Five years ago, few Central Albertans had heard of Snap Fitness.
Today, four of the 24-hour gyms operate in the Red Deer area, with a fifth scheduled to open by the end of January.
Leigh and Tim Ostiguy own the Snap Fitness franchises in Sylvan Lake, Lacombe and at 88 Howarth St. in Red Deer. The fourth, in Innisfail, belongs to another franchisee.
“It is growing quite successfully,” said Leigh, noting that new Snap Fitness outlets opened recently in Wetaskiwin and Leduc, with others pending in Beaumont and Devon.
Internationally, there are more than 1,400, according to the company’s website.
The Ostiguys are preparing to open their fourth gym at 3119 49th Ave. They felt it was important to offer members a south Red Deer option, said Leigh.
“It’s pretty much the same, except we’re adding group fitness to it.”
The new premises, which have more than 4,000 square feet, will contain a studio area designated for group exercising. These could be led by a staff member, or by a virtual trainer who will appear on a large projection screen.
“So if they come at 5 in the morning and there’s not a scheduled class, they just go in there and push what they want to do — like boot camp, or Zumba class or spin bikes,” said Leigh.
The new location will also feature a workout monitoring system called MyZone, which will track information like heart rate, calories burned and exertion level through a sensor worn by the user.
The results will be displayed on a monitor and recorded into members’ personal profiles.
“You don’t even have to wear it while you’re in the gym,” said Leigh, explaining that the sensors will record workout data and download it to the Snap Fitness computer when the wearer returns.
“It’s a really cool feature,” she said, adding that the system is being installed at the Ostiguys’ other gyms as well.
All Snap Fitness outlets operate 24/7, and have the same exercise equipment — from free weights to cardio machines. Members can work out at any location, such as when travelling.
“We’ve got quite a few snowbird members that utilize gyms in Arizona and here,” said Leigh.
She doesn’t dismiss the possibility of her and Tim opening more Snap Fitness locations in the future, although that’s unlikely to happen for a while.
“We’re going to kind of digest this for now, but we always want to grow if the opportunity is there.”