From Social Club to Health Club
Miami Lakes, just a few miles from South Beach and one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in Florida, is home to Shula’s Athletic Club. It has been one of the state’s premier fitness facilities for over three decades and fits in perfectly with the area’s beach scene.
“Our club provides a welcoming environment and a team of professionals who advise and assist clients with creating a fitness regimen,” said Anthony Artiles, the general manager of Shula’s Athletic Club.
The first version of Shula’s Athletic Club, however, looked a lot different than the one members see today. “When the club opened in 1982 it had nine large racquetball courts,” said Artiles. “It was less of a gym and more of a social club, with a restaurant and bar onsite.”
After starting as a primarily social destination, Shula’s Athletic Club ownership made the decision to become primarily a fitness facility in order to reach more prospective members.
“Over the 1980s, some big changes were made to the facility,” said Artiles. “By the end of the 1990s, the racquetball courts were gone, a second story had been built, and children’s sports programs were introduced — it was an innovative move. The club transformed from social club to family-friendly fitness.”
Now, Shula’s Athletic Club is a full-service fitness facility. “We offer a variety of fitness equipment and sports facilities that allow for a range of abilities,” said Artiles. “The club provides a variety of exercise programs.”
The wide selection of Shula’s Athletic Club fitness programs includes aquatics, group exercise, cardio kickboxing, Pilates, yoga, Spinning, step classes, dance classes, gymanstics, tennis classes, swim classes, martial arts and aerobics, for example.
At the end of the day, Shula’s Athletic Club robust slate of fitness programs and services, as well as its updated facility and equipment, are all moving parts in the member engagement machine. And that engagement is meant for every person to walk through Shula’s Athletic Club doors.
“We provide services for all ages,” said Artiles. “We offer youth sports programs, personal and group training for teens and adults, and Silver Sneakers classes for the older population.”
Even with its fitness offerings, however, Shula’s Athletic Club hasn’t forgotten its roots as a hub for social gatherings. “We host social events for the members, as well as fitness events to benefit local non-profit organizations: cancer research organizations, Toys for Tots, His House Ministries and many others,” said Artiles.
At the heart of every program, event and innovation at Shula’s Athletic Club is the member experience. The club’s management and staff seek to create the best experience possible, and this effort is reflected in the facility’s daily operations.
“We always strive to provide excellent customer service to all members and guests, from the minute they walk through our doors to the time they leave our facility,” said Artiles. “We provide cutting-edge services by staying current with the industry, and differentiate ourselves from other clubs by offering services to the entire family.”
Over the last 36 years, adaptation has been critical to Shula’s Athletic Club success.
“We have kept on adapting to the constant changes in the fitness industry by adding new equipment, constantly updating the facility and adding new group training programs, such as boxing,” said Artiles. “Ongoing renovations and innovations are essential in our industry.”
By embracing elements of its past — like an onsite restaurant and scheduled social events — and integrating new fitness trends, Shula’s Athletic Club has positioned itself for another strong 30 years to come.