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The Forum gym celebrates 20 years

Owners Matt Marsh and Steve Safrit opened a Gold’s Gym franchise in 1996 and maintained that relationship until 2006, when they rebranded the location as The Forum. The business has operated at the same location throughout and recently began celebrating its 20th anniversary.

General Manager Rayna Gardner said, “It is unusual for anyone in the fitness industry to keep the same owners and stay in business for 20 years. Leaving Gold’s Gym allowed Matt and Steve to put more money back into the business instead of paying franchise fees.”

April 1 is a target date for many of the changes happening at the Forum. Already, new and extended hours are in place. “Commit on Your Own Terms” is the latest new focus that will fully be implemented in April. Yearly membership contracts are still available at a cost savings, but now Forum members can choose to maintain their membership for any period they want. Gardner said, “We want to make fitness personal. Everybody is different and we want them to get started right. Whether they stay with us for a month or a year, our staff will be fully engaged. Personal trainer time will be a part of the mix either way.”

Other additions expected by the end of April are new spin bikes and an ab circuit. An outdoor training circuit is also in the planning stages. Push up, pull up and dip bars will all be built along with some obstacles yet to be determined. Gardner said, “We plan a climbing wall and more. Large tires and atlas stones are already here. The outdoor training circuit will be a permanent structure out back near our volleyball court.”

Recent class additions, still exclusive to the Forum in this area, are P90X Live and Metabolic Effect. Metabolic Effect is a short and intense class of just 30 minutes, allowing members to quickly get their workout and return to work. Best results come when the participant abstains from simple sugars and alcohol for 24-48 hours after the class.

Although challenge classes have shown uneven results in the past, one of The Forum’s personal trainers has developed and designed a niche class that has been popular so far. Melissa Shore designed her Fitness Challenge that incorporates clean eating and well-rounded workouts for groups of 12 individuals. The cost for each person is $100 but the participant with the best results gets $200 back at the end of the six weeks.

Shore said, “We have all women in the current group. We would like to have more men in the next cycle.” Shore teaches the class for six weeks, meeting the participants once a week and posting workouts for them on the other days. She uses strength training, plyometrics and strict cardio. The weekly meeting is on Saturday mornings and Shore does the exercises with the participants.

Food and mental toughness are two of the focuses for Shore’s Fitness Challenge. She designs a meal plan for each participant. Shore focuses on clean eating while limiting refined foods. Often she is asked, “What do I get to eat?” Shore responds, “Your life is so much bigger than what is on your plate. We have to focus more on what’s between your ears. We want you to be fitter and stronger and gung ho about this program. We talk about eating, living, sleeping and stress. I keep them informed.” Shore posts daily workouts and scientifically based articles daily on Facebook for her group.

Participants also assess the challenge program, offering answers to such questions as what did you learn, what was the hardest part and how can we encourage others? Shore has been with the Forum for two years and currently teaches spin and kettlebell classes.

Shore’s class already has a waiting list. Gardner said, “Melissa is such an asset to our personal training team. She gives her clients everything they need and is awesome at motivating them. She has brought about a new interest in challenges among our members. I think that people are rushing to take part because six weeks is more doable, at least at the outset, than 12 weeks. Each six-week class is a great motivator for the next six weeks.”

Forum owners are appreciative of the community during the 20 years. Matt Marsh said, “Probably the proudest thing over the last 20 years is that we have used the business as a catalyst for the community. We have always made it a priority to give back to the community, because we know that The Forum has been truly blessed.”

Steve Safrit added, “As I look back on 20 years at The Forum as co-owner, I have developed so many close relationships with great people. What a journey! I would like to say thank you to all the folks who have supported our organization.”

New hours were recently implemented at the Forum. Monday through Friday, the facility is open from 4 a.m. to midnight. Saturday hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Gardner said, “Members requested the additional hours and we always try to listen to their needs. We are celebrating a fantastic anniversary year!”

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