Will Luberto, winner of the “Fittest of the Forgotten Coast” title, stands between runner-up Darius Johnson, left, and third-place Jerymiah Stephens. [ Forgotten Coast Fitness Center ]

Luberto claims ‘Fittest of the Forgotten Coast’ title

Apalachicola’s Will Luberto now holds the title of “Fittest of the Forgotten Coast” which he claimed during the Forgotten Coast Fitness Center’s open house and competition Jan. 20.

Even without winning any single event, Luberto had the most consistent performance across the four events and came out the winner in points, ahead of Darius Johnson who took second overall, and Jerymiah Stephens, who placed third. 

All three are trained by Keith Floyd, who won the hex bar deadlift portion of the competition with a 520-pound lift. Mark Willis had the highest number of 75% bodyweight bench presses with an impressive 30 reps. The strict, neutral grip pull-up event was won by Kung Li with 20 reps. 

In the final event, Russ Petrucka shocked the crowd with a rock solid 7-minute 5-second plank, outlasting competitors a third of his age by more than five minutes. He accomplished this feat less than a year after open heart surgery.

Russ Petrucka performs an amazing more than seven-minute plank, while trainer Eric Olson stands at left. [ Forgotten Coast Fitness Center ]

Earlier in the day, Eric Olsen welcomed members and potential members to the open house and invited everyone to a movement class by Tammy Spruill and a self-defense class by Jeff Knutson. 

“Our goal is to be the best small town gym in America,” said board president Melvin Myers. “We’re having fun with this competition and maybe another one this summer.”

Located in the city municipal complex at 192 Coach Wagoner Blvd, in what had once been Apalachicola High School, the gym in the past year has built out a powerlifting room with a belt squat machine that allows heavy squats without strain on the lower back, as well as an extra heavy duty squat rack, and a lifting platform suitable for deadlifts and Olympic lifts. 

But the gym is much more than heavy weights. “We have something for just about everyone,” said gym manager Stephen Dykes. “Everyone is friendly and welcoming here, and always willing to help.” 

Other recent upgrades are a six-station cable crossover machine, and rubber mat flooring in the room containing Cybex machines. An endless staircase machine is on the way, thanks to a generous donation from a longtime member. 

The next improvement to the gym will be a functional fitness room, with flooring suitable for movement classes, an array of rehab equipment, kettlebells, sandbags, medicine balls, and other apparatus for maximizing mobility and functionality. Those who want to help fund this (or any other) improvement can do so by signing up as a supporte, champion or Olympian member, or by making a tax deductible contribution in any amount. 

Gym memberships are $42 a month ($37.45 plus tax) for those who sign up for a recurring monthly membership. Discounted rates, hours, and class information is available at forgottencoastfitness.com and on the gym’s Facebook page. 

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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