Fitness options abound in Fort Mill

Special to the Fort Mill TimesMarch 25, 2014 

— Spring is here and the wait to lose weight is over.

For those who need the motivation of a gym or fitness center, Fort Mill has a wide range of options. Whether you’re looking for a casual workout or to train for a specific sport, local facilities offer equipment and experts to help get the job done. Here’s what’s available:


Curves, at Crossroads Plaza in the Tega Cay Shopping Center at the corner of Gold Hill Road and Hwy. 160 West, is open only to women . The Curves crew and members have a saying: “No men, make up, or mirrors.”

The facility offers workouts with Jillian Michaels via large screen TV in a broadcast made special for Curves.

There are no weights. Curves uses hydraulic resistance machines for most of the workout.

“The harder you push, the harder it becomes to push,” said Sandy Lambert, owner of the Fort Mill Curves location. Since the hydraulic machine is like a push/pull work out, women can combine their bicep work out with a triceps workout – or do the same with any other opposing muscle group.

“We have the smoothest workout next to water aerobics,” Lambert said. “Members push themselves to bring up their heart rate. Our Curves Smart program tracks your progress and challenges you.”

She added that the Cleveland Clinic, whose heart program was ranked as the best in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report, endorses Curves.

“We have a weight loss program that works,” Lambert said.

The John Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, also endorses Curves because of it’s proven weight loss program.

Lambert said rates vary depending on the package. The price is less for a 12-month membership, but members can pay month-to-month.

Curves is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday is a shorter day, and Sunday it’s closed.

The Gym at 214 Main

The Gym, at 214 Main St., is a 24-hour facility with a free weights and machines. It has been open for five years.

“We are a neighborhood gym,” manager Emily White said. “We keep our gym clean, and do quarterly maintenance.”

White, who has been working at the facility for two and-a-half years, said her facility is convenient for members not only because it’s open 24/7, but also offers locker rooms with showers.

“We have the best rates with highly certified trainers,” White said. “They specialize in transforming you. Our trainers can change your lifestyle.”

Jovon Times and Chris Rose are two trainers at The Gym. Times offers nutritional counseling, and Rose has Army training. White said the trainers can train body builders, marathon runners and anyone who wants to stay active.

The Gym also has a licensed massage therapist. Members can take the Jazzercise class mornings and evenings.

Members can join The Gym for $9.99 a month.

Faith Fitness

Faith Fitness Studio on Pleasant Road, run by competitive bodybuilder Emmett Ballard, is more group-based. His members train with him to get ready for obstacle runs like the Warrior Dash, or to train for a 5K. Ballard has been running his facility for more than two years. He has a degree in business, and he has studied nutrition.

“The Boot Camp Program is to create a unique community, and get everyone to feel comfortable,” Ballard said. “We get everyone to feel like they are important and not just a number.”

He said his group classes keep clients from feeling lostby keeping each other motivated. Faith Fitness also offers personal trainers who teach everything from yoga to mixed martial arts.

The Boot Camp is $129 a month for a 12-month contract and $159 to go month-to-month. Membership includes an online program, nutrition and workouts. Personal and group training packages range from $12 to $55 per session. Everyone gets a free week trial.

The hours at Faith Fitness are from 5 a.m. to noon and 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for appointments.

Planet Fitness

Next door to Curves is Planet Fitness. This facility used to be a Food Lion, so it’s larger than most gyms. The facility has free weights and weight machines and dozens of pieces of cardio equipment, from treadmills and bikes to elliptical machines.

Planet Fitness is known for being “judgment free.”

“We have had people with health issues coming here in tears because they were afraid they would be judged,” said Vivian Freed, a personal trainer. “New members design their own program and we get them set to meet their goals and needs.”

Freed said Planet Fitness is good for beginners and those worried about going to gyms.

Planet Fitness offers a 30-minute full-body circuit and 12-minute abs circuit. Freed said these workouts are designed to give a members a variety, especially when time is limited.

This facility doesn’t cater to body builders.

“We have the Lunk Alarm for those slamming weights,” said Stephen Summerlin, assistant manager. “It’s our way of telling someone to stop throwing weights.”

Freed added that there are two packages at Planet Fitness. For $10 a month, members get the floor and personal training. They can upgrade to the $19.99 plan, which adds hydro massage beds, massage chairs and tanning to the membership.

Planet Fitness opens at 5 a.m. on Monday and closes at 9 p.m. on Friday. Saturday and Sunday hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Carolina Pilates

Carolina Pilates, on Gold Hill Road, is owned and run by Terry Shaw. She has been in the area for almost 10 years.

“Pilates are named after Joseph Pilates,” Shaw said. “He was expected to die from rheumatic fever when he was a child, but he (saved) himself” through a form of exercise he developed.

Shaw has been an instructor since 2001. She got her start teaching in Mecklenburg and York and has certifications in Cadillac, Performer, Stability Chairs and more. She trained the Carolina Panthers from 2004 through 2010, and their cheerleaders from 2008 through 2012.

“Pilates is putting your body in the most bio mechanically, efficient way to work an everyday life,” Shaw said. “Pilates will help prevent injury by lengthening and strengthening. People laughed, and said Pilates would never last.”

The sessions are $55 for an hour. Clients can train alone or in groups. The groups are trained using circuit training. Four or five clients work out on one machine each for a certain amount of time, and then switch off.

Carolina Pilates hours of operation are by appointment. Call 548-8775.

Academy Fitness

Academy Fitness, on Academy Street in downtown Fort Mill, is group-oriented. Tim Stuckey has been running his facility for almost two years, but he started training in Fort Mill eight years ago at the Leroy Springs Recreation Complex and The Gym at 214 Main.

“I opened my own gym, and got equipment for those who want to cross fit,” Stuckey said.

He served in law enforcement and the military prior to becoming a trainer.

He trains more than 100 people a day and likes to keep his clients grouped by similarities. For example, he keeps moms with moms, teachers with teachers.

“I like to get to know my people,” Stuckey said. “My people never leave me, but if they do, they always come back.”

He trains runners and other recreational athletes.

“My members will learn balance, increase stamina and strength and will learn injury prevention,” Stuckey said.

He keeps people moving, for instance, a run on the treadmill, pull ups, crunches with a medicine ball and back workouts on different machines in one circuit.

Academy Fitness is a 24-hour facility. Stuckey is there every day during some weeks. Usually, he gets started at 4:45 a.m. and stops at 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. His rates vary depending on if the member wants just use of the gym, or if they want training, too.

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