By Ryan Cornell
STEPHENS CITY -- Gyms can be a scary place for the novice workout warrior. Beefy guys in sleeveless shirts grunt as they lift hundred-pound barbells. Bass-heavy rap blares from speakers and practically shakes the walls. An ever-present smell of sweat drips off the workout equipment and lockers.
The stereotypes might hold true at most places where muscled bros check the first item off their Gym-Tan-Laundry to-do lists, but this isn't the case at Sherando Family Fitness Club in Stephens City, where parents and kids can exercise together.
Sherando Fitness owner Rob Campbell said he tries to focus more on attracting families and creating a non-intimidating atmosphere.
"We don't really set the atmosphere to cater to bodybuilders or power lifters," he said. "We do have them, but we just don't cater to that type of environment. It's a lot more relaxed."
It's the reason why "family" is in the name. It's also why the gym offers childcare and kid's yoga and fitness classes, open to 6- to 12-year-olds who are too young to get a gym membership.
"A lot of parents will come in and say their kid is not active or that they need to lose some weight," said Campbell, who also coaches a Winchester youth football team.
Campbell, who worked for three years as a manager for Anytime Fitness in Front Royal and Winchester before opening Sherando Fitness in October 2012, served as a platoon sergeant with the Marine Corps for eight years. There, he was in charge of designing fitness activities for his platoon, including morning runs and obstacle courses.
His experience extends to working at a Gold's Gym and as a private personal trainer in Baltimore.
About 700 yearly members and 100 members are a part of the 13,000-square-foot gym, which boasts 11 treadmills, eight bikes, eight elliptical machines, a couple of stairclimbers, a variety of weight machines and free weights and two hanging boxing bags.
The two most popular classes offered are Zumba and cardio bodybuilding, Campbell said, but the gym also offers classes in cycling, Pilates, taekwondo, jazzercise, crosstraining and Tabata, a high-intensity interval training with an 8-10 second break between each hyper-intense 20-second exercise. He said boxing classes start in October.
"With a gym, there's a lot of moving parts and a lot of personnel to manage, but it's rewarding," Campbell said. "You see people come in who don't know what they can accomplish and never really tried. A month later, they got this stat sheet on all the things they've done, simply because they were comfortable enough here to do it."
Campbell recommended that people should consult with their doctor and get an assessment by a trainer before they join a health club or start a fitness regimen.
- Where: 201 Centre Drive, Suite 111, Stephens City
- When: 5 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
- Cost: $25 per month for yearly rate; $35 per month for pay-as-you-go; special group rates available for military, police, firefighters and corporate rates for companies
- Call: 540-869-7433
- Online: sherandofitness.com
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org