Some clients have lost well over 100 pounds, some are no longer on blood pressure medicine, and some have experienced greater success in their professional lives after achieving nutrition, weight and fitness goals.
Positive stories of personal achievement and healthy lifestyle changes abound in the High Altitude Personal Training gym on the west side of Flagstaff. But now, the owners of HAPT plan to impact more lives as they expand into the Phoenix market.
Flagstaff natives Dustin Evans and Joey McDonald opened HAPT in 2009. The personal training gym started with 23 members. Today, it has 245, with 20 percent growth in the last year alone.
“Some people called Joey and [me] crazy to open a business in the middle of the Great Recession and offer a service that people would call expendable,” said Evans. “But we’ve proven that people do need our service to live a healthier, more productive life.”
As remodeling is underway for the new gym – projected to open this winter – Flagstaff clients, who travel to Phoenix for business or live in the Valley during some of the year, look forward to having access to trainers and a gym in the desert where their memberships apply.
“In the winter we do go down there often to get out of the snow and cold weather up here,” said Missy Oates, who has a second home in Phoenix. “I’m excited about HAPT opening there. It’s a great addition.”
“It’s a rush of excitement and surreal in the sense that this has been in our heads for years, but now it’s tangible,” said Evans. “It’s out of our heads and into an actual neighborhood in Paradise Valley!”
Like the Flagstaff location, the one at Cactus Road and 46th Street will house weights, exercise machines and a spinning room with stationary bicycles. But, what makes HAPT unlike other fitness businesses is the personal training formula. One trainer works with up to six people during an hour-long session. A file is kept on each member charting personal goals, improvements in physical ability, health or injury changes, and biometric data that is assessed each month like resting heart rate, body fat percentage, weight and postural assessments such as spinal angles.
“It’s different from other gym experiences because the trainers write the workouts for you,” said Elise Wilson, a six-year-old member. “You don’t have to think, you just show up and your workout is tailored to your needs. And because we’re scheduled a month in advance, we go – there’s no blowing it off.”
Evans says there is a great need for the service HAPT provides, particularly in preventative health care. “We watch people’s lives transform. They may come from an unhealthy condition, have joint pain, a lack of energy or blood chemistry issues. It’s such a pleasure to see how exercise and clean nutrition directly impacts people so positively.”
“Originally, I started going there because of a back injury. I was close to the point of needing surgery because of a disc that had bulged and disintegrated. I was looking for options, was in pain and had a hard time doing anything,” said Oates. They worked with me on that and I was able to avoid surgery, build up the core and gain lots of other benefits as well.”
Evans also attributes HAPT’s success to the people who work there. “We look for people with integrity to be part of our team, people that we trust and that we can form a strong bond with. It really starts with that foundation. Secondarily, it’s important that they have a passion for the fitness field, a passion for nutrition, a passion to live a healthy life and the drive to empower others to do that.”
“The trainers care about your success and what you want to achieve,” said Penny Rady, who became a member to gain strength and muscle tone.
Evans, 35, and McDonald, 30, attended Flagstaff High School and Northern Arizona University, where they each earned bachelor’s degrees in community health promotion. Evans has a master’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis in physical education and health. His wife, Kristin, manages HAPT’s accounting; McDonald’s wife, Rachael, is the lead trainer. Lauren Gantzer, a Flagstaff HAPT trainer, will be moving to Phoenix to work with Valley clients when the new facility opens.
While members focus on their individual performance, Evans and McDonald continue to strengthen the business. They will be managing both sites and are researching other communities in the Phoenix area for further expansion including Scottsdale, Tempe and Glendale. HAPT is now also offering franchises for interested investors. FBN
By Bonnie Stevens
High Altitude Personal Training
2625 S. Woodlands Village Blvd. #400
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001