The idea for opening a gym came when a good friend gave me a few guest passes to a local franchise studio where she was a member. My daughter and I used our guest passes and while I liked the fact that the studio offered a women only environment, that was about the extent of my interest. It was then that I began to research what was available to women who would rather not workout in a coed gym. I realized that a true gym for women did not exist in our area. Coming from a household with business owners on both sides of the family, I had the entrepreneurial bug as well. I love a good project and quickly became excited about locating every women’s gym I could visit between my hometown and the next vacation destination my family and I had planned. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with franchise operators and owner/operators as well. I quickly decided a franchise was not the route I wanted to take. I began planning a “women’s only” gym that would better serve women than the franchise I visited that only offered a limited, static routine. At many studio gyms, there was no progression in the workout program. Someone who was a long time member continued to do the same workout on hydraulic machines as a newbie coming in for her first workout.
Wishing to offer something better than was available anywhere near the tri-county area, I opened BeneFit for Women in Ringgold October 16, 2000. The gym opened in the old Bill Smith & Son Tire Center which is now The Liberty Tax and the Animal Hospital. Later we relocated on the other side of the creek by Babb Lumber Company. Interestingly, since opening in 2000, five women’s franchise studios have opened in the area gone out of business. Although not being part of a franchise can be difficult because of not having the benefit of national branding and advertising, being local and autonomous definitely has its advantages. I have the freedom to change the operations of the gym over time as trends change and needs and demands present themselves. This has been both rewarding and challenging, keeping BeneFit for Women unique from other women’s gyms and coeds.
Being a women’s only gym with selectorized pin plate machines was the initial differentiation. Another innovative concept for BeneFit was going to member access 24/7. Women are busy. Some need to be able to workout at 5:00 am before work or late in the evening after work, ball games, art classes, dance practice and homework.
At BeneFit for Women, we also stay current by offering equipment that most large co-ed gyms often do not have. Our members are using the Whole Body Vibration machine for joint health, improved circulation, and lymphatic stimulation and enjoy the Concept 2 rower for cardio along with treadmills, recumbent bikes, spin bikes and ellipticals. Variety is very important in getting results quickly and effectively. Therefore we offer, at no additional charge, structured and progressive workouts that are very productive.
Since October 2000 in Ringgold, we have experienced many innovative improvements and developments as the market changes. There was a time when women working out involved pink and purple dumbbells and a step platform. Today, we know that men and women should be doing workouts that are more similar than different. Women too, should be focusing on making their muscles bigger and stronger. Along with cardio, women need to lift weights to change body composition, promote bone health and increase metabolism. Of course we all “BeneFit” from regular exercise, good food choices, lots of water and adequate protein.
I love being in Ringgold and feel blessed to have so many wonderful members who have become friends. I am always encouraged and delighted when a previous member comes back to rejoin. After all, she is still a BeneFitter. I appreciate the very first members who joined when we opened in 2000. I am also happy with the new members and all of the Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit ladies who have joined and brought in friends and family members.
I enjoy helping each woman take the steps necessary to realize her goals. She may be trying to lose weight without the boring and monotony of her old methods of working out. She may desire to regain flexibility and muscle strength for a more active lifestyle. She may want to get some muscle definition to look better in her clothes or to prepare for the beach. She may simply want to have the energy and stamina to play with her children or great grandchildren. Whatever she wants, we are here to guide and help her realize that she can do it! We all have to start somewhere, and the best place for women may just be BeneFit for Women.