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GREENWOOD Dist.–Reggie Cooper grew up in deep, North Tulsa, all the way to the rural roads of Turley. For most of his childhood, he never ventured south of Pine and Peoria. Growing up in an under-resourced community, Cooper found peace powerlifting. It’s a reputation he built that would eventually elevate him to become owner of a gym on Black Wall Street.
“It’s like meditation. I can have all the problems in the world, but I go to the gym, I’m in paradise. I’m happy. It’s a whole other world for me,” Reggie Cooper, owner of The Muscle Squad gym, told The Black Wall Street Times.
Located on 130 N. Greenwood Ave. in the heart of Black Wall Street, Cooper serves up training sessions with a side of supplements.
Recently, The Muscle Squad gym partnered with another staple in Greenwood, the Black Wall Street Liquid Lounge. Together, the two businesses are moving in the spirit of entrepreneurial ancestors on the soil they cultivated over a century ago.
Combining coffee drinks from Liquid Lounge with Muscle Squad Gym’s own personally crafted protein supplements, they offer a drink that packs a punch for anyone on the go.
“You might be down there working at your job, and on your lunch break, you come here and get a quick workout in,” Cooper said.
As a father of two kids, Cooper said he doesn’t just want to cultivate community for active entrepreneurs and local residents, he wants to establish a legacy for his family and the town that goes beyond the streets of Tulsa. Describing his childhood as “rough,” Cooper said he sees himself in the kids he mentors today.
“They’re looking for an outlet. They’re looking for someone who cares.”
Brewing coffee and curl bars on Black Wall Street
When Muscogee (Creek) Freedmen citizens who had land allotments partnered with other Black entrepreneurs moving into Indian Territory, the beams of Black Wall Street were born.
In a spirit of true Ujamaa, or cooperative economics, men and women worked together to create something bigger than themselves–Historic Greenwood District.
A city-sanctioned and state-sanctioned White mob of civilians and guardsmen burned, bombed, shot and temporarily enslaved survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
As survivors of the 102-year-old racial domestic terrorist attack wait for the Oklahoma Supreme Court to weigh in on their case, local business owners are keeping the spirit of Greenwood alive on a daily basis.
Whether you’re an active athlete or a soccer mom, Muscle Squad gym says they have a place for you. Their new partnership with Liquid Lounge provides a creative twist for any busy downtowner.
“Muscle Squad makes their own protein. So, we use the protein here to add to coffee shots so people can cut down on sugar,” Kode Ransom, owner of the Liquid Lounge, told The Black Wall Street Times.
Ransom said the protein will also be added to oatmeal sold by Liquid Lounge coming this fall. On a random day when Cooper walked in to his shop, Ransom said he was curious about adding the protein to his drinks, so he became the first test dummy.
“I’m one of those people that add a lot of cream and sugar to coffee. So, just one shot of that [protein] and I didn’t have to add anything to it,” Ransom said.
“Here to serve the community”
When asked what the typical first day for a newcomer at Muscle Squad gym might be like, Cooper said you will meet “nice Reggie.” You won’t see him pushing you hard until after he understands your level of ability.
“I don’t judge nobody. I need to know that your form is correct; I need to know that your movement is correct, that you’re doing the correct weight,” Cooper said.
He offers one-on-one training and small groups, making it less intimidating for less experienced weight lifters. He also offers meal prep and personally crafted supplements.
From the streets of deep, North Tulsa to the gravel of Greenwood’s famous Black Wall Street, Cooper said he’s grateful for how far he’s come.
“It means the world to me. It’s bigger than my brand. I’m here to serve the community,” Cooper said.
Ultimately, Cooper can’t help you if you don’t know he’s there.
“There’s a gym on Black Wall Street, and we’re doing some good things here.”
To learn more, visit The Muscle Squad Gym at https://themusclesquad.com/ or on Instagram at @themusclesquad.