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Bodybuilding passion leads to gym ownership

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S&S Fitness owner Juan Salmon (in the black and gray) helps a member work out. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Juan Salmon is a local product who played sports at Lake Arthur High School. His passion was football and working out. With a college athletic career that left him still hungry for more competition, he turned to weightlifting and fitness.

Members enjoying an exercise class at S&S Pro Fitness. (Submitted Photo)

Salmon went to New Mexico Tech University, and completed his engineering degree. At 19 years old he got into the nutrition part of fitness. He started competing in bench press competitions in Roswell and at Tech. He did so well that he was sponsored by Alton Shields in powerlifting contest. He holds the bench press record of 535 pounds in 2003 while weighing 220 pounds. His best in gym bench press is 580 pounds.

“I got into bodybuilding because Alton (Shields) actually said, ‘I had a good frame to try it.’”

Salmon was so passionate about the sport of bodybuilding that he went to a show and was able to meet four-time Mr. Olympia, and bodybuilding champion Jay Cutler. The two talked for over an hour. Salmon was given the best advice by Cutler and still gives it to lifters today if a lifter has an itch to get into the sport, to do it.

Salmon’s competed in his first bodybuilding show, Mr. Southern New Mexico in Las Cruces in 2002. Wanting to see how far he could go on his own, Salmon did his own research and prepped his own food. With a personal training license, he added a nutritionist certification so he could monitor his diet. When the competition rolled around he weighed 190 pounds finishing second in his first show.

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“When I placed where I did,” Salmon said, “ I actually wanted more.” “I gave 100 percent this time and I ended up winning Mr. Southern New Mexico in the lightweight class in 2003.”

“I was hooked when I started working out in high school,” Salmon said. “I knew then, I was going to work out and never stop. I got into the training portion of it and noticed the people I was training dropped 30-35 pounds. I was hooked on all aspects of fitness.”

Salmon always wanted to own a gym but things never added up. He worked at the college for a while When “Fitness for 10” opened up.  Toby Bush, the owner told him that he was going to hire a personal trainer, Salmon wasn’t looking for a permanent job, just something part-time. After the interview, Bush offered him the job on the spot.

Salmon started helping people prep for bodybuilding competitions while working at Fitness for 10, remembering what it felt like to be involved in a bodybuilding competition. At the age of 40, he decided to go back and compete in a show.

At the end of the show, Salmon turned 41 years old and was in the best shape of his life when he competed in the Oklahoma City Championships in June 2017 finishing third in three divisions. He achieved this in the Middleweight division weighing 170 pounds with 3.2 percent body fat. The leanest he had ever been in his life.

Salmon is looking to compete in May, in the Battle of the Bodies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then will compete in a competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in June.

Bush told Salmon, he had helped other people compete in competitions, and had worked out at the other gyms in the area: Elite Fitness, Power Block before Alton (Shields) bought it.

Bush didn’t feel like he had the time to devote to Fitness for 10 anymore and was going to sell it. He offered it to Salmon. Bush told Salmon he had a passion for the gym and helped a lot of people get into shape. People looked to him for advice and training. Bush mentioned it would be a great opportunity for Salmon and he didn’t want it anymore. He asked Salmon if he’d be interested in taking it.

“I weighed the decision with my job,” Salmon said. “I weight it with my fiancee Beatriz Martinez and decided to do it.”

Currently, Salmon continues to work at Dean Baldwin Painting, where he has been for the past 17 years as an aircraft maintenance manager.

After talking it over with his fiancee Beatriz Martinez, he decided to build something for himself and his son, and after six months of ownership, he has changed the name of the business to S&S Pro Fitness.

With new energy in the business, there has been a surge in memberships since his brand has changed. Salmon offers non-contracts, six-month contracts, and a year contract with specials for college students.

“We are the balanced gym in town,” Salmon said. “We have individuals just starting out, we have the seasoned people, bodybuilders, and we have people just looking for cardio, we’ve got everything. It is your gym. The music you get to select; if you need to grunt, do it. It’s your gym. If you like it quite put your headphones on. You can throw weights as long as you don’t break anything. This is a gym that does not judge how you workout.”

Salmon hopes his business takes off and he can expand one day. He feels the biggest challenge he has is getting the gyms name out there.

“We are the new kid on the block, Salmon said. “I believe we are the best membership for the buck.”

What they offer

Zumba, mixxedfit, Tabata, yoga classes. They have a sauna, tanning and locker rooms included in memberships along with guest privileges. They have personal trainers.

They also offer shaker bottles, hoodies, hats, hoodies.