By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury — Is getting more exercise and losing a few pounds high on your list of New Year’s resolutions?
“We want to make keeping those resolutions fun, so you want to be here and so you’ll stay with it,” said Lauren Demers, owner of Fit FRIENDzy Studios, who promises a welcoming and easy-going experience with the studio’s group classes and encourages participants to come with a friend.
The studio’s focus is strictly group fitness classes, 20 types with over 100 classes a month. The business started two years ago with Zumba classes, and has since added classes focusing on cardio fitness, toning and flexibility, yoga and tai chi. But the fun element is always there. One of the cardio options is a “belly-bolly-bhangra” class, and the toning and flexibility offerings include Pound drumming classes and Piloxing, a mix of dance and boxing.
“We are not like any other studio or gym. We’re not a boot camp. This is a social hour for people, an escape.
“Our core philosophy is ‘work hard, play hard.’ There’s a tiki bar in the lobby, and you’ll often find us out and about starting flash mobs and letting loose. We believe strongly that being healthy requires having fun. Weight loss is not the main reason people come here, but it’s a cool bonus,” Demers said with a laugh.
The fun element is obvious right away with the studio’s neon colors and mirrors outlined in multicolor lights. “We love glowing, shiny, sparkling, vibrant,” she said. “Sometimes people start out in their black workout clothes, but we see them add color. And we have tutus to make it more fun.”
Anywhere from eight to 25 people are in each class, and classes are offered mostly in the evenings and weekend mornings. Demers noted that most of her 17 instructors, including herself, have other jobs, “so people can relate to them. They do this because they want to be here.”
Fit FRIENDzy welcomes people who want to drop in and try a class, “though it helps if you register first,” she said. All ages, “from eight to 80,” are welcome. Clients can buy a 10-class punch card and try a variety of classes, or there’s the option of unlimited classes for a flat monthly fee. There’s no membership requirement. The studio has babysitting available while parents are taking a class.
“We even have an ‘I’m New’ page on our website that walks you through the classes available, how to register, what to wear,” Demers said. A complete list of class offerings is on that website, www.bethefitfriend.com, with details on pricing, and there’s an app to download to keep up with classes and to register.
Fit FRIENDzy also offers children’s classes. Zumbini is for infants and toddlers up to age 3 with a caregiver, and kids’ Zumba is for children up to seven or eight.
The studio is available for events such as birthday parties or bridal showers that can include a class led by any one of the instructors.
Demers noted she “grew up a dancer and cheerleader,” so has always been interested in dance and fitness. Even while she studied engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she continued performing in All-Star cheerleading. Her mother got her hooked on Zumba classes, and they both became certified Zumba instructors. Demers taught Zumba at a variety of places in the region before opening Fit FRIENDzy in December 2013, with her mother as one of the instructors.
“I lead a double life,” she laughs, noting she is also a supply chain manager with EMC, a side of her personality that helps her run the business.
Fit FRIENDzy Studios is located at 196 Boston Turnpike Rd. (Route 9) in Shrewsbury, on the lower level of the Drew Mortgage building. For more information, call 508-752-5456 or check the website, www.bethefitfriend.com.