Urge Fitness General Manager Dwight Rothermel, left, and owner Shayne Michaelis. (Staff photo by Kait Kelly.)

Urge Fitness, a 24 hour gym in Ewing, offers affordable gym memberships

Shayne Michaelis — Owner of Urge Fitness in Ewing — built his gym with one simple concept: offer an upscale fitness experience at an affordable price.

This past February, Urge Fitness opened their doors, and general manager Dwight Rothermel has been there to help Michaelis’ vision come alive.

“Going back years ago when I first started in the industry, gym memberships were $80 a month,” Michaelis said. “That was the industry standard. You never saw low price point fitness centers. Then, there was a huge takeover of the dollar clubs with membership fees of $19.99 or $9.99.”

Michaelis said these dollar clubs were offering people affordable gym access, but it came at a cost. He said they neglected to offer people higher level amenities such as group exercise classes or personal training to certain degree.

“People had to make a choice,” Michaelis said. “They could either join for $60-$80 a month to get all these amenities they either may or may not use; or they could join for $10 and get nothing but a treadmill and a few weights.”

Michaelis didn’t understand why there was no in between.

“I wanted to build a club with an upscale feel,” Michaelis said. “I wanted to offer a lot of amenities like group exercise classes, 24 hour access and towel service, but I knew not everyone needed these things.”

Michaelis said he didn’t want to charge members an additional fee to pay for group classes per session on top of their monthly due. At the same time, he didn’t want to build the price of classes into the monthly due because not everyone is interested in taking Zumba or kickboxing.

“We created an a la carte menu so to speak,” Michaelis said.

Urge Fitness’ a la carte menu is simple. They offer five different levels of membership: classic, premium, signature, elite and family. Each level includes different amenities and ranges in cost from $20 a month to $60 a month.

“We want our members to be in control of what they pay for, while at the same time, making it affordable,” Michaelis said.

Rothermel also believes it is important for consumers to be in control of what they are paying for, and he believes this is something every person should be aware of when looking to join a gym.

Along with where their money is going, Rothermel said consumers should consider convenience, the staff and the clubs goal.

“Convenience is huge when you join a health club because if it’s not convenient, it’s not going to work for you,” Rothermel said. “You’re going to make another excuse not to use the club.”

Urge Fitness aims to convenience all types of people by offering 24/7 access 365 days a year. They do so with 24 hour surveillance, swipe card access and waterproof lanyards and wrist watches allowing members to reach 911 with a push of the button in case of emergency.

“A supporting staff is also important because you don’t want to be just another number,” Rothermel said. “You want to come in and be greeted by an employee who knows you and actually cares about your goals.”

Rothermel said each Urge Fitness team member goes through extensive training and has passed a hefty interview to even be a part of the company. He said they have gained a lot of positive feedback on their staff and plan on continuing to better themselves in terms of customer service.

“The goals of a club are also a key point when choosing a fitness center, because you want to join somewhere that is training centric and results driven,” Rothermel said. “You want to make sure they offer some avenue for you to get the help you need, especially if you’re new.”

Rothermel said the biggest misconception he’s noticed when it comes to fitness clubs is that you need to be in shape to join. Urge Fitness helps people from all levels: beginners to very advanced.

Rothermel said his biggest enjoyment working in this industry is seeing the changes in people as they start as beginners and become more advanced.

“It’s remarkable,” he said. “Some people come in because they have issues being overweight or with depression. Before you know it, they’re smiling, they’re happy and they’re having a good time. It’s nice to see you’ve helped someone achieve the goal they came in for. That’s probably the biggest and coolest thing I love about my job.”

The only other factor Michaelis and Rothermel wish for consumers is to stay educated.

“We’re cutting edge,” Rothermel said. “We’re always trying to better ourselves. If we can find a new way or working out, we’re going to constantly put our research into that.”

The Urge team urges gym goers to look into clubs with educated staff members who can show them the new and most relevant ways to work out.

“Small group training is really where fitness is heading,” Michaelis said. “Running on a treadmill is great, but to really get a good exercise, it’s about using the toys. We specialize in that type of training.”

Rothermel referred to this as functional training oppose to isolated workouts which is what many people get from the basic gym machines. He said functional training helps everyday people get better at what they do; whether their pulling groceries out of their car or playing with their kids. Rothermel said functional training helps peoples bodies to be more functional with day to day activities.

Urge Fitness is located at 968 Parkway Avenue in Ewing. For more information, call: (609) 403-8515. On the Web: www.urgefitness.com.