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Attention and Technology a Good Combination

LIFT, which offers functional training in a semi-private setting, plus Podfitness programs as a perk, aims to keep members for life.

LIFT, in Ramsey, N.J., is a private studio for personal training. But, "with its bamboo floors, modern style and bright open feel, it's more like a New York City loft than a fitness center," says Owner and Trainer Jim Ryno. Another thing that makes LIFT different from your typical fitness center is that only five clients can work out at a time - each one accompanied by a trainer. And, the trainers are nationally certified and college-educated, with wide-ranging areas of expertise that include personal training, sports training, functional fitness, performance nutrition and more. Programs at LIFT are built around functional training. "Many people [who are] used to the traditional gym layout are surprised by what they feel is a limited amount of equipment [here] - until they see their results," Ryno says. Instead of "heavy exercise machinery and crowded floors," LIFT offers dual-arm cable machines, exercise rail systems, stability balls, dumbbells and medicine balls. Says Ryno, "Replacing these pieces leaves wide-open spaces for trainers and clients to perform a multitude of body-weight and hybrid exercises." Other offerings include indoor and outdoor bootcamp (Fitness In The Park) and nutritional services.



Ramsey, N.J. 201 327-3688; Blog: Date facility opened: February 2006 Fitness facility size: 5,000 square feet Number of members: 500 Group exercise classes: Indoor Bootcamp, Fitness In The Park

The target market for the studio is "urban 20- to 50-year-old men and women who work hard and play harder," Ryno says. This includes bankers, homemakers, executives, athletes and celebrities. Something quite unique at LIFT is the option to use workouts while on the road, at home or anywhere in between. Ryno is a trainer, so, in addition to the LIFT membership, each member also receives a Podfitness membership ( Another great use of technology is LIFT's blog (http://liftnews. With the blog, Ryno says that LIFT has "succeeded in not only providing a service to our members, but to everyone looking for practical advice and sound-bite solutions on how to live happily and be active." The blog has nothing to do with LIFT, but is an insider's guide to what is new for the modern fitness enthusiast. Says Ryno, "We have subscribers from all over the world, and this site alone has helped us build our brand in new directions." Also, the blog has turned into an unexpected profit center, since many large companies advertise on the site. For other fitness centers who want to start a blog, Ryno offers some tips: "The first mistake that health clubs make with a blog is they just post about themselves. No one will trust you if all you post about is yourself. Plus, you'll run out of things to post." He reminds potential bloggers that clients go to fitness centers "for more than a workout: They want information, motivation and education - those are the things you should post about." Another way that LIFT gets its name out there is by giving advice through other websites, newspapers and magazines. Explains Ryno, "I encourage my staff to write and contribute to other websites, newspapers, etc. I want them to not only be trainers, but fitness professionals used as experts in the industry. ... I want trainers who work for me to see the bigger picture and help me to build a brand. To do that, I must also believe in them and build them up." LIFT has become a success in a short period of time. In addition to personalized attention with the technological touch, the LIFT philosophy has something to do with this. Says Ryno, "My approach isn't to have my clients in here every day, but, rather, to have them here as members for life."


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