In 2018, a “burnt out” Matt Bouback left the gym business.
He sold his gym in Byron. He wrote a book. He had a talk show on health and fitness. He created an app.
With the exception of the worldwide talk show, he didn’t even really market those projects. He was just looking for different outlets. The “itch” didn’t stay away for long.
“Sometime around the middle of last year, 2019, I started feeling the itch again,” Bouback said. “I missed the environment, the community and the culture. I told my wife that I wanted to get back into the gym business. She asked me if I was nuts. I said, ‘Yeah. Let’s open another gym.’”
Enter Reign XT, Oregon’s newest business downtown at 404 W. Washington St.
After thinking he’d never go back to brick and mortar gyms, Bouback went on the hunt for a new one to own. He tried to buy back his old gym in Byron and was rebuffed. He made a list of possible communities that didn’t include Oregon, due to its smaller size.
Bouback ended up spending time in Oregon and meeting with Mayor Ken Williams during his search.
“The more time we spent down here, it just felt right,” Bouback said. “Everyone was coming to us and saying, ‘We want you to come into our community.’ A lot of people knew our past history at our other gyms. We had clients from Oregon. Everybody just embraced us here.”
Finding a location that suited his aspirations was a tall task for Bouback. He desired a big, 24-hour gym with capabilities for spin classes and group fitness.
When he first saw the Washington Street location, Bouback thought there was no chance that he could build his gym there. The old National Clothing House building, built in the early 1800s, had to be gutted, but became what Bouback wanted.
“There’s not a single inch of this building that hasn’t been touched and changed,” Bouback said. “The ceilings have been painted. Beams have been changed out. Everything has been touched. New heating and cooling systems. Bathrooms, plumbing. Everything.”
Bouback originally wanted to open in October, but soon realized that construction would be an issue. He thought he was a hard worker until he started to see the building’s owners, Mark Gale and Kevin Wiegmann inside working every day from sun up until sun down.
Each brick in the building has been scraped and sanded by hand to remove plaster with a wire mesh. Going up the building’s new stairs takes you a floor that includes ADA-compliant bathrooms with showers, an open-space training area, tanning rooms and a spin-cycling class room with a view of the historic Ogle County Courthouse.
“It’s been five to seven of us working every single day for the past three or four months,” Bouback said. “Many nights of no sleep and just grinding. Kind of the attitude of our gym. It’s all or nothing.”
Bouback was born and raised in Belvidere and wrestled at Northern Illinois University on scholarship. He has also owned gyms in Belvidere, Rockford and Stillman Valley. He’s been a trainer since 1998. He also owns a logistics company, but he plans to be at the gym as much as they can be.
Bouback sees Reign XT as more of a compliment to Oregon Park District’s Nash Recreation Center than as a competitor. If you’re looking for a casual workout, Reign XT probably isn’t the place. Guided workouts and daily challenges will pair with classes at Reign XT.
Equipment that sets Reign XT apart includes rowers, bikes and treadmills. The treadmills go up to 40 percent grade. The equipment caters to runners, mountain racers, skiers, obstacle course racers, CrossFit workouts and more.
“You walk in, I’m going to know everything there is about you and your health and fitness,” Bouback said. “Our goal is to get to know everyone by name and making sure we follow through with everyone and their goals to make sure they’re met.”
Reign XT is now open. Go to reignxt.com for more information. Representatives from the gym can be reached by phone at 815-595-5530 or by email at email@example.com.