The Shape of Things
When a person thinks of ‘working out,’ what typically comes to mind first are the grueling physical challenges the body goes through.
However, Steve Tryon says many personal trainers at gyms today are missing a key piece of the puzzle: the mental and spiritual side of training.
This is what he and co-owner Anna Dichner try to bring to Body Fit Warehouse, a holistic lifestyle and fitness gym in Southwick.
When Tryon first started working at the gym years ago, he had no idea he would one day be buying and co-owning the facility with Dichner, his girlfriend he met seven years ago. The two have since completely transformed their own values, which they remember every day in order to give members the best training possible.
“We rebuilt the whole foundation from scratch to show people that it’s not about how you look, it’s not about how strong you are… it’s about everything else you’re able to do in the rest of your life,” said Tryon, adding that, when the couple bought the gym in February 2018, there were a lot of things that needed to be changed. “The trainers and other practitioners that were here, they weren’t looking at things from a holistic standpoint.”
He’s talking about the importance of addressing what is going on inside people’s minds before the body gets to work.
Dichner added that a key element to how successful they have been with the business so far is how they approach identifying what may be going on in a person’s life outside of the gym, and how they can help fix the problem.
“I always ask every one of my clients, ‘how was your day?’ or ‘how are you feeling?’ because that will dictate the workout and the type of session we’re going to have,” she said.
Tryon and Dichner are the only two trainers in the gym, with 130 regular members paying a monthly fee and 40 to 50 people going through classes each week. Even with this high volume, the two manage to spend one-on-one time with a significant number of their members, while still keeping their focus on supporting a holistic lifestyle for each individual who walks through the door.
More Than Muscle Power
Using an individual approach like the one Tryon and Dichner describe sounds like it might break the bank, but the gym gives members and visitors plenty of options when it comes to finding the right fit for them.
“When we came in, we established right off the bat that we’re going to bring a loving atmosphere to the place to show people that we’re about growth,” said Tryon, adding that he will custom-match anyone who comes through the door. “If you have $5, I’ll train you for $5. We don’t care about how much money you pay, we don’t care about how much you’re capable of or this or that. We just want to show you that we want to grow with you, not just train you and make money from you.”
The 24/7 facility offers a no-contract membership, which means people can pay on a month-to-month basis for a rate of $24.95. The gym also allows drop-ins for $10 a class, and $5 simply to use the facility. The two run about 20 group training sessions a week, and these are not your average gym classes.
Dichner says how many people show up and what kind of energy they give off during the warm-up dictates the type of movements they will do for the day, adding that it is very difficult to plan workouts in advance when she doesn’t know how members will be feeling when they walk through the door.
“We don’t stick to any strict guidelines,” she said. “The holistic practice is, we have to take everything into consideration. If one thing is off, everything is off.”
This “structureless” system, as Tryon calls it, allows the trainers to assess how someone is feeling right off the bat, giving them the ability to create the best training session as possible.
And he says the results are astounding.
The two explained that they have completely different training styles, giving members more options when it comes to choosing how they want to approach a workout.
Both Dichner and Tryon are certified personal trainers, but they credit their ability to get results not to their certifications, but to the experiences they’ve gained throughout their lives. In fact, Dichner says she hardly remembers anything from her certification.
“Once I started training myself and going through trial and error, that’s when I learned the most,” she said. “There’s so much that you learn through hands-on experience.”
This experience has led to a facility with a completely different mindset about fitness, and Dichner and Tryon have big plans for the future.
“We want to bring it to its full potential,” said Dichner, adding that she hopes they can one day open a much bigger facility with fields and other elements. “The vision keeps changing.”
For now, the couple say helping people grow is the best part of their business. The excitement of not knowing what’s going to happen next helps them stick to their values and continue to give people the best training possible.
“I love seeing people’s attitudes and mindsets change through the training and me helping them,” said Dichner.
“We’re really just enjoying the ride, without a doubt,” added Tryon. “We took it from a gym to a garden.”
Kayla Ebner can be reached at [email protected]