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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)


"I got up to 278 pounds and wasn't happy," said Brooks Dean, who launched New Start Fitness in Inskip with his wife, Jama, in 2016. "I had high blood pressure, so I started working out and getting results. I was lifting weights and doing cardio and thought, 'This is a great feeling and I want everyone else to experience it.' "

The long-term contracts many gyms insist on were the biggest deterrent for the couple. "I like the classes, but not signing a three-year membership," said Jama Dean. "Group classes are successful, you can share each other's feelings and we thought let's offer group fitness classes."

Anyone can do a single class, a package of classes or purchase the unlimited package at New Start Fitness. Classes range from simple cardio to strength training. "We have a wide demographic with zero judgment," said Brooks Dean. "No enrollment or annual fees, no extra fees and the first class is free. Everything can be modified and no matter your level of fitness, you can do this and we will help you along the way."

With the help of five regular trainers, the couple run New Start Fitness while juggling their respective full-time jobs and raising their three children. "We do whatever we can to make sure our schedules are open," said Jama Dean. "We have group text messages and people can message us on Facebook if they have questions."

Once people take a few classes, the Deans get to know what they are capable of - if they can handle a heavier weight or if they need to be more cautious due to an injury.

"I tell everyone to work at their own pace," said Brooks Dean. "You keep on pushing and then you get to your own goal, not someone else's."

Brooks Dean said the key is to offer different classes. "When you switch it up you get different results," he said. "You have to trick your body and not just do the same thing all of the time. We offer 10 different classes."

Right now, their most popular classes are the Kettlebell and Step. "It's popular because it's a killer workout," said Brooks Dean. "You torch some calories."

The 12-week challenge is available to the unlimited package members. "We don't post their actual weight, it's based on weight loss percentage," said Jama Dean.

Friends Stacy Byrd and Nicole Karnes are two big success stories. Since first attending a ladies night at New Start Fitness in January, Nicole has lost 50 pounds and Stacy has lost 62 pounds. "We went from no exercise to working out three to five times a week, sometimes two classes a day," said Byrd. "They encourage you and offer more one-on-one attention."

The Deans also partner with local businesses, such as Nutrishop and Naked Foods, to help their clients find healthier alternatives. "We get the struggles of trying to lose the weight and not getting proper sleep," said Jama Dean.

Other popular classes include circuit training classes, teen classes for endurance training - and they host Garage Self Defense Academy on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

The couple is having no trouble filling the classes. "It's all word of mouth and social media," said Jama Dean. "People who bring people, who bring people, who bring people and it continues to build."

More: New Start Fitness, 4652 Fennel Road, 865-281-5113

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September 13, 2017


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