Shape Up: Improving The Quality Of Life



If you think there's no such thing as a fountain of youth, think again.

"It's very normal as your body ages to deteriorate, your bone mass -- everything," said Heather Slater, co-owner of the recently opened Club USA. "But fitness stops that.


Heather Slater, co-owner of Club USA, demonstrates one of the many pieces of equipment now available around town to help Rim country residents get in shape.

"Any time you do any cardio or weight bearing exercises, you stop that. And with weight training you can increase your muscle mass so you can basically go back in time."

And if that isn't incentive enough to get yourself into one of the Rim country's fitness facilities, consider the time of year.

"We're wearing fewer clothes in the spring and summer," Slater said. "So people are a little more cognizant of their bodies and how they look."

Throw in the fact that May is National Fitness Month, and the excuses for not getting in shape sound pretty lame.

Club USA

Club USA, which is located at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 87 in Sawmill Crossing, just opened three weeks ago.

"All of our weight equipment is really fantastic," Slater said. "It's all Cybex, and they spent a lot of money on research. "Everything is biomechanically set so it puts the least amount of stress on your joints, and it really isolates the muscles."

Club USA's cardiovascular equipment is made by Precor and features 20 programs to select from. It's also equipped with heart rate monitors and has many other features that make it user friendly.

The new health club also features Broadcast Vision, a system that offers 50 music stations. Members simply plug in their own headphones and they can choose anything from bluegrass to Italian music.

Other services offered by Club USA include two tanning options. Regular UV tanning is provided in 10-minute stand-up sessions in a tube-like structure with 48 UV bulbs.

"This is the Cadillac of tanning systems," Slater said. "It has a cooling system and speakers so you can rock out. It's much better than laying down."

The other tanning system offered at Club USA is Sunless Express, an alternative to UV tanning. It works a lot like an automatic, drive-through car wash.

"You go in the booth and it sprays you with a self tanner," Slater said. "It's 99 percent aloe vera, so it's very hydrating for your skin."

Club USA also has a hydro massage bed which gives mechanical massages without the aid of a human being.

"You take off your shoes and lie down," Slater said. "The jets come up from the bottom and you control the pressure.

"It's not as good as a regular massage, but a lot of people are apprehensive about going in and taking off their clothes and having somebody actually touch them."

Finally, an aerobics room with special shock-absorbing flooring will soon be home to yoga, kickboxing, step aerobics and other classes.

When a new member joins, a special certified trainer sets up a program designed to help the individual reach his or her goals.

Membership is $29 per month for unlimited access, but Club USA is currently offering a $25 per month introductory rate if you join with a spouse or a friend.

Slater believes there's plenty of room in the Rim country market for a new health club.

"It all depends on what people are looking for," she said. "Most of our members are new people who didn't go to a club before, and so far the response has been fantastic.

Payson Athletic Club

Over at the Payson Athletic Club in the Rim Country Mall, owner Keven Rush agrees.

"That's the way things work in a free market," Rush said. "It works out for everybody in the long run. You know it's coming and you live with it."

While Rush said PAC offers the "same essential stuff" as Club USA, he has some amenities specifically designed to suit his clientele, which includes a lot of families and seniors.

"We focus more on the size of the facility and a lot of equipment so there's enough for everybody to use and nobody gets bogged down," he said. "We also do the tanning and we have some amenities like child care and a juice bar."

PAC also offers classes in aqua aerobics, walk aerobics, sit fit, yoga, body sculpting, senior stretch, traditional floor and step aerobics, and more. The full-service membership fee is $35 per month, and PAC also offers a limited-times membership for off-hours at $17.50 per month.


The third club in town is Curves, a facility for women located in Payson Village Shopping Center. Owner Martha Hemphill doesn't mind the competition either.

"We're a little different," Hemphill said. "Most of our clientele are women who don't like to go to coed gyms.

"We have a training circuit where you get both your aerobics and your strength training at the same time. It takes 27 minutes to do three rounds and you stretch and you've had your hour-and-a-half workout in 30 minutes."

Curves' members pay $29 per month.

All three health club owners agree that now is the perfect time to get in shape.

"Most people just want to maintain their quality of life," Slater said. "You have to incorporate fitness into your life to maintain your quality of life."

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