Fitness Center Is Helping Women Get On- and Stay On – the Road to Good Health
by PAUL CATALA
photos provided by THE BALANCE CULTURE
The temptation and indulgence of the holidays are enough to make even the most enthusiastic fitness buffs take a few weeks off.
New Year’s resolutions are often cited for driving gym membership and participation for the first couple months of the year. But for the staff, instructors, and trainers at The Balance Culture, helping the clients start – and more importantly stay on — a fitness routines that lasts is the goal all year-round.
Since opening in Lakeland in 2015, The Balance Culture’s 40-member team of instructors and interns has helped several thousand clients adopt healthy fitness routines.
The fitness center exclusively for women is set to open its second location by January 2, but this time it is plating its roots in Winter Haven.
Prior to a recent training day at the Lakeland fitness studio in the historic Dixieland district, owner/instructor Stephanie Garrison and Faith Wagner, a studio manager, personal trainer, and motivational coach, held a pre-class meeting.
Garrison explains that Balance Culture was co-founded by Ruthie Tait, who owns the Lakeland studio, and Kristin Czernek. She says one of the main reasons for starting the fitness center was to help women get motivated and give them a “safe space to be empowered and challenged in every goal of their lives.”
To do that, the staff offers an array of classes with exercise catered to individual fitness levels. Among them are barre – a workout that combines slow movements with high-intensity intervals to work your entire body; pilates — a system of repetitive exercises done to promote strength, stability and flexibility; yoga; strength training; and personal training. The studio also offers personal training and nutrition coaching.
In the 2,000-square-foot Lakeland facility, Garrison, Wagner and the other instructors have developed a variety of ways for clients to reach their fitness goals once they’ve decided to get up and get going. They say they’ve begun that outreach in Winter Haven by offering Founder’s Memberships for those who buy memberships early, joining the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Winter Haven, reaching out to mothers of school children, and advertising in local publications.
“We already have about 50 members (in Winter Haven), even before the doors have opened,” says Garrison, a Buffalo native who now lives in Winter Haven.
Once inside those doors, Garrison and Wagner say personalized fitness focuses are outlined for clients. Wagner says fitness areas are created first with small lifestyle changes, then consistency is developed, and finally those changes and choices compound into healthier lifestyles. For example, a client can begin a low-impact exercise class once a week, attend regularly, then begin to add days.
“Everyone’s motivation level is different,” says Wagner, a Winter Haven native who holds a master’s degree in kinesiology from Southeastern University.
“We try to find a (fitness) style that fits each person. Whether it’s working out in the morning or in the evening, we try to make it something to look forward to and be enjoyable.”
All Balance Culture instructors are trained through a certification program to be able to offer clients fitness routines and patterns outside the studio. Additionally, Balance Culture has its own app that allows members to keep track of all of their workouts and schedule sessions ahead of time.
“We’re always thinking of ways to maintain and create our community beyond just the classroom or studio,” says Garrison. “I think sometimes fitness can be intimidating, so we create a community of confidence that allows women to reach their goals mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 percent of U.S. women don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity, and more than 25 percent of U.S. women are inactive. The CDC also says physical inactivity is more common among women than men and that social support from family and friends is consistently and positively related to regular physical activity.
The benefits of physical activity include:
- Decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes
- Ability to maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
- Weight control
- A reduction in body fat
- A reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improved mood and feelings of well-being
- A reduction in blood pressure for those with hypertension
Those benefits are what motivate fitness centers like Balance Culture to keep seeking ways to improve their offerings for healthy living.
“I love to hear how lives have changed due to this place,” says Garrison. “That’s a huge testament to what we do as a business – seeing women being able to build a healthy relationship with food and exercise and build confidence with their lifestyle choices.”