• July 24, 2014

More gyms and fitness centers build in Killeen

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Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 4:30 am

Exercising and working out are becoming more prolific in the greater Fort Hood area, and several businesses are taking advantage of residents looking to get in shape.

Planet Fitness and Title Boxing are opening locations this year, and Illuminate Gym is expanding its Harker Heights operations to Killeen.

“People are figuring out that you need to stay healthy,” said Hector Ruiz, Illuminate Gym and Twin Wolves owner. “You want to live a healthy life. You don’t want to die at 40.”

The area’s growth and the increase in people seeking workout opportunities led Ruiz to buy Illuminate from its previous owner in March.

The Market Heights gym is a different operation from the mixed martial arts studio Ruiz has run since 2007.

But there are more things in common, than there may appear, he said.

“Everything is about being physically fit,” he said.

Illuminate currently occupies 7,500 square feet in Market Heights and is building clientele daily, said Tiffany Collinge, an assistant manager at the gym.

To meet growing demand and hopefully give greater access to area residents, the gym will open a second location at 2710 S. Clear Creek Road in Killeen.

The site will double the space and also contain a second Twin Wolves MMA location.

“It will be a bigger facility, we will have more classrooms,” Collinge said.

More space means more classes and times to offer workout programs to customers.

Planet Fitness plans to be open by July at 1001 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 101 E, Killeen.

The nationwide gym franchise operates more than 800 locations nationwide and targets first-time gym-goers with a “judgement free zone.”

“We don’t cater to body builder and power lifters,” said Michael Tuner, chief operation officer of the Austin franchise group.

“It is friendly, it is Killeen, and it is well equipped.”

The gym’s low rates are encouraging to people who aren’t committed to working out yet, Turner said. While that is not what the gym wants, it does help bring people in.

Title Boxing is a franchise that operates more than 100 locations nationwide. A location will open at 2904 E. Stan Schlueter Loop, Building B, in Killeen, later this spring.

Title Boxing Club offers members an interval-based workout program that combines bouts of intense cardio and boxing exercises with short periods of rest, according to a news release from the company.

The 60-minute workout aims to provide a nonthreatening environment that appeals to women and men.

Location, location, location

Turner selected the location, which already had its inside demolished and is waiting for renovations, because it is centrally located.

“We really like that location because it centers around the demographics,” Turner said.

“If you look at 5- to 10-minute drive time, you can pull anyone to that location.”

Illuminate’s expansion is based on a similar reasoning, Ruiz said.

Clear Creak will allow Illuminate to attract Killeen, Copperas Cove and Fort Hood area residents, Ruiz said.

Clear Creak is really growing, and housing south of the gym is constantly being built.

H-E-B is considering building a grocery store in the area, and Wal-Mart confirmed it’s building a new supercenter.

“It is a good meeting in the middle location,” Collinge said.

Different experiences

Residents pick gyms based on the experience they want, Collinge said.

“They all kind of appeal to somebody but just a different crowd,” Turner said.

Planet Fitness doesn’t have a sales staff with most registration occurring online at planetfitness.com, Turner said. The company doesn’t want to pressure people to sign up or work out.

Dumbbells in the gym won’t go over 75 pounds and a lot of the machines will be cardio devices such as treadmills and stepmills.

There are free group classes and tanning and massage stations, but none of the bigger amenities such as swimming pools or hot tubs.

Illuminate will offer similar equipment at its future location, which is under construction with no projected opening date, Collinge said.

The gym wants to promote a family-friendly atmosphere, with trainers who are willing to help, she said.

Other than cardio and a weight room, the current facility offers a dry sauna, full-service locker room and boot camps.

“At the end of the day, just as long as you feel good about yourself is what matters,” Collinge said about the fitness world.

“Working out changes people’s lives. (Illuminate) wants to motivate them to better their fitness and better their lives.”

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