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TRIFIT: Community, Camaraderie and Personal Excellence


August 2021 Club of the Month, presented by ABC Fitness Solutions:

TRIFIT, est. 2005

TRIFIT was founded in 2005 on the principles of community, camaraderie and personal excellence. These principles were paramount to the gym navigating the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, using them as a guiding light to problem solve and continue serving the community through 15 months of mandated shutdowns. 

Here, TRIFIT founder Gina Baski discusses the importance of the California Fitness Alliance, the GYMS ACT, future industry challenges, and more.

Tell me a bit about TRIFIT and what makes it stand out from others. 

We are passionate about creating new fitness opportunities for our members to help guide them towards discovering their true athletic potential. We are the only full-service health club on the westside that is owned and operated by athletes, and we are also the largest independently owned health club in the Santa Monica, Palisades and Brentwood area. Post COVID, our re-imagined gym layout offers members a spacious, clean, and well-considered environment. We truly believe that exercise is a lifestyle, it is an integral part of a healthy, productive and happy life. Our hope is that everyone who walks through our doors will be inspired to venture out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to pursue our fitness activities with a sense of accomplishment, discipline and enjoyment.

TRIFIT provides a wide variety of offerings to engage different lifestyles at all fitness levels. Our services, facilities, and amenities include a fully equipped outdoor gym, tennis, squash, swimming pool, yoga studio, weight room, group exercise classes, TRX, dry sauna, steam room, and free valet parking for up to three hours. What makes us unique is that in addition to the large selection of indoor services, we also offer weekly outdoor activities which include trail run workouts, group bike rides and open water swim training; these are all free and open to the public.  We also sponsor many of Los Angeles’ largest fitness clubs, races and nonprofit fitness related organizations. 

Tell me about your involvement in the California Fitness Alliance (CFA) and what all you’ve been able to achieve. How are you helping better the fitness community and industry at large through the CFA? 

I joined the Board of the CFA late, I therefore owe a debt of gratitude to everyone on the Board that preceded, they’ve worked and fought so hard for access to exercise for all Californians. There were four CFA goals from the start:

  • Safely Reopening all our facilities for the benefit of our members and dedicated employees.
  • Giving Fitness a Voice with a seat at the policy-making table — now and in the future — on issues that affect our members, employees and businesses.
  • Supporting Relief efforts for the industry.
  • Affirmation that Fitness is Essential so that our industry would be protected going forward.

In the end, safe and equitable access to exercise for all Californians is what we have called for, and now Governor Newsom has reestablished the Council on Wellness and Physical Fitness under Government Code Section 12941. The Council will focus on promoting and advancing physical and behavioral health care, education, and youth sports in our communities. Looking forward, the CFA will be aggressively engaged with the Council which will include at least 1 member of the CFA Advisory board.

How does the work you’re doing through CFA and Newton’s CA Fitness reform impact the fitness community and future of fitness? How will this impact the future for TRIFIT LA as you see it?

This initiative will help ensure that both the physical and mental well-being of Californians is a priority. If big box retailers and liquor stores are deemed essential, so too should be our health.  I have two teenage sons, and I never again want to witness the social and emotional ramifications brought on by extreme isolation, and limited access to exercise or mental health services. We truly believe that physical activity is essential for the human body, it is what helps to create homeostasis. Sound body, sound mind is not hyperbole, it is necessary for optimal functioning of all human beings.

What is the biggest challenge the industry and your gym will need to overcome in the near future? What industry trends are you predicting on the horizon? 

Our work with the Governor’s office has been a tangible success that we are very proud of. As the CFA said in our public statement, the establishment of this Council does not lessen the financial and emotional pain of the past 15 months. The CFA remains fully focused and committed to getting enough sponsors in Congress for passage of the GYMS Act, a bill which would provide direct financial relief for the industry. The CFA, along with IHRSA, Community Gyms Coalition, and others have helped secure 143 co-sponsors in the House. It was an enormous undertaking to reach out and plead our case to these House co-sponsors, one by one. Many of our U.S. Representatives easily signed on to both the Restaurant and Live Venue Bill but have refused to sign on to the GYMS Act. It makes us wonder, are our livelihoods less important? In California, gyms were the first to close, and the last to open. We have lost 60% of our paying members but still have 100% of our overhead. We not only have back rent to pay, but we must figure out how, moving forward, we can cover costs. We all must overcome tremendous loss by continuing to reinvent the fitness experience.

Beyond this, what else is key to your gym’s success? 

Since we are family owned, we have always been able to care about our people more than the bottom line. I think it cannot be said in simpler terms. We would not be where we are today without our incredible community of loyal members. All the personal relationships we have built over the past 15 years is what fuels our passion to continue doing what we love. This is what motivates us to continue pushing forward after such an incredibly challenging year. We firmly believe that TRIFIT offers everyone not only the tools and environment they need, but also a supportive community, to live a happier and healthier life. 

What’s the best piece of leadership advice you could give to other operators? 

It isn’t a stretch to say that the biggest silver lining from this past year is to remember that in times of adversity, when we want to run away, we must lean in and advocate for what is right. This year has been the toughest of my life. There were so many times when I second-guessed myself, so many days when I was ready to throw in the towel and give up. Getting up every day and exercising is the one thing that kept me motivated, centered, and able to continue this fight.  As fitness operators, united we are stronger, and we should never stop fighting for the health of all Americans across all age groups and socioeconomic demographics. We are more committed than ever to providing a safe space for all people to coexist, workout hard, and grow stronger together. My best piece of advice is that we all need to remember why we got into this business, it is because we are passionate about fitness and helping people live their best life.

Created in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions. Visit abcfitness.com for more information on how they can help your fitness business.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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