Why South End’s Newest Gym Has Members Choosing to Come Back Every Day

January 16, 2018 10:36 pm

As 18 sweat-covered people and three smiling trainers wrap up the Saturday morning TRX Circuit class at Jamie Scott Fitness South End, the bright lobby around the corner is abuzz with conversation. People in their twenties and thirties talk about their plans for the day while they wait to join the next workout. One person who is stopping by holds a baby and another grasps the leashes of two small dogs, making the open space feel more like a local brewery than a gym. This laid back, stay-a-while mood at South End’s newest gym isn’t a coincidence, it’s created intentionally.

“Our model is really meant to engage people and create a family-like atmosphere,” says Jamie Scott, the founder of Jamie Scott Fitness. “It turns out where people come in every day, which is very rare for a gym.”

Scott, a former University of South Carolina football player with fifteen years of experience in training, set out to create a different type of gym when he opened the first Jamie Scott Fitness in Columbia, South Carolina.

“I noticed that there wasn’t a program that truly offered conditioning that really changes and keeps people engaged,” says Scott.

After the first Jamie Scott Fitness took off, Scott expanded with an indoor cycling studio called SWEAT, which has a location in Columbia and another in Charlotte’s Park Road Shopping Center. In late 2017, Scott brought his training programs to South End through the first Jamie Scott Fitness location in Charlotte.

Scott’s training model uses a wide variety of classes to offer one location where someone can get all of the differing types of workouts they need – everything from strength to stretching under one roof. The South End location currently has 25 classes per week but once they get settled, the plan is to have over 50 classes each week.

“If you have a membership here, you can’t come to a High Intensity Interval Class every day. It’s just too much,” says Laura Judd, a registered dietitian who works at JSF South End. “Instead, you can come to cycling, you can come to yoga, you can come to a recovery class.”

The mix of classes isn’t the only thing that sets JSF apart. In everything the gym provides – workout classes, personal training and nutritional services – Scott, Judd, and the rest of the staff are dedicated to focusing on health and wellness as opposed to losing weight. Each of the instructors, called motivators, talk about food and fitness in a way that emphasizes strength and well-being and the nutritional services are intended to teach people how to eat well instead of suggesting calorie counting or restrictions.

“We want people to include fitness in their lives for health reasons and for fun,” says Judd.

To encourage an enjoyable, engaging experience, JSF switches their classes quarterly and uses things like ropes, TRX systems and outdoor exercises to mix things up. When spring arrives, classes using the South End neighborhood, and potentially the Rail Trail, will be added  to the schedule alongside the more traditional classes like spin and yoga.

Along with a constantly evolving schedule, JSF uses MyZone heart rate technology to keep people motivated to come back and continue to be active. Each person’s heart rate monitor syncs with a phone app to track progress and show how their cardiovascular strength has improved. During classes, everyone’s heart is displayed a screen, helping people who are working out push themselves and allowing the trainers to create an optimal workout.

“I know it can sound intimidating to know your heart rate is up on a screen,” says Scott. “The truth of the matter is, everybody in class is really just trying to work on themselves.”

Scott designs each of the classes to ensure they’re safe, effective and interesting to keep people coming back regularly, citing that many of their members come in almost every day. Since opening the South End location, Scott and his staff have seen a positive response from the neighborhood with many full classes and members joining in their mission of creating an encouraging, welcoming atmosphere.

“It’s more than just a gym,” says Scott. “We are a lifestyle.”

Jamie Scott Fitness South End can be found at 200 West Tremont. On-street parking is available as well as parking in the Design Center parking ramp, which can be validated at JSF. Find more information about JSF here.

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