Chandler residents Dwight and Adrina Lavender recently opened The Exercise Coach, a high-tech fitness “smart-gym” in Gilbert.
Although neither one has a background in exercise science, they plan to open a second franchise location in Ahwatukee in spring 2021.
“I decided to launch an Exercise Coach franchise because I’ve always enjoyed helping individuals and organizations reach their goals and I find I make a great coach, both personally and professionally,” Dwight said.
“In addition, I had a good friend who passed away at 46 years old from a heart attack. I love the Exercise Coach’s approach to fitness in catering to people who, like my friend, don’t find themselves in a traditional gym environment. Just like my friend, I find many people are not motivated by traditional fitness and personal training strategies, and as a result, are simply not taking care of themselves on a regular basis.”
The Exercise Coach was founded in 2000 and began franchising in 2011. It currently has approximately 70 studios nationwide.
The Exercise Coach is at 1166 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 104.
Dwight’s last corporate role was head of field human resources for Sprint Corp. He also provides leadership and HR consulting and tutors elementary school-aged children in computer coding, English, math and study skills. He said he planned to continue tutoring in his spare time while operating his new business.
Adrina will keep her full-time job as a senior operations leader for Amazon.com while helping market and develop the franchise.
The Gilbert Sun News asked Dwight about the new business.
Q: Why did you choose Gilbert for your first location?
A: “We live in Chandler, but chose Gilbert as our first location because of the strong infrastructure here, the wonderful people, the continued economic growth, our great location in the Gilbert Town Square shopping center and the incredible opportunity to be a part of this diverse and thriving community.”
Q: The company states it targets 50 and over consumers but Gilbert is generally a young family community.
A: Actually, The Exercise Coach caters to several demographic groups:
Busy professionals who don’t have time to work out five to seven days per week for an hour each time;
People over age 40, not necessarily over age 50;
People with existing injuries who don’t want them to be made worse by traditional equipment;
People who don’t like the “meat market” aspect of traditional gyms – more like a dating service;
People who don’t enjoy working out or are overwhelmed by the machines – don’t work out often and don’t know how much weight to use, etc.
Q: Who is typical consumer at this location?
A: “Approximately 80 percent of our clients are over the age of 45 and 61 percent of them are over 55.”
Q: So each member is overseen by a coach for a one-to-one session each time?
A: “There are two options available and they are priced accordingly. Each member is overseen by a coach for one-on-one sessions each time or if a member opts for group training sessions, a trainer directly assists no more than four members per session. In the group training sessions, all members are simultaneously working out on different pieces of equipment so no one is stuck waiting while equipment is in use.”
Q: The Exercise Coach touts two, 20-minute workout sessions a week yet medical experts advise a goal of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week. So how effective is the gym?
A: “In 2014, Brian Cygan, The Exercise Coach’s founder and CEO acquired Exerbotics high-tech computerized machines that replaced weight stacks with electromagnetic resistance. When new members join our fitness centers, they receive a unique code.
“When the trainer plugs in the code, the client’s workout adjusts to the client’s strengths and weaknesses in real-time. If the client does well in one session, the machine remembers and makes the movement harder for him or her the next time.
“So, clients are constantly being challenged and literally compete against themselves. Because the workouts are optimized and customized to each client, no time is wasted and the risk of injury is decreased versus the “one size fits all” approach with traditional gym equipment.
“This program is based on building up ‘type-two muscle fibers,’ which weaken as people age. These workouts provide muscle quality over muscle movement. The Exercise Coach combines bioadaptive exercise technology with the guidance of certified coaches.
“This data-driven equipment provides real-time digital feedback with computer-controlled resistance. The Exercise Coach offers highly personalized programs resulting in only two 20-minute workouts per week and can’t be matched in effectiveness with even seven days a week of traditional exercise.”
Q: How does the gym accommodate those with physical limitations?
A: “One way The Exercise Coach accommodates people with physical limitations is built into the Exerbotics equipment itself. When new clients first arrive at The Exercise Coach, they do a strengths assessment and a range of motion test.
“The machines then use this data to create a baseline for each client. The machines will not exceed a safe, but challenging resistance mathematically determined for each client. This takes the guesswork out of deciding how much weight to use, as the machines themselves are hydraulic – there are no weights.
“As a client’s strength begins to change over time, we re-test these baseline measurements so the workouts are always challenging and helping our clients to continue improving. Correspondingly, we also have the ability to adjust ranges of motion or complete different protocols on the machines to address ongoing physical limitations or injuries that might have kept clients from working out in the past in conventional gym environments.”
Q: How is the “smart gym” better than conventional gyms?
A: “Our workouts replace quantity with quality. The key to maximizing fitness results is optimized exercise dosing. While athletes respond to just about any kind, or amount, of training because of gifted genetics, most of us have a narrower window of opportunity.
“For the average person, more exercise volume does not equate to better results and too much exercise leads to over-training, injury and burnout. The healthier and more productive approach is to exercise smarter, not longer. This is difficult with traditional strength training tools because they have inherent dangers and inefficiencies.
“Dumbbells, bands and balls don’t have the ability to work intelligently with human biomechanics and muscle physiology. On any given exercise an individual’s force-producing capacity varies greatly.
“Traditional exercise tools deliver too much load when an exerciser moves through weaker points in the range of motion, and too little resistance at the exerciser’s stronger points in the range of motion. This mismatch greatly reduces exercise effectiveness and promotes improper form.
“The Exercise Coach approach is to combine our understanding of exercise science with 21st-century technologies to create protocols congruent with each individual’s strength profile. In addition, our equipment provides constant computer feedback to increase motivation and determination. Our approach stimulates dramatically better results for men and women of all ages.”
Q: What other amenities are there?
A: “The Exercise Coach is considered a boutique-fitness concept. Therefore, other than cardio-focused Sci-Fit Pro 2 and Elliptical machines; 360 degree and multi-functional training machines; and strength training Exerbotics machines, bathrooms and a small locker/changing area, no other amenities exist at The Exercise Coach. This is by design.
“Our 1,200- to 2,000-square-foot fitness studios are designed for people to get in, do their workout and get on with their day.”
Q: What is the pricing for membership?
A: “Our one-on-one rates vary based on commitment and range from $35-$49 per session, which is considerably lower than the national average for one-on-one personal training. Our small-group training rates range from $22-$25 per session for a maximum coach/client ratio of 1:4.”
Information: : exercisecoach.com.