Hank Stolz: Voice of business presented by the Worcester, Regional Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Fidelity Bank. May is mental health awareness month in as we as we close out May today, we’re going to be talking to some people about exactly that. Our first guest is Andy Sharry Director of Sales and Business Development at Worcester Fitness. Andy thank you so much for being live in the studio with us.
Andy Sharry: Oh, it’s great to be here, Hank, thank you.
Hank Stolz: Good to see you as well. I think this is something that has been talked about so much over the last year, this connection between physical fitness, and mental health. And this concern that when we went into lockdown what was going to gonna happen. Tell us a little bit about that, about your feelings on this connection between physical fitness and mental health.
Andy Sharry: Well, I definitely think with the shutdown, it took people away from a center of social connection. That was very important to their lives. The physical workouts themselves are very important, but just being around happy positive people through the employees of Worcester Fitness and their fellow members, they missed that tremendously.
Hank Stolz: That’s such a great point. Listen, you get up and say, “I went running this morning. I did my my burpees, I’ve got my weights at home.” but it’s just not the same. There is a certain camaraderie, especially people tend to go for example at the same time each day and so you get your your group some people you may just nod to but it’s the same face. Some people you may strike up real friendships with but you also just mention when you going somewhere like Worcester Fitness, as a prime example, you get to know the the physical trainer, you get people who are a smiling face, with an encouraging word? That’s something you can tell when you’re working out on your own.
Andy Sharry: Yes. And that’s why I think people really miss that. When you come into Worcester Fitness, we know your name, we know your dog’s name, if you missed a couple days, we ask, you know, where you been, how you been? And that was definitely lacking this time last year. So now they’re back there in the swing of things. Things seeing their positive happy friends. They’re really enjoying getting back into their workout routines. And we’re very, very much a class-based gym. So people like that camaraderie of coming together at a scheduled time for their class, whether it be yoga, Pilates or a class in the pool, seeing their teacher, and seeing their their classmates and fellow gym goers together. That’s really the connection that people really want and need.
Hank Stolz: Yeah, I mean this just mental health and being part of it is, is so true. And I think, you know, it probably a lot of people right now. We don’t even know really what summer that the toll was listen. I and I’m not, I’m not proud of it, but I mean I gained 30 pounds in the last 12 months and it wasn’t as if I was working out all that much, quite frankly before I’d fall in a little bit out of the routine, I don’t know what it was about being in lockdown or there was just a lot more sitting. It seemed to be socially acceptable to just sit in front of the TV and see how many episodes of a certain show you could watch one right after the other, that can’t be good for us. And now we got to snap out of that and come back.
Andy Sharry: Yeah, completely agree, I hear that story every day Hank, so you’re not alone. So people have come back Hank and they’re taking two different directions. Some people like the we call them like mine body classes where it’s like a yoga or Pilates type of class little bit more easy going where you’re almost doing like meditation working on your breathing. But there are some people that like, the more hard core classes, where you’re jumping running, kicking punching, and that’s the way to get some of the are, you know, anger or bad feelings out. It really finding that place to release it. Hank.
Hank Stolz: Yeah, you know, you know, that’s a great point, Andy? Because not only are you, you know, obviously doing something for yourself. But I think just the fact that at the end of that hour, you have have accomplished something, you went to that spin class, you accomplished something. Now with these classes and getting people back into these classes, how are you dealing with that during these during covid-19? And is it going to change quite a bit heading into June, July and August.
Andy Sharry: We’ve had a wonderful memories that are followed. Every rule that’s been put in place the most taxing a which is wearing a mask never done a spin class, wearing a mask in spin is nearly impossible. They realized how much they missed doing those activities that are Jim year ago and they basically said whatever it takes to stay here. Stay open, stay active stay together, you’re doing it. The great news is on Saturday, the masks will go away for those who want to take them off and that’s going to be a big relief. I think people that have been taking our classes are definitely going to enjoy that, but I think it’s going to bring some of our old members. Back to us and new fresh members as well. So that’s going to be a big milestone on Saturday.
Hank Stolz: Let’s talk a little bit about that because you said, you know, that that’s what you’ve been hearing from some of your members as well. Boy, this past year, I would think for Worcester Fitness, has to be so easy to get out of the out of the routine that you were in as members, either who have been there throughout the year, or some who may have have kind of laughed, a little bit in our coming back right now, you’ve been doing this for long time. How do you kind of helped ease people back into the into the routine? Because I know my wife being a prime example of this. Oh, I haven’t done this for six months, but I was at this level. Well, I’ll just go back and I’ll hit that same routine. And it’s like, you know what, if you haven’t done it for a little while, it’s pretty easy for us to kind of lose it a little bit.
