Our Story

The Underground Lab is not your ordinary gym.

In fact, there’s nothing ordinary about us at all!

Sure, we can put you through fat-blasting workouts. We can help you build those biceps and shed the unwanted weight. 

But we know you can get that at almost any gym with the right programming.

The Underground Lab is different.  

We’re more than a gym.

We’re a Movement.

In the Beginning 

Before the Underground Lab existed, Fernando Rodriguez, the founder of our little fitness facility, was a full-time Strength and Conditioning Coach.  He had a passion for all things fitness and was always looking to push the envelope in his training!
 But deep in his heart, Fernando had a special mission.  He wanted to give back.   You see, Fernando has an incredibly loving and supportive family.  But when they first moved from Mexico to Lawrence, they didn’t have a lot of money.  
Every year around the holidays, a group of people would come to the Rodriguez house and leave them gifts – bikes, toys, clothing and even holiday meals! Fernando grew up seeing the incredible generosity of total strangers!  
It wasn’t until years later that Fernando learned that those strangers were part of a non-profit group that provided holiday cheer to families in need.  And it became ingrained in his heart that he would repay that generosity some day.
Since Fernando was passionate about fitness, he decided to give back to his community through the method he knew best – giving free training to help people become healthier and stronger versions of themselves.
   So after working his normal shifts at work, he would meet at parks, tracks or other community spots to lead the FIRST bootcamp style workout in town!ugl3
But there was a tiny catch.
   In order to be part of one of Fernando’s free training groups, you had to meet the following requirements.
And these were non-negotiable.
   1. You had to have a positive attitude and contagious and supportive energy. 
   2. You had to be willing to work.
You didn’t have to be the fastest or strongest, but you had to be willing to give your best effort. Slackers, energy suckers, and motivation killers were simply not allowed.
ugl2 If you were able to meet those requirements, you were able to train with the exclusive group. 
In 2008, the founding year, the group went from 3 people to 5 to 10 to over 30 loyal individuals that were ready to show up with positivity and energy.
And even though people loved these workouts, the loyal members were VERY protective of their group.
They had such strong support in each other that they didn’t want just anyone joining.
It wasn’t about getting more people to join the group – it was about bringing in only the best and most motivated people to join the exclusive training.
ugl4 And because these loyal members were protective of who could join their community, they started referring to their training sessions as “underground sessions.”
They wanted to keep their operations secret to protect the integrity of what they had.
These underground sessions were based on creative and energetic workouts.  In order to keep the workouts varied and progressive, some of the training sessions were moved into Fernando’s personal garage.
Here, Fernando coached clients using a research-based program that incorporated strength, power, and endurance.
Fernando’s garage became his own laboratory for implementing the newest, research-based training programs.
And those loyal members started referring to that garage as The Lab.
It was here in The Lab that Fernando created the SPE system that is now the foundation for all training at our beloved fitness studio.
The Underground Lab name wasn’t born from a book, website, or even Fernando’s creative mind. It was born from our Original Gangsta members of our incredible Nation that allowed us to even open our doors.
And to honor the loyal and exclusive memberships of the OGs, our fitness studio was named THE UNDERGROUND LAB.

More Than Just a Gym

But just like I said earlier, even though we had an official name and studio – we still weren’t anything ordinary.

Because the UGL Nation is about community first.  

We celebrated holidays together as a family…


We attacked the Warrior Dashes and Tough Mudder Races together as a TRIBE.


And we opened up our Da’Root bootcamp workouts to the entire Lawrence community – bringing all of our friends and families to train with us! 


Over the next 6 years of the Underground Lab, those Da’Root camps grew into MASSIVE community workouts!

Workouts with HUNDREDS of Undergrounders and their loved ones all in one place – encouraging each other, pushing their own limits and always having fun! 


They became huge family celebrations so we just had to start bringing in our own DJ to match the true energy of our incredible Nation! 


And just like any true family, we also cared about the kids. 


We started programming for all the children in our entire Nation.

 Not only could they come learn the basics of training,


but they could also play at our UGL Summer Camp,

or workout with their parents —


– learning the true value of health and fitness!   

And as the years continued and the UGL Nation grew – we expanded our studio


and made our NATION EVENTS even bigger and more vibrant!  

The Halloween Black Light party of 2015 was one for the record books –


But the 2011 Reindeer Games is still one of the top favorite memories of many! 


But as awesome as these events are, our Nation isn’t just in it for the fun and games. 

When someone in our Nation suffered a tragedy, our Nation was right there.  

From memorial workouts of true Undergrounders lost to tragedy or fundraisers to help with medical treatments for one of our very own –

The Underground Lab Nation is always there to support. 


And sure – we do things big.  

We love hanging out with the hundreds of family members in our NATION.

But we still focus on the health and fitness.  

Every year, we do transformation challenges where winners can lose fat and gain cash!

In 2018 We had over 35 people loose minimum of 20lbs in 42 days! 




Day Challenge of 2013 – we had over 20 TEAMS join the challenge.  

Or the Dirty 30 Challenge of 2016 filled with the funky-freshest workouts you’ve ever seen!


But the most favorite (and new annual program) was the Little Black Dress Project! After 6 weeks of hardcore training, our UGL WOMEN went out on the town for an unforgettable night in their little black dresses! 


And although we’re known for our community events and challenges – we truly want our Underground Nation to grow.  

So we bring in our favorite experts and hold Nutrition Seminars,

And healthy cooking workshops,

And even beauty seminars 


– because health isn’t just about your muscles.  

And in order to keep our Nation moving forward in their fitness goals,

we started celebrating BENCHMARKS!

The last week of every quarter, all of our members MAX OUT out on the big bang exercises to see and track our progress! 

It’s a time of huge support, lots of cheers and about a million hugs and high-fives!


The LAB Nation isn’t one you can forget.

We’ve even had coaches – who started with the Lab – move away to continue training in other states.  But because the Underground Lab Nation blood runs deep, they still come back to our little slice of paradise to give seminars and workshops and stay a part of the Lab Nation!


Here are the Underground Lab

We’re more than a gym.  

We might be packed with the coolest, cutting-edge toys…


And we can certainly help you build your muscles..


And yes, we’re known for shrinking waists and slimming folks down…


But that’s not all we do.

We’re also a source of therapy…


And a place of encouragement…


From beginners in fitness

To elite athletes


Our mission is to bring health and happiness into the lives of our entire Nation.

To be the loving place for families to grow


And the happy home where friendships develop


Where every person can learn to challenge their limits, overcome plateaus and grow to be happier and healthier people.


Here at the Lab 

We play together –


We learn together –


And we train together –


because that’s what makes us family.

So no – we’re not your ordinary gym.  

We’re not even a gym.  

We’re the Underground Lab Nation.