Slowed down by the pandemic but undeterred, a husband-wife team sees an opening for a new gym concept in the Slip.
Square Code Fitness plans to officially open early next year at 1315 E. Main St., though the gym is currently offering classes.
Owners Matt and Kellie Mega are betting their gym can set itself apart with a personalized, high-end experience.
The gym does individual assessments to cater its programs to each member, and classes attempt to mimic the experience of having a personal trainer with small session groups of nine participants and a coach. The gym’s equipment includes rowers, bikes and benches, as well as battle ropes, kettlebells and slam balls.
“It really is a boutique fitness model,” said Matt. “It’s about building a community and specific type of training. A lot of what the big box gym is, is access to equipment, not so much programming.”
Classes target different energy systems in the body, and exercise formats vary from day to day. Mega said the idea is that the program improves things like a member’s cardio-respiratory fitness, strength and mobility while it limiting over-training and injury risk. The routines were developed by the gym’s founders, with Mega leaning on his master’s in exercise physiology to craft the exercises.
“This is something we developed ourselves and it is deeply based in science,” Mega said. “Each class hits a different energy system.”
The gym bills itself as a destination for all fitness levels across a wide age range. A motivating force behind the concept is to stop and reverse members’ decreased fitness level brought on by adulthood and the ever-increasing mound of responsibilities that come along with it.
“They’ve spent a decade or two raising their kids or working and they either didn’t have the time or the quality (of exercise) they needed,” Mega said.
Regular monthly rates range from $89 for eight classes, $129 for 12 classes and $169 for unlimited classes. The gym also offers non-membership class packages from $25 for one class up to $359 for 20 classes.
Matt declined to share the investment put into the gym, which has been two years in the making, but said it was substantial.
The coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench into the gym’s opening schedule, which had been planned for the spring. Social distancing concerns led the Megas to slash their class sizes from 20 people down to 10 people.
“We pivoted. Originally, we would plan to have more people in a class,” Matt said.
Matt has spent 20 years in the medical diagnostic and pharmaceutical industry, and plans to continue to work remotely for a California firm. His wife works at the gym full-time and runs its day-to-day operations.
The gym occupies a 2,300-square-foot space. The Megas are the only trainers at this time, though there are plans to increase the trainer headcount over time. The gym has one full-time marketing employee.
The competitive local fitness industry, while hit by the coronavirus, has still produced its share of new concepts popping up around town in recent months. Hour Cycle Studio, a stationary cycling studio, recently opened in Manchester. The owner of Fan gym ReDefine RVA opened a juice bar and cafe to complement the gym in October.