Unlike the average fitness center when you step through the doors of this Anytime Fitness Lakewood you quickly realize the passion of franchise owner/operators Darrell and Brenda McKay. With a beautiful view of the St. Johns River, the McKay’s combine their vast experience in both the medical and fitness worlds to better serve their Anytime Fitness clients. “Our passion, our vision, and where we want to go is really, consistently helping people,” Brenda shares. This mentality, in which people are more important than programs, is reflected in the owners’ mission statement, prominently displayed on the wall: “Unlike traditional fitness centers, we focus on our members as individuals. We provide the tools, education, support, and accountability they need to allow the body to function in synergy and total harmony best described as optimal health.”
Having been a key consultant, recruited by Dr. Brooks Brown in 2004, who helped design the 60,000 sq. f. medically-based fitness center currently serving as Brooks YMCA, Darrell McKay leverages his 35-year fitness career and experiences working with four well-respected hospitals to bring his Anytime Fitness customers the very best. “When somebody first walks through the door, we spend a minimum of thirty minutes with them,” Brenda says about the face-to-face, comprehensive approach she and Darrell employ. Being a registered nurse and having a background with Mayo Clinic are two ingredients Brenda brings to the table, and together the McKay’s create a safe, comfortable, and clinically-grounded environment.
Whether serving members seeking relief from chronic pain, those in rehab after surgeries, those working off the stress of a high-profile occupation, or those battling a chronic disorder, the McKay’s use a holistic, three-pillar approach that involves nutritional education, cardiovascular training, and weight training. While a variety of clients frequent this location—from every age and stage of life—the unique skills of the McKay’s and their dedicated staff of trainers target the Baby Boomer generation. They have multiple clients in their 80’s working to preserve optimal health. It’s important to note that the majority of their referrals do not come from other members but from physicians, surgeons, and health care specialists who recognize medically-based methodology.
Clients benefit from the careful balance of fitness goals against health risk factors. With patients who may be post-rehab, cardiac patients, living with Parkinson’s, in chronic pain, or in need of weight loss assistance, Brenda describes what it’s like meeting newcomers after they’ve received news from their doctors. “They come away from a diagnosis and feel hostage to it,” she says, and explains how Anytime Fitness trainers at the Lakewood location work tirelessly to provide what she terms “restored hope.” Tough the Anytime Fitness model allows members 24/7 access in a highly-secure and motivating atmosphere, for Darrell and Brenda, it’s not about self-service fitness. Each of them put in roughly 60 hours per week. They get to know their clients. And they aim for lifestyle change and optimal health whatever a client’s circumstance. Darrell says without apology, “We’re hands-on. We’re the owners. We are present. Really, we’re helping people to transform their lives.” And transformation is exactly what’s happening at 5613 San Jose Boulevard. A 23 year-old client lost 100 lbs. in six months and is keeping the weight off. Permanently. An NFL player trained here through his rehab process after a pre-season injury and surgery. A mother and teenage daughter, both diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, worked toward increased respiratory strength. Darrell was also able to assist this family in receiving a grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Vermont that covered their membership and training. A 50 year-old woman, in anticipation of a hip replacement, engaged in both pre- and post-rehab training and was walking the day immediately following her surgery. But don’t be surprised when the staff asks you, “Why are you enrolling?” In an era when the number of Americans affected by obesity and diabetes is skyrocketing, a slow-but-sure weight loss program rooted in education is what you’ll find at Anytime Fitness Lakewood.
While our society is simultaneously awash with self-help resources, not all of which are sound and safe, clients often feel lost and confused about where to go, what to do, and how to begin. Trough the help of clinically-trained staff members, Pilates Reformers programming, Yoga, Thai Chi, group classes in spin and dance, and a focus on personal attention, the McKay’s help you experience results that can last. Develop lifelong habits that will greatly enhance your quality of life. No fitness program or gym can add years to your life, but the McKay’s are dedicated to helping you add life to your years! You’re invited to come by anytime. They’ll be waiting to welcome you.
You may also want to explore Darrell’s regular column, Ask Darrell, in other community publications, that draws upon his broad knowledge of Exercise is Medicine methods. Ask about the first step in transforming your life, which inevitably transforms the lives of those around you.