The new therapeutic facility strives to create a community that values wellness versus only fitness.
By Harshita Avirneni, Photos by Chris Olfers and Harshita Avirneni
Jessica Tranchina finds that although many Austinites are fit, they are not well. In her field of physical therapy, Tranchina regularly meets clients who are stressed, not sleeping well and suffering from anxiety. She dreamed of creating a place where people could improve their mental health alongside their physical health.
“Three years ago, I had a vision,” Tranchina says. “I was looking for this place for myself. I’m a triathlete. I’m a mom of three. I’m a physical therapist. I thought, ‘Why doesn’t this place exist where you can take a yoga class, take a core class and then go jump in a tub or put some boots on or go grab a massage?’ So, that’s what spawned the idea.”
Only in its fifth month, Generator Athlete Lab already has approximately 200 members and close to 500 clients. The facility specializes in performance, recovery and treatment, and offers multiple fitness classes, including yoga and high-intensity interval training, and classes focused on core, strength and mobility.
“As far as our fitness goes, what sets us apart is for each and every class, we move you into the other two planes of motion, frontal (left to right) and transverse (rotational), to help you become a 360-degree athlete,” says Tranchina, co-founder of Generator Athlete Lab. “This works to help with balance, stability, decreasing pain and balancing your muscles.”
The facility also has a special recovery and treatment labs. The recovery lab contains NormaTec compression technology, a full-spectrum infrared sauna, and cold and hot plunge pools. These tools work to decrease recovery time and flush lymphatic systems of toxins. The treatment lab offers massage therapy, fascial-stretch, acupuncture, cupping, scraping and taping treatments.
“We have a heavy emphasis on wellness,” Tranchina says. “These are all efficacy- and evidence-based tools and modalities that were designed by medical practitioners and doctors for people with true disease to help flush lymphatic systems that are full of toxins and byproducts. Those things can just make you feel icky. That is a tremendous difference between us and a different gym.”
Tranchina holds a doctorate degree in physical therapy from Boston University and is a certified kinesio-taping practitioner. She says Generator Athlete Lab creates a community and environment in which recovery and wellness are approachable instead of scary.
The facility is located inside the Seaholm Power Plant revitalized development in downtown Austin. Tranchina says it was difficult convincing the city’s Economic Development Department to let her use the space for the lab.
“When I found this space, I knew it would be amazing,” Tranchina says. “I have always admired the integrity of the building. It is so well-built and has great history. When I saw this amazing community space that we could build in the center of, I just had to have it.”
The department initially didn’t approve the facility because it was assumed the space would be used as a medical facility. Tranchina went to Austin City Hall to present the vision she had in mind and persistently fought for her dream until she convinced city officials to let her open the lab there.
To give back to the community, the lab hosts events offering free workouts, free fitness classes and even partners with local businesses to offer complimentary snacks. Generator Athlete Lab has exclusive rights to Sand Beach Park, which it utilizes for these free events.
“I love seeing current members helping out new folks and coaching them through their first cold plunge or telling them about the benefits they’ve experienced from their classes and sessions here,” assistant manager Kat Augostini says. “We have the best community at Generator, and we’ve been able to positively impact people’s health and athletic performance.”
While Tranchina still has big dreams for the facility, she already sees the positive change she was searching for.
“I think [Generator Athlete Lab] has already had the impact I was looking for,” Tranchina says. “I am beyond grateful that I’m not just making people happy, but making people well. As I look back on it, I have achieved exactly what I wanted to achieve. It’s happening and it’s so cool. It’s surreal.”