AI-enabled fitness studio opening in Grand Rapids

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Outfitted with computerized machines instead of traditional equipment, The Exercise Coach’s robotic exercise technology is combined with the guidance of certified coaches to provide a unique approach to fitness for anyone, regardless of current fitness levels. Courtesy The Exercise Coach

The Exercise Coach, a “smart” fitness studio, will open in Grand Rapids on Wednesday.

Rockford resident Thomas Shrader and business partner Mary Frances Cline announced the opening of their first Exercise Coach franchise at 820 Forest Hill Ave. Suite A, Grand Rapids, serving residents of Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Ada, Cascade and Rockford.

Outfitted with computerized machines instead of traditional equipment, The Exercise Coach’s robotic exercise technology is combined with the guidance of certified coaches to provide a unique approach to fitness for anyone, regardless of current fitness levels.

“We are different from big-box gyms as our boutique fitness studios have always been small, private and super clean. This remains our core offering,” said Brian Cygan, Exercise Coach founder and CEO. “Additionally, we have adapted our already hygienic studio environment policy to further mitigate contagion for clients and staff.”

The Exercise Coach Grand Rapids also is a safer fitness option than big-box gyms, as there is one-on-one personal training with no more than four clients in the studio at a time. Additionally, workouts are scheduled by appointment only, and employees undergo temperature checks before beginning their shifts and wear face masks at all times.

Shrader, a longtime fitness enthusiast, said he noticed much of people’s fitness practices are not sustainable for reasons including finding the time in a busy schedule due to long-term due to injury or just wear and tear on the joints.

Shrader’s father was in an accident over 10 years ago and uses a wheelchair but continues to live an active lifestyle, which is a source of inspiration for Shrader.

“My father’s overall fitness and health allowed him not only to survive the accident but to lead a fairly active lifestyle including fishing every day in the summer and winter when he is in Florida,” he said. “The ability to maintain muscle truly does contribute to overall wellness, and I have witnessed it firsthand with my family.”

Shrader has worked in consumer packaged goods software sales for the past 25 years. He intends to eventually work at the fitness studio full time but will continue to work in the tech industry for a few more years. Shrader also owns an apartment complex, as well as a campground.

Business partner Cline is a 10-year certified yoga instructor with expertise in marketing and health and wellness.

The Exercise Coach Grand Rapids will be the first of three locations; the others will be located in Holland and Lansing/Okemos area over the next two years.

Founded in 2000, The Exercise Coach began franchising in 2011 and currently has approximately 100 studios operating nationwide. The Exercise Coach began its international expansion in Japan in 2017 and has 32 locations there today.

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