Force Meets Flex at Arrichion

The East Raleigh fitness concept combines hot yoga and strength training with a space and staff where everyone feels welcome and supported.
by Finn Cohen | photography by Taylor McDonald

Stepping into Arrichion East Raleigh, a hot yoga and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) gym in the Gateway Plaza shopping center, you can tell that folks have been through the ringer. A good gym activates endorphins through some mild to moderate suffering. Arrichion doesn’t stink, but heat plus vigorous movement have left the sense that people have been sweating in here. 

Arrichion’s bright, welcoming storefront is divided into two rooms. One is lit by the floor-to-ceiling windows and full of wooden cubes for box jumps, free weights and barbells, with numbers taped to different sections of the room to indicate which exercises are done during circuit classes. The other is a dark, hot room where the yoga classes are held, at temperatures up to a very toasty 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrichion — named after a Greek Olympian who died in 564 BC — is a gym concept with five locations that was started in 2009 by siblings Quinn and Ty Reynolds. The two grew up in Greensboro, part of an athletic family. Quinn played semiprofessional soccer starting at age 16 for the Greensboro Twisters and at the University of Illinois in the mid-2000s. Ty, one of the top high school wrestlers in the U.S. in 1998 who went on to compete at North Carolina State University, came up with the strength-training half of the concept. Ty and their brother Clay wrestled at High Point Central High School, and their father Larry, also a former wrestler, coached his two sons in high school.

The Reynolds family runs the four locations in North Carolina — Gateway Plaza and Brier Creek (the first to open) in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte — and one in Salt Lake City, where Quinn now lives. (The East Raleigh and Durham locations are franchises, and the family owns the corporate entity.)

The basic premise behind the gym is combining flexibility and cardiovascular health (through the hot yoga) with circuit training. But rather than pushing clients through a competitive rubric, the overall goal is to create a space where any age, fitness level or body type feels welcome. 

The East Raleigh location is a prime example. Each of its three owners come from very different backgrounds. Bishop Daniels wrestled in high school and college before becoming a preschool and kindergarten teacher; Shannon Trantas is a licensed pharmacist who found her way to Arrichion when she needed some time away from the pressures of being a working mother; Liz Weeks is a full-time nutritionist for the state of North Carolina, conducting oversight of federal funding for nutrition at child and adult daycare centers.

The avenues they each navigated to end up running a gym like this also reflects a certain practicality toward their approach, which is meant to remove some of the stigmas around yoga. 

“One of our sayings is, leave your om at home,” says Bishop. “It’s hot! Your physical being is being challenged, but you’re mentally being challenged as well. We work on our breathing, but there’s no chanting.”

“I’m not going to say, go into uttanasana — I’m going to explain the pose and talk you through how to move your body to get there,” says Weeks. But that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, she adds: “You’re gonna come out looking like we dumped a swimming pool in the yoga room.”

Aside from the normal challenges of running any business, the East Raleigh owners faced an uphill battle when they opened in September 2020, five months after their initially scheduled launch. Gyms had been shut down, vaccines were not available and cleaning protocols were unclear. Offering hot yoga and intense weight training for people who were supposed to stand 6 feet apart and wear masks — while breathing extremely hard — was a tough sell. “Recommendations would change all the time,” says Weeks. “It was challenging trying to implement those regulations and also respect the privacy of our clients.” 

It took a couple years of reduced classes (instead of 35 people in the yoga room, they allowed 15 to 18) to get the East Raleigh business to something resembling a normal gym. The schedule now has nine classes throughout the week, ranging from slower heated yoga classes to Olympic weightlifting and combinations in between. It’s meant to offer multiple levels of exercise that can appeal to a broad clientele.

Today, the owners say they’ve built a varied community, with clients that range from track athletes in peak form from nearby St. Augustine’s University to office workers trying to maintain their fitness. “One of the things our clients have said when they come in is that not everybody looks like typical yogis,” says Trantas. “We’ve got older folks, we’ve got younger folks; we’ve got really athletic folks, we’ve got non-athletic folks.”

“It’s not really a competitive environment as much — it’s more of an encouraging environment. It’s about your personal best and your personal growth, so it’s welcoming in that way,” says Brian Megilligan, 52, a data engineer consultant in Raleigh who started going with his wife in 2021. “CrossFit — I tried that for a while. I just found that to be more competitive in nature. And frankly, I wasn’t very good at a lot of those things. So I didn’t stick with that.”

“It makes you feel good — I like the energy that it gives you when you finish it,” says Michelle Keaton-Barrow, 61, a real estate agent in Garner who admitted that she had taken two classes there the day before. “I’ve taken some of my friends; some have come back, some have not. It’s not for everybody. But I would say you can start at any age.”

“Somebody will ask me what I do to work out, and I tell them, I do yoga — they look at me and tell me I’m lying,” says Daniels, whose physique is, on the surface, the result of some serious weightlifting. “Whether you’ve done yoga your whole life or you can’t touch your toes, we try to make it a little bit more accessible. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re least going to get a good sweat out of it.”


This article originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of WALTER magazine.