BY ELISABETH ANDREWS
When you walk into Urban Fitness Studio at 205 N. College, the first thing you’ll notice is what’s not there.
The equipment most people associate with exercise—cardio machines, squat racks, rows of dumbbells and barbells—is conspicuously absent from the 500-square-foot space. In fact, the room is quite uncluttered. There’s just one bench, a stack of stability balls, some jump ropes and stretch bands hanging from hooks, and a few rolled-up yoga mats tucked into a corner. How, you might wonder, can one possibly get a workout from that?
“You’d be surprised at how much my clients can accomplish in an hour,” counters owner Allison Chopra, 29, a personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise and the American College of Sports Medicine. She explains that by using simple tools and a client’s own body weight, she can simultaneously challenge balance, strength, and core stability through exercises that provide both muscular and cardiovascular benefits.
“What I do is sometimes called ‘metabolic training,’” she explains. “We’ll work in several planes of movement, performing a series of sets without rest, so you get your heart rate up while also doing functional strength training.”
Chopra, who in April moved the studio from an upstairs office in the Graham Plaza building to its present street-level location, says her clients generally seek her out as an alternative to the loud-and-busy gym atmosphere. “They like the fact that there are no distractions here,” she says. “It’s just one trainer with one client. We don’t have to wait for equipment, and they don’t have people they know coming up and talking to them. Plus,” she adds, “it doesn’t smell like a gym.”
Chopra’s clients range from young athletes to retirees with severely limited mobility. She adjusts the training regimen to each client’s needs and preferences, so that some come in for an hour three times a week, while others see her twice a month for only 30 minutes.
The one thing she won’t let clients do is train with a plan to “lose weight.” That’s not a goal you can act on, she explains. “Part of what I do is help clients make goals that are behavior-based instead of results-oriented,” she says. “I won’t let them say, ‘I’m going to lose thirty pounds,’ but we can decide they’re going to pack their lunch for work or go for walks a certain number of times each week.”
Learn more about Urban Fitness Studio at urbanfitnessstudio.com.