As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
As they enter the training circle at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
In 1998, after 25 years operating health clubs across Phoenix, Kelly Bruce jumped at the opportunity to open his own club, Fitness 1 Gym. Today, Fitness 1 has expanded to locations across Phoenix, each and every one helmed by Kelly and his sons Chad, Richard, and Bobby. “We don’t just own them,” Chad proudly says, “we run them and we’re in the clubs everyday.” The amenities are certainly attractive, but it seems that what has really made Fitness 1 successful is the Bruce's dedication to their family-run enterprise. “I think that our members feel at home,” says Bobby. “I think [they] realize that it’s not a show… they're coming in here to get to work, to get results.”
Members—who are not forced into long-term contracts—can do just that thanks to an array of cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and one-on-one personal training. The studio also offers members free fitness classes, such as Power Yoga, Chiseled, and Xplode—an interval-training class.