Gyms join forces to make workouts ‘more fun’

GRACIE CLAY, one of the owners of Downtown Yoga, leads a yoga session. The business is one of five joining forces to offer people “more fun” in their workouts and classes. By purchasing a FitPassClub membership, a person can visit any of the participating gyms. The program launches Oct. 1. (Photo by Randy Roberts / The Courier)


They could see each other as the competition — but instead, five area fitness establishments are joining forces to encourage people to get fit, no matter how and where they do it.

Anytime Fitness, CrossFit M2, Downtown Yoga, Hot Yoga Findlay and Z Pulse Fitness are teaming up in FitPassClub, which launches Oct. 1.

Michael Matthes, owner of CrossFit M2, said he got the idea after realizing that, in seven years of owning the gym, he’s seen it’s “fun and variety” that tends to get people to actually stick with fitness. Having more options means they will likely stick with their routine longer, and studies show that people who have “more fun during their workouts” stick with them longer, he said.

Users can buy a membership that allows them to go to each gym for workouts or classes up to four times a month. Matthes said it’s structured so that you can’t go to the same place every day — by having a limit in how many sessions you can have at each place, it will force you to go to different places and try different types of classes. Combined, the five facilities offer more than 80 classes a week. Matthes hopes to add more studios to the list down the road. A person doesn’t have to be a member at any of the five facilities to join FitPassClub.

“If you’re super strong but you don’t have any cardio” you’re not well rounded, and similarly, yoga may give you flexibility more than strength, he said.

CrossFit doesn’t offer yoga, and Matthes frequently meets clients who do not have the flexibility to do the movements they need to do to improve their strength and cardiovascular health. So going to yoga as well as to CrossFit will help them be more well rounded.

Matthes said he pitched the idea to other gyms and asked if they’d be interested. He encountered a lot of interest and said that, though it might seem that they’d be reluctant about the competition, he sees this as something different that is not “taking away from any of my members” at CrossFit. Some people will be drawn to joining one particular place, but many others want variety. And he said some who aren’t working out at all might be drawn to FitPassClub, as it gives them a chance to try many different things.

Matthes said he approached it from “an abundant mindset.” It isn’t that the other gyms are the competition but “If we help each other, we all succeed,” he said. After all, they’re all trying to help people get and stay healthy.

Matthes hopes in the future to expand into further fitness-related education for the community, such as owners of many different gyms collaborating on a podcast. He said it’s interesting to hear how different trainers all have different philosophies.

“All of it is obviously working, or they wouldn’t be in business,” he said.

Monica Copeland, one of the owners of Downtown Yoga, said she, too, approached it from a place of “we should all be supporting each other.” No one really is the “competition” and “We should all raise the bar and try to support one another… We just want people to be healthy.”

Copeland said “a lot of people have a particular mindset about yoga” — such as thinking you need to be flexible in order to start doing it, when in fact it’s doing yoga that makes you flexible.

“So we love the idea of getting people that would not necessarily ever think about doing yoga,” she said.

Her hope is that the FitPassClub gets people into her studio who might not otherwise visit.

Some people think yoga is “just for women” but a lot of the gurus are men, she said.

“Yoga is for everybody,” she said.

And while yoga has Hindu origins, “It is not a religion,” said Copeland, noting that she herself is a Christian.

She said Downtown Yoga is “excited” to be a part of something “very progressive in thinking” — the idea that people should just work to get healthy, taking that step toward health, regardless of whose door they take the step through.

Matthes said no matter what happens in your life, even if you’re having a bad day, “if you don’t have your health” nothing else matters.

“You can’t be a mom if you don’t have your health,” he said. “You can’t go to work if you don’t have your health… That’s all we have.”

Matthes said he would like to take 1 percent of FitPassClub’s profits and donate it to a cause to help address flooding in Findlay, although he was still trying to determine where. But he said it’s an issue that needs to be addressed and everyone in Findlay, regardless of where they work or live, has been affected in some way.

Plans vary depending on the number of sessions, from $39.95 for a three-session plan to $134.95 for a 20-session plan.

Anyone signing up for a 10- or 20-session plan also gets nutritional counseling and help with their “exercise planning strategy.” Matthes said this can be as simple as looking at your schedule and seeing where you might be able to make the time to work out — even if you think you don’t have the time.

In a written statement about it, Matthes wrote: “The equation for fitness results is simple: Variety equals fun, fun equals attendance, attendance equals results.”

He added: “Daily exercise enhances our lives, and we become happier, more fulfilled people because of it.”

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