The minds behind Kailua-Kona’s newest workout facility acknowledge there are a few other places to break a sweat in town, but they are adamant that Fitness Forever Training Center fills a void in West Hawaii.
Chris Green, the 4,000-square-foot-facility’s master trainer, says the gym wants to provide a more personalized experience for its members, with a focus on functional fitness.
“We try to approach fitness and our teaching of fitness from a holistic standpoint,” Green said. “Mental preparation, stress management and nutrition are all things we try to incorporate.”
Ellen Hiromasa and Sean “Peaman” Pagett are the co-owners of Fitness Forever, located on Kaiwi Street, near its intersection with Kuakini Highway.
Hiromasa is a veteran instructor and group trainer with multiple certifications. Pagett — who is better known by his Peaman moniker — is the founder of Frozen Pea Productions and a well-known endurance sport enthusiast.
The gym has been nearly ready to go since April, but faced an uphill battle getting permits for the on-site bathrooms and showers. The gym has been serving clients the last few months, but with the permits finally in hand, the gym is expected to officially open in September.
The facility, painted a motivating bright green, boasts a half-dozen top-of-the-line treadmills, free weights, multiple high-definition televisions and a variety of other multiuse gym fixtures. The gym also offers private shower rooms for its members.
Green said they have tried to distance themselves from traditional, single-use workout machines because of the focus on functional fitness. He describes functional fitness as training the body for activities performed in daily life and using corrective exercises to overcome imbalances and distortions in the body.
“One of our favorite words here is ‘mindfulness,’” Green said. “As we are moving throughout the day, we have to be mindful of things like our kinetic alignment and posture. Practicing those things over a period of time created those functional patterns, making you healthier and less prone to things like injury. “
Pagett, who has dealt with his own health struggles in recent years, has seen the benefit of functional fitness in his life. He said kinetic alignment and being aware of your movements can be applied to everything from a walk around the parking lot to folding laundry.
“When you are in the gym, it is a very good time to get the brain and the body to connect,” Pagett said. “So much of our day is spent trying to disconnect and much of our day becomes an autopilot-like repetition. Thinking about every little movement we are doing and seeing how it applies adds to the exercise.”
There is also a separate room for classes and group training sessions. The training center hosts a variety of classes — from TRX and spinning classes, to Les Mills programs including the Grit Series and Body Vive — every day of the week.
The facility leaders are excited to offer Les Mills Born to Move classes for keiki ages 4 to 12. The classes will be previewed Saturday at 10:15 a.m. for ages 4 to 5 and at 11 a.m. for keiki 8 to 12. Class demos will be held Aug. 30 at 10:15 a.m. for ages 6 to 7 and 11 a.m. for keiki 8 to 12.
“Starting young can set you off on a good path,” Pagett said.
Where the gym truly separates itself is in the services it offers that are not visible on the floor and its emphasis on personalization.
“If you don’t have the foundation built properly, it makes no sense to build more. We want to see what is going on inside the body and inside the mind,” Green said. “When customers first come in we do an assessment of their fitness level, a postural and looking at the client’s motivation. We try to break down the reasons they want to reach these goals.”
Green admits the experience might not be for everybody, but says that is the beauty in what the gym is offering.
“If someone is happy with their fitness experience, we want them to stay where they are at. Some people like coming into the gym, not being bothered, and getting on the treadmill. That is totally fine,” Green said. “We want the people who do not feel they have found their fitness solution, know what they want, and are committed to an active lifestyle at the gym and away from it.”
Because of the variety of what the gym has to offer and the focus on personalization, Green was reluctant to commit to a specific price point for membership.
“We don’t want anyone to pay for a service that they are not using,” he said.
A membership can range from a simple gym pass, to including more personal training sessions, or an inclusive pass to all the classes the gym offers.
The facility is also serving as the first official headquarters for the Peaman races, something that has not existed in the past.
“We never had a sign in the window like that before,” Pagett said. “It opens a lot of new doors.”
While there is a focus on personalizing the individual experiences at the gym, the gym is hoping the smaller space and supportive environment will build a strong community of members.
“With the Peaman races here now, it gets all our members together for something healthy once a month,” Green said.
Passion is another word stressed by the gym’s instructors, and that passion carries from the gym and the desire for a healthy lifestyle, to the community and the passion to make a positive impact. Fitness Forever has already set up a small satellite fitness center at the Regency at Hualalai, sponsored a King’s Swim age group award and assisted with Peaman events.
For more information, find Fitness Forever on Facebook or call 498-4548.