Gym Of The Month: Fitlife Performance Training

Like many homegrown gyms, Fitlife started because two guys dreamed of building a monument to muscle and athleticism.

When Josh Tyler and Zane Moore opened their own gym, they knew they wanted to help people reach their athletic potential. But, like all great endeavors, their vision changed as their success grew. They set new definitions for their business and now work to assist individuals on a personal basis.

The most important thing about this gym? They get to know their customers. They know their names, faces, and goals. That's how change is made: with understanding, not just with gym dues. This is one small gym that does fitness right. Its members lift for life.

Owner and co-founder Josh Tyler, a former minor league baseball player, gave us the inside perspective.

How did Fitlife start?

As a professional athlete I was able to train in some great facilities in Arizona. When I moved back east in 2002, the small, training-focused sports performance facilities had not hit the market.

My trainer at the time, Zane Moore, mentioned we should open one. I proceeded to get my CSCS certification from the NSCA and we opened up in a 900-sq ft. facility.

At first we served mostly kids and athletes, but it quickly morphed into something more. We began to train all ages and all skill levels and I enjoyed each member's success.

Our driving force for so many years has been to help the community in our own special way, catering to the needs and goals of individuals on their fitness journeys.

What went into opening your awesome establishment?

"Our driving force for so many years has been to help the community in our own special way."

At first we teamed up with a baseball academy. We offered our services to the athletes who trained there. As we grew, we teamed up with a physical therapist who complemented our philosophy and training style.

Eventually we needed more room. We have been in our current location for four years now and have been able to expand our offerings because of it.

We started with dumbbells, a few racks, and a lot of functional equipment. Twelve years later we have held true to that model.

What makes your gym different?

Fitlife understands how important other things in your life. Family is more important than belonging to a gym. To us, it's not just fitness. It's fitness to achieve the best things in your life.

When we founded our business we started with a basic thought: We want to help everyone who walks through our doors benefit from the fitness experience.

This early belief led to our philosophy that we can individualize fitness for each and every customer. This philosophy differs from big-box clubs or low-priced centers which only offer a gym membership and do not provide the services you need to make measurable changes in your life.

Our workout philosophy can be applied to a weekend golfer who wants to wallop his drive past his buddy, the youth athlete looking to prevent injury and increase athleticism, mature folks who want to retain strength and mobility, or the working mom who has to balance on heels, push a shopping cart, and keep up with her kids.

Fitness should improve the way you look and feel, as well as the way you live and work.

Tell us about your obstacle course.

We were training lots of people for the next Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash. One of our clients was a retired Marine and had experience in obstacle course construction. We had the land and have run several successful 6-8 week training courses since we built the course. It has 15 obstacles and a nice 1/2-mile trail run.

Local armed forces recruiters reach out to us to help kids get ready for boot camp. We give them an introduction to some of the things they may see in camp. It has been great for team-building and, believe it or not, parties! Kids love coming out to the course.

The obstacle course has 15 obstacles and a nice 1/2-mile trail run.

What sort of people are attracted to your gym?

All types! Our gym gets referred to as "Cheers." We take great pride in building relationships with ever member and client, from your top high school athlete to moms and dads doing the hustle to get in their workouts during their crazy schedules. We also cater to working professionals who get in here for that killer lunch-hour burn.

There is a sense of belonging to something more than just a gym. We have many Team Fitlife events that include 5K runs, 100-mile bike rides, Dragon Boat Races, and Tough Mudders. We always try to get people involved so no one feels left out

Who are your top trainers?

Brian Redard: My head trainer is the heart of the facility. He's a Penn State graduate with an ability to establish meaningful relationships with our clients. He makes it easy for them to feel comfortable. His follow-ups with let everyone know where they are on their fitness journey.

Vickie Bogart: She is well known throughout the facility as someone who will show no mercy and get 110 percent out of you every time. People will say, "Vickie's training killed me, but I can't wait for the next one." She has a real connection with the women of the facility, helping them with exercise and nutrition guidance.

Mike Cornman: He is the nutrition guru and the research machine behind a lot of our program development. He has a quiet demeanor, which is misleading because before you know it, the pounds are coming off and the strength gains are exploding.

Brian Redard Vickie BogartMike Cornman

The three trainers all have their own strengths, which blends with our philosophy and helps each one put their own individual twist into everything we do.

What special services do you provide?

Our most popular membership at this time is group or team training. We also have a strong one-on-one clientele, a private pilates studio for sessions for 1-4 people at a time, nutritional coaching, our obstacle course programs, sports performance training, GRIT Physical Therapy onsite, and coming soon, indoor cycling with a little twist!

How does sports performance training still factor into what you do?

We started as a sports performance company. We establish programs 3-6 months in length for athletes of all ages and levels to help prevent injury and become an all-around better athletes.

We don't touch on the skill movements as much; we concentrate on athleticism. Every college coach I speak to wants athletes. They can help grow the skill, but they want athletes, and that is something that will last long past someone's playing days are over.

What made you decide to get the MyZone program?

We had been toying with the idea for over a year, and after the launch and Myzone did some upgrades, we got the system. We believe in heart rate zone training to get the best results, and the MyZone technology allows us to do that.

All of our clients wear a heart monitor which tracks their effort during exercise. We can see the data on our screens throughout the facility which aids in the training process.

It also automatically uploads to the cloud so our clients and trainers can access the data via smartphone, tablet, or CPU.

The tracking allows us to show improvement over time and help clients get an accurate account of how much energy or calories they are using during exercise and their effort. We love the system, and it's a great motivator for the clients.

How have you been able to remain so successful and how do you hope to remain so?

We stay true to our core values and beliefs. We constantly explore new technology to present the data to our clients in effective ways, but ultimately exercise is still exercise. It's how you deliver it to the client and help them get results that matters.

Everyone's body is different, so there are no cookie-cutter programs here. By being a smaller operation, we can cater to the individual. However, marketing is also key, and we've made a conscious effort over the last year to dedicate ourselves to outreach.

"Everyone's body is different, so there are no cookie-cutter programs here."

Too many times marketing is the first thing to be cut in the budget. That would be a mistake.

Does your gym have any special charities or organizations that you raise money for?

Every year we run the Eileen Stein Jacoby Fitness-Thon for breast cancer research. Last year we raised almost $50,000 in one night. We also work with the American Red Cross for blood drives, Alex's Lemonade Stand, CRB1 Fund for curing retinal blindness, the Bike MS City to Shore.

On Thursday nights we train dozens of autistic children as part of Autism Cares. We've been doing that for four years. We shut down the facility for an hour so they can have full access to everything, and the kids love it! We have all the trainers dedicated to them and the workout.

We also work with local high schools to bring in their special needs and developmental departments for workouts and life skills training. We assist with many more social programs but those are just a few.