Over the past 29 years, The Woman’s Workout Company in Hyannis, Massachusetts, has changed its name, its ownership and its carpeting. And Susan Taylor has been with the gym through it all.
She started as a member when the gym used to be under the Gloria Stevens franchise. “We had beautiful pink shag carpeting, we wore ballet slippers and I’m not really sure what exercise we did, but I was a member,” she recalled.
When the franchise went defunct, Taylor decided she wanted to open a gym of her own. “I thought that would be a business I wanted to do,” she said. “[I was] very ill suited and ill equipped for it at the time because I hadn’t worked in the industry — I was working for a cardiologist then. So it took me quite a long time to figure it out, but once I did — it’s an interesting business.”
Years later Taylor is the owner of the former Gloria Stevens club, now known as The Woman’s Workout Company. Recently though, the gym has seen another change: It is now a training-centric gym focused on group workouts versus one-on-one.
“A couple years even before I had got here, that change had started,” said Chris Russo, the general manager of The Woman’s Workout Company. “We really, over the past two, to two and a half years, have pushed that even further. We do a lot of team training, small group training [and] less one-on-one training.”
According to Russo, one of the club’s most popular group training programs is its boxing program — a program not commonly found at women-only facilities.
When you first walk into the facility, you’ll see the lobby and the front desk of course, but you’ll also see the training room full of kettlebells, TRX straps and more. The motto of The Woman’s Workout Company is, “Strong is beautiful.”
“Really, the philosophy behind that is strong is beautiful,” said Russo. “We want to make women stronger. It doesn’t matter where you are today, we’re going to help you get stronger, be fitter, feel better, and all in that safe, comfortable environment for women.”
One of the ways the gym looks to help women get strong is through its “Fat Tax.” By working out a minimum of eight times a month at the gym, a member will receive a discounted rate. “That’s where the tagline comes, ‘The more you workout, the less you pay,’” said Russo.
“The prospects at the time can’t believe that we’re going to financially reward them to be successful,” said Taylor. “They can’t believe that by using the gym they’ll pay less. And you have to realize that’s why gyms fail: They’re quick to take [members’] money, but there’s no one willing to commit to the members’ success. … We’re doing whatever it takes for them to use the gym, to get the results they want.”
For the future, The Woman’s Workout Company already has plans in place. Russo will officially be buying the club from Taylor in the fall, and will look to keep opening additional gyms. But The Woman’s Workout Company’s core will remain the same. “What our mission to keep going forward with is to open more of its training gyms for women — keeping it women’s only and just keep pushing them forward,” said Russo.
By Heather Hartmann