As Jesse Ewell and his band of fitness trainers have helped South Sound residents get smaller over the past 6 1/2 years, his business keeps getting bigger.
First Innovative Fitness moved from its original 2,200-square-foot place in Fircrest to a neighboring 4,500-square-foot space also in Fircrest. The personal training studio has a staff of 12 people training more than 300 clients.
And Tuesday, Innovative Fitness plans to unveil a 6,000-square-foot second home on Point Fosdick Drive in Gig Harbor.
Last week, as Ewell showed off the palatial new facility, he seemed most excited about the potential that the new building has to showcase an efficient training program his company has been using for about 18 months.
Ewell’s new gym is set up like a fitness assembly line.
Under the guidance of a trainer, clients work their way from pod to pod performing a series of personalized exercises along the way. When they reach the end, they’ll hit the showers having finished what Ewell calls a complete and purposeful workout designed to reduce the risk of injury.
The program is called MBSC Thrive and, according to mbscthrive.com, Innovative Fitness is the first training studio west of Las Vegas offering the training. The program has gained enough momentum on the East Coast to score a partnership with Adidas.
MBSC stands for Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, the business whose namesake is a conditioning consultant for the Boston Red Sox and has trained athletes in each major pro sport.
Philadelphia-based Bruce Mack is co-founder of MBSC Thrive and isn’t shy about comparing it to other popular fitness workouts.
“Let’s face it, a gym membership is just renting fitness equipment,” Mack said.
And CrossFit, he says, has been great for the fitness industry, but lacks focus because participants typically all do the same workout regardless of their goals.
“We are focusing on functional training and that means purposeful training not just a workout of the day,” Mack said. “Everything we do will be functional and fit around your goals.”
Here’s what Ewell and Mack say clients should expect if they try Thrive, a program with rates starting at $99 per month.
At an initial meeting, trainers will perform a series of tests and measurements and discuss goals with clients. This allows the trainers to design appropriate exercises for participants for each stop on the fitness assembly line.
The first stop in the 60-minute program is at a pod called prime. Here participants prepare for the workout by using a foam roller to administer a deep tissue massage, then they do some static stretches and activation exercises.
The next stop is the prep station, where they’ll go through a dynamic warm up, which in itself might feel like a pretty good workout.
The goal, Ewell writes on the gym’s promotional flyers, is workouts that are “unique, effective and fun, while remaining safe.”
The third pod focuses on power with workouts that might include speed and agility, medicine balls and kettle bells.
The next stop is about core and strength training, where participants can expect to do squats, dead lifts, pushups, planks and hip strengthening exercises. “No traditional sit ups,” said Mack, adding that the exercises at this station are designed to build a healthy back.
The last stop is the conditioning pod that includes exercises similar to what you’ll find in most high intensity interval training workouts.
“This can be many different things but what it’s not is just running on something like a treadmill,” Mack said. “We want to get your heart rate up and down. You will burn more calories this way.”
Mack helps gyms nationwide install zone training programs and says not only is it better for those working out, but it saves gyms money they don’t have to spend on traditional equipment such as treadmills and weight machines. He says outfitting a gym with zone programs cost $3-$5 per square foot instead of as much as $50 per square foot.
“It’s in line with what we were already doing,” Ewell said of Thrive. “Pretty soon, I think it’s what everybody will want to do.”