As the new year approaches, one of the Johnstown area’s newest exercise facilities – VIBE Fitness Studio in Elton, which on New Year’s Day will have been open for less than two months – is gearing up for New Year’s resolution season.
“We want you to be here,” owner Stephanie Allison said, addressing those who will soon resolve to get fit in 2017.
“We don’t want you to just sign up and then not come.”
Allison said she thinks the personalized atmosphere of her studio will encourage people to follow through on their resolutions.
She drew a distinction between VIBE and larger gym chains that, she said, may be content to accept resolution-makers’ membership fees without caring whether those memberships are ever actually used.
“I was personally reaching out to them, saying, ‘We need you here! You need to come to class!’ ” she said of those of her clients who signed up for memberships, but never came back to the studio.
Finding the right fit
To encourage people to make the switch to VIBE, Allison is offering a deal in which anyone who cancels his or her current gym membership – which can result in cancellation fees of around $60 or more – will have their $40 enrollment fee and first month’s membership charge waived.
And on Dec. 30, at the Johnstown Tomahawks’ “Resolution Night” game, VIBE will set up a booth at Cambria County War Memorial Arena and hold giveaways.
VIBE, which opened its doors to the public on Nov. 14, represents the next step in Allison’s five-year career as a fitness instructor.
That career started when Allison decided she wanted to start working out, but couldn’t find the kind of gym she was looking for.
“I was very intimidated,” she said. “I tried a couple different facilities, but I just wasn’t comfortable with the atmosphere.”
Taking the first step
Instead of joining a traditional gym, Allison enrolled in a Zumba class – an aerobic fitness program inspired by Latin-American dances – where her previous experience as a dancer made her a natural. Soon after, she became certified as a Zumba instructor and began teaching classes at facilities throughout the Johnstown region.
“That was my first step into the fitness world,” she said.
Eventually, Allison began leading a group of Zumba enthusiasts called the TNT Cardio Club. The club held its classes in rented space at the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center, but Allison soon found that renting studio space came with some intractable drawbacks – the club members had to haul all their equipment away at the end of each session, among other inconveniences.
So when a space suitable for a fitness studio opened up earlier this year in an Elton building owned by Allison and her husband, Todd, she took the opportunity to strike out on her own.
Most of the TNT Cardio Club’s instructors, along with many new hires, now teach classes at VIBE, Allison said.
When designing VIBE, Allison set out to make it different from the typical gym. There’s no heavy weightlifting equipment – in fact, the only weights on the premises are a few small dumbbells and exercise balls.
Instead, the studio features unique offerings like Pound, a drumming-focused fitness class, among the approximately 80 class sessions its instructors hold each month.
“We have neon-green weighted drumsticks that the girls use for the class. They’re doing a lot of squats, they lay on the floor and they pound and they drum to the music, but the whole thing is exercise-based. It’s all a workout,” Allison said.
“We’re the first ones in the (Johnstown) area to have that class.”
Pound is just one of the classes at VIBE that, to Allison’s knowledge, aren’t offered anywhere else in the region.
“We have a Mommy and Me class. One of our instructors, Christina, has a 6-month-old baby, and so she teaches the class to other moms,” Allison said.
“They can bring their kids – anywhere from about 6 months old, where they can sit up and hold their heads up on their own, up to about 5 years old – and they do some laps, and walking lunges, and squats and that kind of thing.”
Classes at VIBE, most of which are offered during the evenings or lunch hours, are structured into three tiers.
Tier One includes classes in Zumba, kickboxing, high-intensity interval training, PiYo, dance fitness and belly dancing.
Tier Two classes include VIBE Circuit, kettlebell, Barre Sculpt, Total Body Burn and Pound.
Tier Three classes include spin – which is not available just yet, but Allison said the spin bikes will be delivered soon after New Year’s Day – and yoga.
A Tier One membership, which costs $24.95 per month, grants its holders unlimited access to Tier One classes.
Tier Two and Tier Three members, who pay $39.95 and $54.95 per month, respectively, get unlimited access to the classes
Tier One, Tier Two and Tier Three classes are also offered on a drop-in basis for $6, $9 and $12, respectively.
Tier One or Tier Two members who want to attend a class in a higher tier can pay the drop-in fee for access.
VIBE Fitness Studio is located at 4579 Elton Road, Suite 201, Elton.