Computer-based Koko Fit Club coming to Lakewood Ranch

srocco@bradenton.comJuly 7, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Forget the overdone grunting, yelling and slamming of weights found at most big box gyms.

Koko Fit Club's mantra is "Great results without any gym-scene BS."

The new "digital gym" is preparing to open inside a 2,400-square-foot space in the Crowder Plaza at 2531 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. in September.

"If you're a big muscle head that likes to throw free weights around, we're totally the opposite of that," said franchisee Doug Grice. "It looks different, it smells different. It's a spa-type atmosphere."

Koko Fit Club, based in Massachusetts, has taken the guesswork out of the workout by utilizing cardio and strength training machines that are equipped with digital tracking systems developed by the MIT Center for Sports Innovation.

Gym members plug their Koko Keys (or USB ports) into the Smartrainer (or strength training machine) and immediately receive a customized 30-minute workout plan designed to meet their fitness goal. After that, they have the option of complementing their workout with a 15-minute cardio session. Koko Fit Club aims to get its customers in and out fast.

"Your 30-minute workout will keep your muscle under strain for 26 to 27 minutes, and you're getting a very efficient workout," said Grice, 42. "You don't move from machine to machine. There's no free weights. It's a one-machine, do-it-all type deal. All of the excuses go away because we have you in and out the door and you know exactly what you're going to do."

The computer, which is affixed to each Smartrainer, walks the user through each move, monitors their workouts and measures their progress.

"Using something like this, where you have definable data that will be tracked in terms of strength, weight loss, fat loss and you're seeing immediate results, that gives you the incentive to want to do better," said Grice's wife, Josette, who is a family physician at Intercoastal Medical Group in Lakewood Ranch.

The new gym location will initially have five Smartrainers and five cardio machines. Together, the equipment can support nearly 450 members because they are in and out pretty quickly, Doug Grice said. Most memberships will be in the $100 range.

Koko Fit Club, which opened its first location in Pembroke, Mass., in 2007, has more than 100 gyms across the United States, including one in Coral Springs.

The Lakewood Ranch location will be the second in Florida. The Grices plan on adding several more gyms in the state, including one in Bradenton and one in Sarasota.

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Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.

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