Gym teaches necessary skills for fitness
By Amanda Nalley
CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
Helping create a sculpted body is big business. Gym costs pile up; memberships go unused; and pounds reappear. "BodyTrac Health & Fitness" wants to break that cycle by offering personal training that's affordable and user friendly.
BodyTrac uses a method called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), which measures body fat and water composition to determine progress. Each client is given an initial health assessment. Changes are monitored based on the original information or baseline.
Co-owner and operations manager, Steve Wilkens', motto for the gym is accountability, expertise and motivation at an affordable cost. "We don't guarantee results," he said, "we guarantee to give the information and the skills to get there."
Clients attend one-hour scheduled sessions three times a week, spending a half hour on cardiovascular and a half hour using weights with a personal trainer.
Cost is kept low by pairing trainers with one to four people instead of one on one. "I've seen a lot of people that wanted a personal trainer but couldn't afford one," said Wilkens. "You get just as good a workout with a small session."
To compare: an average personal trainer costs about $300 to $450 per month or about $40 for a 45-minute session; at BodyTrac, memberships are $78 to $98 a month or about $7 a session, which includes 12 sessions.
Group training also offers clients the chance to form friendships. "One woman was having a tough time," Wilkens said. "She befriended one of her workout partners, and they'd go out and do things together. If you look at a larger gym, you won't see someone on a treadmill start up a conversation with someone next to them."
The gym membership also includes nutrition classes with a registered dietician, heart-rate monitors and optional therapeutic dry HydroMassage.
Wilkens said he bases his success not on money but on the clients’ satisfaction, which he sees as his best form of advertising. "A woman came in and was talking to me. I was telling her everything we do here," he said. "(A client) turned to her and said 'This could be one of the best things you've ever done.'"
A Tallahassee native, Wilkens has eight years of personal-trainer experience and is certified by the International Fitness Professionals Association and American College of Sports Medicine.
He co-owns the gym with his brother, Chris Alexander, who works as the business manager. "I enjoy fitness, but I'm not a personal trainer," Alexander said. "He and I complement each other."
Other than Wilkens, the gym has two certified trainers, Chervon Screen and Justin Patak, and is seeking more. The owners hope to open up two more Tallahassee gyms in the future.
"I like them as people," said client Julie Moss. "They are very positive, they are very personal. You go in there and you feel at home."
Originally published September 13, 2006 in the Northeast Chronicle of the Tallahassee Democrat