Information about the classes are written on the windows of The Trap Aug. 18, 2022 in Carbondale, Ill. (Saba Saboor Rooh Mofrad | @ssaboor_)
Information about the classes are written on the windows of The Trap Aug. 18, 2022 in Carbondale, Ill.

Saba Saboor Rooh Mofrad | @ssaboor_

The Trap offers a practical escape to become fit

August 26, 2022

Working out and reaching your fitness goals can sometimes feel like you are the metaphorical hamster running on the endless spinning wheel, or, even better, you are trying to free yourself from an inescapable maze. However, “The Trap” training facility, unlike its name, offers its clients the path of freedom to reach their fitness goals. 

The Trap Training Facility is run by the one-two punch of owners Johnathan Battle and Alyssa Sturgeon. Both attended Missouri Valley College and are undergraduate school sweethearts.

Battle earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, while Sturgeon earned a bachelor’s in sociology and minored in psychology. However, when Sturgeon decided she wanted to earn a master’s degree in social work back in Carbondale, Battle agreed to come with her and start a fitness gym in town. 


He began training out of the couple’s one-bedroom apartment, parks, client’s homes, or really anywhere we could train, Battle said.

The move to Carbondale would only motivate Battle to expand his passion into a future fitness franchise. The Trap moved to several locations on both East Main Street and West Main Street. However, it wasn’t until July 2021 that the business moved to perhaps one of the most popular areas in town, Illinois Street. 

Today, the business trains about 15 to 20 clients per day. 

In addition to personal training sessions, The Trap offers beginners boxing, yoga and 30 minute HIIT classes. However, their most popular attraction is the women’s Trap fitness classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Any newcomer to the women’s Trap fitness class will have their first session free of charge. 

“Anybody can join the class at any fitness level because we have an advanced version of each exercise and a modified version,” Battle said. 

Although The Trap is a black-owned business, both Battle and Sturgeon pride themselves on a wide range of clients. 

“It’s very diverse,” Battle said. “We have a variety of ethnic groups that come in. Black, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Filipino and Hispanic.”


Sturgeon points out that women are also a considerable part of their business diversity initiative. With yoga classes and women’s Trap fitness, promoting women’s health is a key goal of the business.

The couple said a bright spot of the business is its attention to being unique and its pride in Black and hip-hop culture.

The word Trap can mean different things to people. Generally, it’s synonymous with having no escape or exit. In urban communities across the country, people consider their systematically oppressed neighborhoods as a trap. In fact, it inspired a sub-genre of hip-hop entitled “Trap Music,” in which musicians voice their feelings about living in poverty-stricken predicaments and making a way out through songs. 

Battle being familiar with all of the above, has put a positive spin on it. 

“I just liked the name trap and came up with an acronym for it. T.R.A.P. stands for ‘transformation requires accepting the process,’” he said. “ I’m really trying to change the negative stigma of what a trap stands for and change people’s perception of it.” 

Unlike most gyms, The Trap’s mantra is to allow the trainers and clients to be themselves and not care what others will think. Some commercial gyms have a sameness in their sleek interiors. The Trap plays energetic hip-hop and Trap music tunes that further personify their desire not to sugarcoat their fitness facility. 

“If people see The Trap, they may not know who we are, what we do, or they don’t want to know who we are all together. But it goes back to us being true to ourselves,” Sturgeon said. 

The Trap is rapidly evolving, and the trainers do not plan to do the same things they currently do six months from now. 

Soon, The Trap plans to create a website to expand its presence in the community. It already has social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook. The Trap also will roll out online training for clients across the country. There are also plans for the business to expand to the Atlanta area. 

Battle intends for The Trap to be the best gym in Illinois and the best in the nation.

The owners promote a confidence and a feel-good story that runs through the facility.  

After receiving her master’s degree, Sturgeon worked at a middle school for two years and then decided she wanted to join Battle in training. She believes they’ve developed a training experience that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before,  

Reviews suggest customers agree. On Google, Stephanie V. said “Prompt on questions, very professional and really educated on nutrition and fitness. While Juanita R. said “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for The Trap.”

Staff reporter Mannie Henderson can be reached at [email protected].


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