For John Glynn and his staff, Fitness Fusion isn’t just a name – it’s a culture that was established along with the Easthampton-based business in 2012, when Glynn decided he wanted to fuse exercise and, well, fun.
Located on the first floor of the massive Paragon Arts and Industry Building (150 Pleasant St.), Fitness Fusion has seen a steady rise in membership over the past two years. But what keeps clients coming back when there are hundreds of fitness studios to choose from in the area? Glynn, the owner and head trainer at Fitness Fusion, says the answer lies in his studio’s unique holistic approach to group and personal training.
“We offer specialized workouts that get you in shape safely and effectively,” he told HCN. “What makes us different from other places is the amount of customization and attention to detail we give to each person. We want to make sure everyone is using the correct form when they’re training with us to prevent injuries and improve their results.”
Unlike many gyms and fitness centers, where members receive little instruction and support from trainers, Fitness Fusion offers group and one-on-one sessions centered around its clients. Maintaining proper technique is a major emphasis to help members maximize their results, a feat that is sometimes difficult to achieve during solo exercises. When fatigue sets in, it’s often easier to abandon form and begin to cheat, but Fitness Fusion’s trainers are always there to keep members focused on the details.
“Our trainers know all of our members and what their strengths and weaknesses are,” Glynn said. “They know how to push them when they need it, but they also know how to hold them back when it’s necessary. It’s all about building relationships. People want to work out if they know it’s going to be fun and they have a good relationship with the trainers.”
The one-on-one sessions (ranging from $45 to $60 per hour) help clients identify their individual strengths and weaknesses. From a high-school athlete looking to improve his speed and agility to an elderly woman rehabbing an injury, one-on-one sessions are dedicated to helping each client achieve his or her goals. There is no pressure or lofty expectations to reach a certain standard, and trainers don’t operate with the intense ‘fitness boot camp’ mentality that some gyms have adopted. Since every person has different limitations and previous injuries, Glynn doesn’t believe in the one-size-fits-all approach to fitness, instead focusing on custom programs with specialized goals. Balancing the muscle groups, stretching, and corrective exercises are all major focal points of the one-on-one programs.
Meanwhile, group-training sessions ($109 per month, with unlimited classes) are a popular choice for members looking to work out in a supportive team environment, serving between 10 and 20 clients per session. Regardless of the format — one-on-one or group — staff members are committed to taking their time to demonstrate the proper practices before and during workouts, as many injuries sustained during exercises can be prevented with just a few extra minutes of stretching.
“It’s so important to make sure you’re working out the right way,” Glynn added. “We always try to help people with their technique, because if you don’t have the right form when you exercise, you’re not going to get the results you hoped for.”
Fitness Made Fun
There is far more to exercise than simply toning the body — otherwise, we’d be hefting rocks around a quarry for a few hours each day, with some light stretching in between, no membership fee required. But people want to get in shape through fun, stimulating exercises, a fact Glynn hasn’t forgotten since starting his business.
He told HCN he didn’t want to open yet another big-box gym that collects membership fees and dispatches clients to the endless rows of treadmills, where they often receive little to no personal instruction and feedback. Instead, he envisioned a studio that utilizes creative workouts and teamwork to keep members challenged and entertained.
Often employing tires, ropes, sandbells, medicine balls, and other equipment in workouts, Glynn has devised a number of unique exercises that people won’t find anywhere else.
From balancing and flipping tires to manipulating ropes, there’s always a new workout to try at Fitness Fusion. Though many of them are unconventional, they’re often more effective than standard routines — and they’re certainly a lot more exciting than reps of situps and pushups.
For some members, anticipating the next alternative exercise is all part of the fun.
“When you enjoy working out, you come up with creative ways to do it,” Glynn said. “We love to take existing workouts and put new spins on them. A lot of times, we take a workout that’s pretty popular and create something slightly different out of it.”
His goal when creating new workouts is to target as many muscle groups as possible. Even the most cursory of anatomy studies will reveal muscles most people have never heard of, many of which are located in the all-important core of the body. For the Fitness Fusion staff, it’s a priority to educate members on new workouts and their benefits.
“I believe fitness should help people get results and increase health, but it should also give our members options,” Glynn said. “Sometimes people will go to the gym and won’t know what to do or if they’re doing certain exercises correctly. We want to give them choices and stress the education behind the fitness.”
At the rate Fitness Fusion has gained new members, Glynn knew his original setup from opening day in April 2012 wouldn’t be sufficient. And as a result, he recently invested $30,000 in a new workout room and the acquisition of advanced exercise equipment, an undertaking that was completed two months ago, just in time for the summer rush of new members hoping to get in shape after a long, cold winter.
“I knew I needed more room because of the growing membership, but I also wanted to offer more diversity in terms of workout options,” said Glynn, who is certified with the National Strength and Conditioning Assoc. and has eight years under his belt as a personal trainer. “The new gym will accommodate more people and give our members different options.”
Featuring new treadmills, elliptical machines, cable equipment, and a rower, the added space has become a cardio workout hotspot for members. Meanwhile, the existing room continues to serve as a hub for weightlifting and functional training. To keep members feeling fresh and energized, group workouts are redesigned each month, and all members (group and one-on-one participants) are welcome to attend open gym sessions as well.
“It’s important to change it up and always bring new exercises into the mix,” Glynn said.
When a new member steps through Fitness Fusion’s doors, it’s usually due to one of two reasons, Glynn said: reputation and location. He and his staff have put together an intriguing business plan, right down to the location of the studio in the heart of Easthampton.
Indeed, Glynn has enjoyed working in the Paragon Arts and Industry Building, where business owners promote each other and let their customers know about other opportunities in the building.
“It’s great to own your own business here — you get to know a lot of good people and help members achieve their goals,” he explained. “I try to help out the other businesses and mention them as much as I can. There are a lot of artists upstairs, and I think everyone does what they can to help each other out.”
Sweating the Details
Glynn said he has considered opening a second location if membership continues to grow in the coming years.
But right now, he remains focused on adding more members and staff. He’s hoping to hire two full-time trainers in the next few months to handle the boom in business. In the past year, he has seen a major spike in high-school and college athletes taking advantage of the studio’s sports-training programs. The company also provides its members with education in proper nutrition to augment the hard work they do in the gym.
The business plan keeps changing, and out of necessity. That’s because there is seemingly no limit on business opportunities when you fuse fitness with fun.