I was 21 the first time I reluctantly stepped foot into a health club. A very close friend had taken a job at a small Nautilus gym and was excited to show me her new place of employment. Prior to going to visit her at the club, I had actually been afraid of the gym scene. During high school and college I was pretty much a "band geek" and I was sure that fitness was not for me. However, a serious knee injury during my freshman year of college showed me the importance of exercise; had I been in better shape, my injury would have been significantly less impactful to my life, and my recovery time would have been much faster and easier. After the injury, I began working out on my own to strengthen my weak body, but was too shy to go work out in front of anyone else.
Visiting Jackie at the gym was incredibly daunting for me. I can remember the sense of dread as I pulled open the front door. But walking through that door was an incredible crossroads of my life. It was like Dorothy walking through her doorway from the black and white farmhouse to the technicolor Land of Oz.
I found myself mesmerized by the equipment. It looked so complicated, and yet I watched as person after person went to each station, seemingly effortlessly, improving the quality of their lives with each machine. The people looked energized and healthy. They were having fun, being social, and getting stronger and more fit. I knew at that moment that that was what I wanted. And oddly enough, I knew that someday I would also start my own fitness center.
Following this visit, I signed up for the gym and became a regular member. Then when life circumstances changed and I moved on to new things, I always made finding and joining a gym part of what I do. Although I was a bit shy to exercise in front of someone else at first, it quickly became easy and comfortable, and as I got in better shape, I felt my confidence increase. Going to the gym was not only what I did--it was who I am. By 1995, I was managing a 5-star resort's health club and spa (even though I honestly knew nothing about maintaining a pool). Out of necessity, I became certified in teaching all sorts of fitness activities (because instructors and trainers would often call in sick, and as manager, I would need to provide a last minute substitute activity). I later worked as a trainer at a YMCA. In the last 20 years, I have belonged to, taught or trained at, or managed more than twelve gyms--an amazing accomplishment for someone as shy as I am, who couldn't even step into a gym without feeling fear.
When I moved to Vermont in 2000, I was very excited to find many high-quality fitness centers. I quickly joined the staff at Fair Haven Fitness and then later the Gymnasium, where I taught for almost ten years. The call to have my own fitness center was quiet as I enjoyed teaching at these outstanding facilities. However, a recent turn of events has caused me to leave both gyms, and for the first time in 20 years, I no longer have a gym as my second home.
Sure, we have lots of fitness classes, training, and options at the Pyramid. But I have honestly missed the original Nautilus circuit that I fell in love with years ago. I miss the excitement of feeling like you are part of a group of people all wanting to be healthy at the same time in the same place. And so that call to have my own fitness center has returned--this time louder than ever. And this time I am listening!
Although I may be insane to do this in this relatively unstable economy, I have realized that now is the time to open a new fitness center! Through the generosity and help of many people, including the amazing Pyramid staff, we expect Pyramid Fitness and Oxygen Bar to open in early October.
Q: What makes Pyramid Fitness and Oxygen Bar so special?
A: Over the last three years, many of our clients have repeatedly asked us to create a membership-based fitness offering for the community beyond what we already offer. This facility will offer low-cost memberships where you can pick the exact level of membership you want. The equipment will be very high quality, featuring the Nautilus Nitro Plus circuit. Our hours will be convenient, as we will be open every day. The facility will be sparkling clean. It will be both air conditioned in summer and heated in winter. Although located on the second floor, we do have an elevator for those who need it. Most importantly, the facility will be staffed by the Pyramid team members you have come to know--and our customer service will be second to none.
We will also be the only health club in Rutland to feature a far-infrared sauna, and I believe we will be offering the only Oxygen Bar in Vermont.
Q: What is an oxygen bar?
A: Oxygen bars are very popular in other parts of the country, especially in California. These are gathering places that instead of offering alcohol offer concentrated oxygen infused with essential oils.
Q: What are the benefits of the oxygen bar?
A: Many athletes use oxygen before and after workouts to improve performance. However, everyone can benefit from using oxygen because it is believed to improve bodily function, increase energy, enhance sexual pleasure, support weight loss, detox, and improve sleep. Of course, we cannot and will not make any medical claims for the oxygen bar, but we believe that it will bring a big city service to Vermont that has otherwise always been lacking.
Q: Are there any negative effects from or contraindications to the oxygen bar?
A: This is actually a controversial question. Under proper management, an oxygen bar can be safe for almost anyone. However, the problem is that most places that have oxygen bars (like night clubs, airports, etc.) have no medical staff to supervise their use. Pure oxygen intake is actually harmful to people who have lung problems and other medical conditions. Our bar will feature a safe concentration of oxygen mixed with regular air and essential oils, and we will carefully limit the amount of time that people spend using it. In our carefully controlled environment, there will be no safety problems or negative effects.
Q: Is Pyramid Fitness located in your current Pyramid building?
A: No! We are opening a brand new facility in a separate building in downtown Rutland. It is within walking distance from our current location and close to lots of easy parking.
Q: Will you be closing the current location of the Pyramid?
A: No--this is just an expansion of our operations. Everything at the current Pyramid will continue to operate unchanged, including the Personal Fitness Center for those clients who will not feel comfortable working out in the open gym. Some of the classes will be moving to the new gym, but otherwise everything will continue as before. Of course, Pyramid Fitness members will receive special discounts on Pyramid services and massage.
Q: Will you be selling advance memberships?
A: Yes! Watch for announcements. Pre-membership specials will run later in September.
Q: What else is special about your new facility?
A: We will be widely expanding our fitness products and supplements, and new product lines will be available at the new location. We will also not use membership cards (a waste of resources!) but will use an electronic finger print capture to allow entry. Our facility is also going to be a true wellness club--our members will get to vote on which pieces of equipment we buy in the future, etc. We will have lots of holistic classes that are not usually offered in a health club. And we will also have a beautiful massage room in the facility for those who want an on-the-spot massage. And we hope to work with other area health clubs to offer joint special promotions and packages so that the community gets an incredible array of options. In short, there has never been a club like this in Rutland or anywhere!
Stay tuned for more information coming soon...