Perched on a barstool at Starbucks, Gilbert gym owner Felicia Romero sips her whipped-cream-topped grande caramel latte with a smile and an ease most health-conscious people wouldn’t display while consuming so many calories.
“That number on the scale doesn’t define you by any means,” says Romero, describing why she started her own workout routine and gym. “I needed to teach people and show people that you’re so much more than that number.”
After running her own one-on-one personal-training company for several years, Romero hit a professional and personal roadblock. Her traditional workouts and training sessions had lost much of their appeal.
“I had started experiencing some health issues a couple of years ago — thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue — and I just didn’t have fun working out anymore,” she says. “It was all one-on-one type of training with very typical (machine-based) sorts of workouts, and I kind of lost my passion for it.”
Romero sold her business and began to look for ways to change her outlook while still utilizing fitness as the key to healing her physical and mental ailments.
“I realized that I wanted to delve into group-type training, and for me, what made me feel better inside and out was a variety of different exercises combined with a whole mind, body and soul movement.”
With that, Felicia Romero’s Fit Method was born.
Open since April 2015, the gym has quickly caught on; it has 170-plus members. Fit Method specializes in group training with an added element of meditation and positive self-reflection at the end of each class. Because the programs are geared toward groups, the gym itself features large workout rooms equipped with strap-and-suspension (resistance training) kits that support multiple trainees at once. Inspiring messages, such as “Be Awesome Today” and “Life Is Good,” are plastered above wall-to-wall mirrors. Fit Method offers seven types of classes to suit all workout levels and interests.
“One size does not fit all people, so we offer spin, yoga, TRX, high-intensity interval training, functional movement — just everything that I was really passionate about,” Romero says. “And then, after the classes, we have inspirational talks. Or, I’ll push them hard for a good 45 minutes, but then we’ll do eight to 10 minutes of mindful meditation or positive affirmations.”
Many of Fit Method’s members are moms, so Romero wanted to include options for kids and parents who were interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the entire family — and for children who just want to play while mom gets in a workout.
“While kids are in the child-care room, we have a child-care facilitator watching while they’re playing games or coloring, or parents can bring an iPad in for their kids to sit with,” Romero says. “But I’m also so passionate about childhood obesity, so I really wanted to make sure that the facility had classes for parents and their kids to help keep them active.”
Kids classes are 30 minutes and include games and the same positive self-reflection.
“When they first come in,” she says, “we do some sort of group activity to get them warmed up, be it tag or Red Rover. It isn’t regular tag, it’s fitness tag, so if you get tagged, you have to do 10 of your favorite exercises. Then we do some sort of strength/core work or buddy tag where they pair up and slap hands in the middle of a push-up to encourage each other.”
Romero also talks to kids about the importance of healthful eating in positive terms.
“We’ll ask them, ‘Why is it important to eat healthy?’ and they’ll automatically say, ‘Because we don’t want to be fat,’ ” Romero says. “So we’ll refocus away from the negative words and move toward more positive wording. We tell them it’s so they can be strong and have energy and build muscle.”
Romero hopes to spark a change for the better in all aspects of her clients’ lives.
“Fitness is not just about having that perfect six-pack. Having that discipline and that drive when it comes to fitness is going to translate into other areas of your life,” she says. “Along with managing weight loss, you start to balance stress and anxiety. You’re going to be a better mother, you’re going to be a better employee, a better wife, a better friend because it’s a natural endorphin. I’ve seen people change their entire lives because they feel positive from the inside out.”
If you go: Basic three-month memberships start at $99 per month; the RED three-month package includes free kids classes and child care for $199 per month. Child care is $5 per child for drop-in and bundle classes. 263 E. Warner Road, Suite 103, Gilbert. 844-269-5354 or frfitmethod.com.
3 exercises you can do at home.
Felicia Romero demonstrates exercises
that moms can do away from the gym.
Push-ups: Start with your knees on the floor and hands a bit wider than your shoulders. Lower your upper body to just above the floor, making sure your core and glutes are neutral and lowered along with the upper body. Three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Chair dips: Face away from the seat with your hands on the edge of the seat and shoulder-width apart. Make sure your hands are secure on the chair so you don’t slip. Keep your chest elevated and your head up. Your knees should not bend past your toes. Slowly lower your body, being careful that your elbows don’t bend beyond a 90-degree angle. Then push your body back up, squeezing through the triceps. Two sets of 12 to 15 reps. Add an extra set if you’re advanced.
Squats: Feet are flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knee and lower your glutes. Knees should not exceed a 90-degree angle. Keep heels on the floor, shoulders back and core engaged. Three sets of 15 to 20 reps.