Small gyms are making it big. Fitness junkies and gym regulars, as well as exercise newbies, are seeking out boutique options — with local owners, group classes, specialized instruction and a community vibe.
In Cypress, a few industry professionals are offering their clients an alternative to the big, franchise gyms of the past.
“People are tired of the big gym,” Val Scarborough, co-owner of Gym Cypress, said. “We’re really trying to create a gym that’s different. We want it to be small, intimate. Everyone can get to know each other. It’s like family.”
Deborah Bracken, owner of Some Like It Hot Yoga and Fitness, is also all about creating family at her gym...
The program at Gym Cypress, 17721 Huffmeister Rd, was developed by Scarborough’s business partner Damien Mockus. He has worked as a personal trainer and exercise specialist since 1995 and holds a degree in kinesiology from Sam Houston State University. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the subject at Lone Star College.
Scarborough was Mockus’ client before they went into business together.
“He was my trainer,” Scarborough said. “I started working out with him at a smaller gym and just loved it. It was a fun environment and that’s what we wanted to create.”
Scarborough knew exactly what she liked and disliked about various gyms - and used her experience as a basis for a business plan. She and Mockus offered personal training at a facility for nine years and then bought property and built their own gym, opening about a year ago.
“Things are going really good,” Scarborough said. “People are happy, and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”
One of her top priorities is ensuring that memberships are reasonably priced. “We basically made a gym that’s affordable to everyone,” she said.
Gym Cypress offers discounts to members of the military, as well as first responders. Special packages are available for college students who are home for the summer. There are month-to-month options, as well as year-long memberships.
“We’re trying to hit all the bases,” Scarborough said.
The gym includes programs designed by personal trainers, fitness plans, kettlebell courses, tactical strength and conditioning and sport-specific sessions. There are also pre- and post-natal conditioning programs available, as well as corporate fitness training sessions.
“Damien will work with anybody,” Scarborough said. “It’s a gym for everybody.”
She said that gym offers unique equipment, including self-powered treadmills, zero impact runners, circuit line training and Jacobs Ladders.
On a nice day, the gym has large bay doors that open to the outdoors. There’s also turf inside the gym to create space for indoor drills.
Children older than 10 are allowed to come in with their parents. “A lot of gyms don’t offer that,” Scarborough said. “We’re a mom-and-pop facility, so Damien and I can be more flexible.”