it for myself until now. I tend to be overeager so I don't like to spend too much time on the warm-up/stretching part, but I will note that Eric included some unconventional movements which made it pass by quickly. We started with a kettle bell circuit that was really challenging, but manageable. Then, we finished with a mace circuit. I used a lighter weight and had fun with it--I wish more places incorporated a mace! I was sore soon afterwards; the mark of a successful workout.


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