When we last checked in with LaWanda Dickerson of U3Fit earlier this year, the fitness instructor and nutritionist was working with Bayview residents to help them get in shape and improve their health.
Now, Dickerson has a new venture in the works: opening her own studio at 4646 3rd St. in mid-September. The space was previously home to First Cup Coffee but has been empty since a 2015 fire.
The U3Fit Meal Prep Fitness Studio will be part café, part fitness training facility. The combination comes out of Dickerson's own background as a personal trainer and nutritionist, and her own practice of including a meal plan with the workout package for clients.
With the café, she's also hoping to give people in the neighborhood—who don't necessarily need to train with her—an opportunity to try a different style of eating through a low-carb, ketogenic diet.
"The idea for the café is to serve nutritious grab-and-go pre-made meals, Dickerson told Hoodline. ”There will also be space for people who wish to dine in, and we’ll also have coffee and tea."
Dickerson's menu—prepared by chef Philip Le—will focus on the keto diet, which involves high-fat, high-protein foods and minimizes carbohydrate intake. Customers who visit the future facility can expect offerings like pizza with zucchini crust, fried veggie cauliflower rice and bacon-wrapped asparagus.
Dickerson has also partnered with Yvonne Hines of Yvonne’s Southern Sweets for keto-friendly treats, including double chocolate muffins and peanut butter cookies.
Those are just examples, but all of the food served will be based on the customer's regimen, Dickerson noted. Prices per meal will range from $8-$12.
She recently tested the menu to her friends and clients by catering small events. People who have tried the menu seem to like it, and she said that folks who have stuck to it have seen results in weight loss and overall health.
As she continues to work with the city to bring the building up to code, Dickerson said she hopes to train up to four clients simultaneously in the rear of the building. U3Fit will also target clients who are undergoing physical therapy, so there will also be an ADA-accessible restroom.
“Adding a personal touch is important to me," said Dickerson. “I want to make sure that I’m being attentive to my clients, which is why I’m keeping the in-house training element intimate. I also want to make sure I’m affordable.”
Dickerson hasn't revealed pricing yet on her personal training classes at the new facility, but pricing for her services can be found on her website.
U3Fit’s training center was expected to open in late August of this year, but there have been minor delays due to construction. However, Dickerson said her expansion to Third Street is “still a go.”