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Gym that changed it all

An innovative new Kelowna gym has hit city’s fitness world like a roundhouse kick to a heavy bag, and is already changing the way people think about working out.

9Round Fitness drops the traditional gym setup—beefcakes milling between rows of free weights, lines of sweat-soaked machines—in favour of fast-paced, kickboxing-inspired circuit training.

The gym gives each member their own personal trainer and nutrition plan, does away with class times, and takes advantage of some of the most advanced heart rate monitor technology on the market.

Arlen Mergel, the gym’s owner, says it’s not just an entirely different experience than what most people expect from a gym, it’s the kind of experience they actually want from a gym.

“There was a lot of questions being asked in the fitness industry, and have answered them,” he says.

It works like this:

The whole thing is essentially one giant circuit. An old-school boxing bell buzzes in three-minute intervals, and personal trainers constantly walk the floor.

Members show up whenever they please, and after some instruction from the trainer on the what the day’s workout is, jump directly into the action.

They work on their own or with a friend, helped along by their trainer. Over the course of about 30 minutes they take on nine different stations, ranging from floor work and resistance training, to pounding it out on the heavy bag.

It’s a fairly simple setup, Mergel says, but it’s also a devastatingly effective one; on average, members burn about 600 calories per workout.

9Round also offers all of its members a personalized nutrition plan. The combination of personal attention and thinking beyond the gym, Mergel says, is part of what makes the workouts so successful.

But Mergel is especially proud of the atmosphere he’s cultivated: it’s a family oriented place, he says, and everything about it is designed to combat the judgement and anxiety so many worry about in traditional gyms.

“We’re not that type of training facility, we are the facility for literally everybody,” he says.

The gym is low lit, and no one can take your picture without your permission. There’s no selfies allowed, and every circuit station faces out, “so you’re never going to have someone staring at you or watching you work out.”

“I get so many people that want to improve themselves, that want to lose weight or feel more confident, but they don’t feel comfortable walking into your traditional gym. That’s not the case at 9Round,” Mergel said.

For more information, or to schedule a free workout, check out 9Round Kelowna online.

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