Check out our first local press piece in the Somerville Journal.
“Big on Fitness, Low on Cost” by Auditi Guha (Sept 19, 2009)
There’s a new gym on Somerville Avenue that offers folks new options to get healthy — with a difference. Begun by two women entrepreneurs who have left the corporate fitness world, The Training Room offers a small gym at your own time, pace and cost.
There are no membership fees or contracts, and you can just walk into a class be it gym, spinning or personal training. An online schedule allows you to book ahead and reserve your space in a class or purchase training and class packages at any time.
“We are an a la carte facility,” said Heidi Brown, co-owner of the business. “There’s no waiting, and workouts will be structured for you. Just come with an open mind and be ready to work hard.”
“You can choose what you want to do, when you want to do it,” added co-owner Maren Kravitz. “Every person is different. That’s why we create programs that are tailored to individual minds and bodies.”
Because of the personal aspect, the flexibility and the accountability offered, its success rate is already much higher than regular gyms where client attendance is concerned, the owners said. Open only two months, trainers boast a stream of regulars who have never stopped coming since their first visit.
“Usually when people come in to take a class, they come back,” said Kravitz, who has more than 20 active clients at this time.
Somerville resident Martin Caron was a prior client who followed Kravitz to The Training Room, and said personal training here is very different from what it was for him at Boston Sports Club.
“You get more personalized training and unlike BSC, it is not rushed,” he said. “The trainers there are excellent and have great experience, even though they are very young.”
Kravitz has helped Caron with triathlon training and strength training, having run eight marathons in the past six years. She currently competes in duathalons.
Living in Somerville for the past few years, Kravitz is an avid runner and cyclist and has coached tennis for many years.
Cambridge resident Brown is originally from Boise, Idaho. She has worked as a personal trainer, cycling instructor, group exercise coordinator and fitness service manager, with a background in competitive basketball, volleyball and track.
The two women have worked together for years as personal trainers in corporate gyms. Kravitz said she always wanted to open her own fitness business — so she did.
As personal trainers at big gyms, both noticed that their clients came in for personal service, but did not often use the gym outside of their sessions, even though they paid a membership fee. They found that folks often joined a gym hooked in by a marketing gimmick and ended up getting stuck in a contract. Either way, it leads to a waste of money.
Personal trainer and fitness instructor Lauren Perreault pointed out that The Training Room is not just a great option for new residents or folks looking to try a gym for the first time, it’s a great option for folk in the down economy. “In this economy, people are not going to waste money for stuff they won’t use,” she said.
They currently have six people on staff, four of whom live in Somerville. This includes four personal trainers, all of whom are certified with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
The Training Room offers a free 30-minute needs analysis and postural assessment. It offers personal training from $90 per hour for individual attention to $32 per hour for one six-person group training session.
“I feel that personal training needs to be geared to individual lives and bodies,” Kravitz said. “We offer the benefits of personal training without the costs. But it’s definitely not a place for people who just want to work out.”
Personal training is certainly popular, but they also offer indoor cycling, yoga and a boot camp workout at $12 for one class, $66 for six classes or $120 for 12 classes.
The current monthly special offer includes a five-week cross-training class Saturdays at 10 a.m., combining 30 minutes of spinning with 30 minutes of metabolic circuit training in the weight area for $15. Reservations can be made online.
“We are going to try to offer more cross-training classes during the week since they are going over so well and get the clients to hit all the aspects of fitness in one workout,” Kravitz said.
There are yoga studios and spin classes that are contract-free or fee-free, but the owners think they are the only one in the area offering a full-service gym.
“Our classes are unique and different from what other gyms offer,” said Perreault who enjoys triathlons, cycling and swimming. “I love how personal it is. Everyone knows who you are when you walk in the door.”
The Training Room is near Porter Square at the corner of Elm Street and Somerville Avenue, and boasts a Shepard Fairey mural in the small parking lot. Walk in and you find a wide 2,400-square-foot space with bright orange walls, minimalist but with some of the latest equipment, a shower room and big windows for lots of natural light. It was designed and built by the owners and their family.
Kravitz believes in having more open space and building exercise regimens that do not require daily use of heavy equipment so clients can practice at home or at work. Many of their clients are busy travelers and check in with their trainers only once in a while, she said.
“It’s great that local residents now have a non-contractual and non-membership based fitness option,” said Joe Grafton from Somerville Local First. “By choosing not to implement of the often-maligned membership commitment most gyms employ, The Training Room demonstrates the thoughtfulness that local independents put into their business.
“Maren and Heidi are broadening the access to health and wellness services to community members from all economic backgrounds,” he said.
You can find them online at www.thetrainingroomboston.com. You can also follow them on their blog, Twitter and Facebook.