redzone FITNESS in Coral Gables, Pinecrest: ‘It’s always been about our clients

redzone FITNESS co-owners Glenn Greer, left, and Luis Behar in Coral Gables. CARL JUSTE cjuste@miamiherald.com

Company name: redzone FITNESS.

What it is: A studio that emphasizes group fitness training for women. Its owners say it offers a more intimate, welcoming alternative to bigger gyms. “We integrate cardio intervals along with strength training exercises, and we make it fun,” co-owner Glenn Greer said.

Locations: 112 Valencia Ave., Coral Gables; 11845 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest.

Website: http://www.redzonegables.com/

Founded in: 2003, as Coral Gables Fitness Center. It has been through a few name changes since: In 2006, it was 30 in a Hurry Circuit; in 2008, Gables Fitness. In 2010, it became redzone FITNESS “and the final feeling of we really have something special,” Greer said.

Management team: Greer and Luis Behar, co-owners. Greer, who has been in the industry for 24 years, designs the classes and programs. Behar, who has 17 years’ experience, handles billing and the rest of the business side.

Number of employees: Nine; six are trainers

Products and services: At both locations, heart-rate monitored group training for up to 21 women is offered. At the Coral Gables location, personal training for men as well as women is also offered. The full-body workouts are designed daily. The gym has treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowers and other standard items; exercises incorporate a variety of “zones,” or circuits on the equipment, for a full-body workout.

How products, services are sold: Services are sold at the studio, by the month — $139 buys an “unlimited package” — or in other increments; for instance, $99 for an eight-visit “pack.” There are also packages for personal training; the average session is about $40 for a half-hour workout.

Clients: Predominantly women, at all fitness and skill levels.

How it began: Greer and Behar opened their first studio on Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables in 2003, offering personal training and spinning classes. They also began fitness-training classes that at first had about six women apiece but became increasingly popular. The success of Curves International Inc., a large Texas-based chain of fitness centers for women, bolstered their belief in their path (and inspired their transition into “30 in a Hurry Circuit” in 2006). “We knew that group training was the way to go, but we wanted to do it our way,” Greer said. He said both men have certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Nine months after it began, the business needed larger quarters, so it moved to its current location on Valencia Avenue. Its approach to group training for women also continued to evolve. Around 2010, Polar — a manufacturer of sports training computers — introduced heart-rate monitoring for group training; devices are worn around a client’s wrist or chest, and heart rate data appear on big screens in the gym.

At about the same time, the gym changed its name to redzone FITNESS: On the heart-rate monitors throughout the gym, “red was the color we wanted most of our clients to achieve. It meant they were putting effort into their workout,” Greer said.

“We had used heart-rate monitoring for years, but it wasn’t until they developed a group monitoring system that we started to move forward and apply technology with results-oriented group training,” Greer said. “We structured our workouts and introduced workout zones that provided unique formats of cardio intervals and strength training exercises. We tested the programming and asked our clients for feedback over and over again. We knew something was working right because the classes were growing.”

About three years ago, the Coral Gables studio expanded into the space next door, and about a year ago, the Pinecrest studio was launched. Today there are up to 21 women in each class. The business has about 500 clients between the two locations.

Competitors: There are many gyms in both the Coral Gables and Pinecrest areas. In the Gables, they include Orangetheory Fitness and Equinox Coral Gables, in the Village of Merrick Park. (Curves, the franchise that pioneered women’s-oriented exercise chains in the mid-1990s — and helped inspire the owners of redzone FITNESS — is a much smaller company now; other women-oriented chains such as Lady of America are in Kendall, West Miami-Dade and elsewhere in Miami-Dade.) Greer, however, said the real competition to redzone FITNESS is the “billion-dollar weight-loss industry that lies to people: Take this pill, drink this shake, and buy the whiz-bang fitness product off the TV.”

“From my perspective it’s hard to say that a fitness business location is our competition,” he said. “I feel that any fitness business location is there to help to people as long as they do this with integrity and passion.”

Revenues: Gross revenues for the past few years: 2014: $475,452; 2015: $521,469; 2016: $523,597.

Milestones:

  • The Pinecrest location of redzone FITNESS will have its first-year anniversary on Jan. 30.
  • The company, which has completed 14 years, has renewed its lease for five years.

Major key to success: “Passion!!!!!! Dedication!!! Integrity!!!! We love people!!! And so does our staff!!!” Greer said in an email. “It’s always been about our clients. We are here to educate them and teach them structure in both nutrition and exercise. Our goal is to give them a great experience and have them reach their fitness goals.”

Strategy for next steps: The company has depended on word-of-mouth endorsements from clients, but now it wants to hire an ad agency to help build its brand. Also, in the next two years, redzone FITNESS hopes to open more studios.
RORY CLARKE

- Originally appeared on MiamiHerald.com