Andy Sharry: Absolutely. When we when we welcome people back or welcome new people, we’re really helping I’m them to ease back into it. So, all of our personal trainers, all of our group exercise instructors are given what we call modifications. So, we don’t expect people to jump right back to where they were two or three years ago, it is going to take a while to get back into it because the worst thing at this point would be to have someone rush back into it and get injured, right? So we’re really cognizant of that and keeping people safe and happy because we want them there and they want to be there.
Hank Stolz: Yeah, and that really does to safe and happy really does kind of bring us back to the mental health awareness as well and doing something for yourself, taking time for yourself and working out, is that it can be something that is is as we’re talking about here today. Listen, it can certainly be something that is very private and you’re doing your own workout and you’re lifting weights or whatever the case may be, but that group setting or just having you there Andy and saying, “hey, how’s it going?” That’s really what we’re kind of focusing on here because that is so important. Is there anything that Worcester Fitness is doing this summer or coming up to sort of welcome people back or get them back into the swing of things, any deals or any things that we should be talking about when it comes to memberships.
Andy Sharry: We’ve had a program throughout 2021 called JumpStart and it’s really offered them an opportunity to come in and give themselves to us and we assign them a personal trainer, a massage therapist and a nutrition coach. I think I’ve sold 40 or 50 of those packages and people are loving it. They’re seeing results over the Was of that eight or nine-week program. And they all sit in front of me at the chair and say the same thing, just what you said, Hank, I sat on my butt, I gained 30 pounds, help me. And that’s what we’ve done. That’s what we do. And above, and above and beyond all of this Hank, it’s the connection of the people, that’s what they missed. And that’s what they’re loving. The spin class is awesome, but the ten-minutes before and 20-minutes after where they’re making connections with the teacher and their fellow members. That’s what’s most important because we all felt like crap last year and we don’t feel awesome yet. But what you don’t want to do is feel that way and feel alone. So when you having that connection with people and you realize, hey I’m not the only one that feels that way, that gives you hope that gives you direction and that moves people forward. And that’s what we’re seeing right now is that turnaround of people saying I’m not in this alone, Worcester Fitness has my back, my fellow members have my back and we’re moving forward and getting better what you just said also. So, it is that the physical fitness but it’s all of it.
Hank Stolz: And that’s what Worcester Fitness offers, where you have the nutritionist where you have these other services as well. So it really is. This whole experience when you come in, it has to be the whole experience.
Andy Sharry: I always say “You will leave feeling better than you did when you walked in the doors.”, and that’s pretty much a guarantee. People understand that and they live it and they love it and that keeps them coming back and keeps new members coming through the door signing up and saying I want to be part of the culture here. Worcester Fitness been around for forty, three years, which is unheard of around here. We have employees that have been there for 20, 25 years it’s because it’s that family friendly happy. Employees love it and our members and our whole community. We call it Worcester Fitness Nation, everyone in Worcester Fitness Nation loves that.
Hank Stolz: That really says it all, the fact that employees and members have been there for that length of a time. Congratulations on that boy, that really says something about the work that you are doing. All right, so somebody is listening today and they say, “yeah, you know what, for my mental health and just to get back in shape, I got to go walking through the doors of Worcester Fitness.” This, this JumpStart Program obviously would be a cool thing for me and be a great place for a lot of people to start or to get back into the swing of things. Walk us through it. Get us signed up for Worcester Fitness.
Andy Sharry: Absolutely! They walk in the doors. They’re greeted with a smile. We’ll offer them a tour and we’ll show him every inch of our building, answer their questions and spend as long as it takes to make sure that they’re comfortable. Make sure that they understand what they’re going to be getting with their membership. And a lot of times we are kind of directing them towards the Jumpstart program based on what they’re saying to me, so the program basically sells itself because that’s what most people need. We’re welcoming to everyone that walks in the door. We find that a lot of people that come through our door have already done their research on our wonderful website and through our social media channels, and they’re ready to go. We’re ready to go.
Hank Stolz: Andy Sharry, thanks for being with us.
Andy Sharry: Thanks. Hank! Have a great summer.