Forged strength pumps up Wrightsville Beach


Tucked away behind Jerry Allen’s Sports Bar and Grill and underneath Evolution Mixed Martial Arts in Wrightsville Beach is Forged Strength, a new gym opened March 10, by former Cameo 1900 owner Brian Parke and his two business partners, TJ Welsh and Hamid Razzazan.

Parke said they were all friends beforehand, and the idea for the gym started with his own personal weight-loss goals after spending five years in the restaurant industry.

Welsh and Razzazan, two United States Marine Corps Special Operations veterans, oversaw the equipment purchasing. Parke said the result is unlike any other local gym.

“The next thing you know we have one of the best gyms in North Carolina right down in Wrightsville Beach,” Parke said. “It is really high tech for this part of the state.”

Welsh said every piece of equipment in the gym is something he and Razzazan have encountered in their diverse strength and conditioning backgrounds.

“A lot of the specialty equipment here is stuff we have worked with and liked,” Welsh said. “When you go into any other gym sometimes you are missing certain pieces of equipment. … We touch on all different types of training, whether you are doing Olympic lifting, power lifting or just general fitness like a lot of our members.”

Welsh said many of the pieces of equipment at Forged Strength can be found in places like professional and collegiate sports weight rooms like heavy-duty Sorinex racks, Matrix Magnum series machines, Pendley bumper plates, handmade Black Iron Strength dumbbells and a multitude of power lifting and bench press bars. In addition to the quality of the equipment, Welsh said the items were chosen for their ease of use, convenience and for an optimized workout. Features like fat grips on dumbbells and bars, antimicrobial handle coatings and safety straps for solo bench pressing contribute to a better workout.

Because Forged Strength is a 24-hour gym and the partners will not always be on site, Welsh said new members are given an hour-long equipment orientation.

With a limited amount of space, Welsh said memberships would be capped at around 40 or fewer with walk-ins welcome. Welsh and Razzazan, who are both certified personal trainers by the Poliquin Group, will offer training sessions. If members have their own personal trainers, Welsh said the trainer may use the Forged Strength facilities with their client for a rental fee.

Those features, along with the 24-hour key fob entry, will make Forged Strength a convenient option for regular customers, Welsh said.

“We are focusing on a lot of the locals that live on Wrightsville Beach,” he said. “We want to give someone the option where if they just want to lose weight, you can do that here, and if you want to take it to another level you can do that too.”

Memberships are offered through a variety of durations ranging from $165 for 12 months and $195 on a month-to-month basis.

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