The Athletic Club turns 35
Fitness studios come and go in today's economy, but The Athletic Club has remained a constant.
The Washington Street, Hamilton facility celebrates its 35th anniversary this month.
“I like to say I was 12 when I took the place over,” laughed owner Kym Herron Scott.
In fact, she was 24 when she and her previous husband, Richard Burns, purchased the place from Don Simons in November 1987.
“It had been going for three years,” she said.
Back then she was a dental hygienist with a passion for fitness.
“I ran a modelling agency in Canada for awhile, so I knew the ins and outs of running a business,” she said. “I got qualified in the industry as I went along. It was fun for me. I love seeing people change their lives.”
Back in 1987, The Athletic Club had a very small membership, and very little competition.
Today, the membership has grown significantly, and the club is faced with a slew of competition.
“There are a lot of studios that have popped up over the last seven to ten years,” Ms Herron Scott said. “It is a very competitive market. We just continue to do what we do, fun, fabulous and affordable fitness.”
Five years ago The Athletic Club merged with The Olympic Club.
“We brought that over here, and that facility on Dundonald Street was closed,” she said.
Another big moment was when she bought a second fitness club in the Turks & Caicos in 2008.
“That was right at the turn of the economy,” she said. “It was The Athletic Club Bermuda and The Athletic Club Turks & Caicos. I ran a lot of things parallel.”
One of her challenges was that people at the Turks & Caicos club were different.
“The membership there was very hardcore and into competition,” she said. “We take a holistic approach to wellness. It was a difficult transition in having them accept our mentality.”
She closed the Turks & Caicos space in 2012.
“I just couldn't be in two places at once,” she said. “After awhile it took its toll on me.”
Some fitness clubs suffer with retention issues. People sign up, come for a little while, and then disappear. Ms Herron Scott said The Athletic Club doesn't have this problem.
“We have members that were here before I was here,” she said. “That is very exciting. We do have those who come in and then will drop off the radar. We also have people who just want a class here and a class here.”
She thinks it's their holistic approach that has kept The Athletic Club going for so long.
“We have the spinning,” she said. “We have massage. We have a steam room and sauna. Some people come to de-stress. Some people come because they want to be body beautiful, others want to be athletes. The majority of people though, come to lose weight.”
She thinks that the club has always been ahead of the game. She said it was The Athletic Club that helped to put classes like spinning and Zumba, on the map.
More recent ground-breaking classes have included twerkouts and burlesque dancing.
“We were always a little quirky,” Ms Herron Scott said.
She is now married to Wayne Scott, the former education and sport minister.
“He helps out here,” she said.
Ms Herron Scott said the clients often need new incentives and goals to keep things fun and fresh. On September 21, they will launch their sixth annual Thinner Winner competition.
“That is a pure weight-loss programme,” she said. “It is a fitness and nutrition overhaul. We show people how to eat healthy. They have a trainer once a week. We encourage them to workout four times a week. They have full access to the facility.”
To celebrate their birthday, The Athletic Club will be offering special membership deals.
“We have a three-month membership, all inclusive with classes, towels service, steam room, full use of fitness and functional training centre, for $350,” she said. “You couldn't beat that. We also have a $135 monthly fee based on a year's contract.”
They will also be holding Member Monday anniversary classes, such as The Terminator, 30 different exercises for a full body workout, next Monday at 1.15pm, Thigh Master at 6.30pm on September 23 and Flash Dance on September 30 at 5.30pm.
For more information see www.tac.bm, see them on Facebook and Twitter @TACBermuda or call 295-6140