Allen Sanford doesn’t want others to feel as awkward and out of place as he did.
When Sanford first started his fitness journey, he remembers feeling totally lost when it came to what to wear, and what to do when he was at the gym. So his goal when he opens WIP Fitness this summer near Apache Mall in Rochester is to make sure it’s inviting for everyone.
“I want it to be a place where you don’t go, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go to the gym today,’” he said. “I want it to be, ‘I get to go to the gym today.’ I want them to look forward to seeing friends, to working out and getting their sweat on. I want people to look forward to going to the gym.”
WIP stands for Work In Progress, and Sanford said this applies to those who are new to the fitness world as well as to those who are veterans and looking for a new place to work out.
Sanford is currently a mechanic at Adamson Motors in Rochester, but will soon quit to make WIP Fitness his full-time, devoted occupation. He plans to offer strength training, cardio kickboxing and bungee fitness at WIP Fitness, and hopes to open sometime in July.
The bungee fitness option is unique to Rochester, and in fact isn’t available within 100 miles of Rochester, Sanford said. He likens it to a “bouncy house for adults.” He’ll start with 15 bungees and can have a total of 25 depending on demand, he said. “We’ll work our way up,” he said.
The bungees will hang on swivels from the ceiling and will rotate 360 degrees. “You will definitely leave with a smile on your face,” Sanford said. “It’s fun. And not to mention, you will burn anywhere from 600 to 900 calories a session.”
WIP Fitness will be located in the former Warner Stellian building, at 1318 Apache Dr. SW. The building there is 7,500 square feet with ample parking.
Sanford is a known commodity in the local fitness world as he’s been teaching kickboxing for nine years. He said there’s no “bad work out area in Rochester, but they all have a specialty.” Some focus on weights, others on cardio. WIP Fitness will offer a variety of work-outs.
He’ll host nine classes a day and is hiring 12 instructors. His biggest draw, he said, will definitely be his inclusive approach to working out in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere.
“Sometimes when you come into a gym, they make you feel uncomfortable,” he said. “I’m going to have a zero tolerance policy for that. Leave negativity at the door. I want a true, fun experience when you come to my gym. The work-outs will be tough, but everything can be modified. If you’ve never worked out before I’ll have a modification for you.”
“When I first started working out, it was scary,” he went on. “I didn’t know what to do. I needed guidance. That’s what I want to give people if they’ve never done it before. Or if you’re seasoned and go to the gym daily, no matter where you are on your fitness journey, I can help.”
Sanford’s goal is to have around 200 members. As far as cost, he will offer a special for the first 100 joiners who will get their membership for $1,100 a year for life. After those initial 100 joiners, the regular price for those who join for a year will be $130 a month, $145 a month if you join for six months and $155 a month if you join month by month.
“This will be my full-time occupation,” he said. “I’m putting my attention into it to make sure my business is a success. I’m giving it my undivided attention.”