If you build it, they will stay.
That has been the case with FIT.club, a one-year-old fitness club located at 1866 Auburn St., Bethlehem–next to Saucon Park north of Hellertown–that provides training that motivates individuals to become stronger and healthier along with support from a community of like-minded members.
Born when another popular local exercise facility known as N-Tensity Fitness announced it was closing its doors in early 2017, FIT.club offers a variety of specialty group training classes including FIT (Functional Interval Training), cardio boxing, suspension training, specialty workshops, stretch and Pilates flow, as well as one-on-one personal training.
“The membership really came together once N-Tensity was slated to close and decided we wanted to make this fitness community work as it had been a big part of our routines,” explained FIT.club Board President Kyle Collina. “The fitness model was truly special, as well as the community that had grown up with it.”
“This club is run by our membership. Board positions are volunteer and are elected by our membership yearly. We are a nonprofit enterprise, meaning our financial goal is to break even with our operating budget to fund the club’s expenses,” he said. “No sole proprietor or group benefits financially from the club. All profits made get reinvested into the club or will be used to cut costs of the membership.”
The membership meets quarterly to discuss the club’s progress and make decisions on the path forward, Collina said. The board meets monthly to review the state of the club and report member feedback.
The story of how FIT.club got to where it is today is unique, as many residents of the Hellertown and Lower Saucon area helped contribute to its opening by hosting training sessions at their own houses until the current facility was ready to open, according to Collina. FIT.club began operating from its current location in the spring of 2017.
“Robin and Marty Staff, current FIT.club members and supporters, opened up their home to hosting classes in the interim when we were trying to keep everyone together and understand the next steps of our venture to create something more permanent,” Collina recalled.
It is tough to pinpoint a direct FIT.club competitor in the marketplace, according to Collina.
“Are there any competitors in the region who do what we do? Yes and no,” he said. “Obviously there are multiple other fitness communities and gyms out there that offer some of the types of classes we do, but ‘no’ in the fact that we are a niche fitness club, not-for-profit community that offers more FIT classes and variety of group classes than any other in the area.”
The biggest challenge to FIT.club’s long-term success will always be membership, Collina said. “This kind of club will always ebb and flow like any other fitness business with people coming and going. That is why we turned the financial model of N-Tensity on its head.”
“This way the membership is the lifeblood of the financial stability of the club. If they understand they are the ones that keep the doors open and if they truly believe in the mission and benefit, they will find ways to share that with others and grow our community and membership,” he said.
In fact, Collina said he draws energy from the members in fulfilling his role as board president.
“To me the whole membership is inspiring,” he said. “This group of people decided the day N-Tensity announced it was going to close that we would not let this community die. In this day and age it is pretty inspiring to see a group of people feel this strongly about something that they basically created a full-blown fitness club out of nothing within two months of Intensity closing.”
FIT.club charges an annual membership fee of $150 for new members (currently there is a special $99 spring offer). New members also enjoy their first class for free.
Monthly class packages cost $60 for four classes, $100 for eight classes, $125 for 12 classes and $150 for unlimited classes. FIT.club also offers a free week of classes to anyone interested in trying out it out, and a college student card with a 3-month expiration is available for $150.
A non-membership package is also available. For $200, non-members receive a 10-class punch card with a 3-month expiration.
“The nice part about FIT.club is there is a vast range of ages that participate. Everyone can scale to their degree of fitness and strengths,” Collina said. “Our motto is ‘FIT for Life,’ because this type of training benefits you for the functional aspects of everyday life no matter what your fitness experiences have been or your age.”
FIT.club is also hosting a first anniversary ribbon-cutting celebration coordinated with the Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, May 17 from 5 to 7 p.m.
The community is invited to join in the celebration, which will culminate with the official ribbon-cutting at 5:45 p.m.
Light refreshments will be provided by the club, and a wine tasting will be provided by Black River Farms of Lower Saucon Township.
There will also be a Functional Interval Class in session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., so attendees should bring their sneakers if they would like to join in.