Specialized, Chic Boutique Gyms Offer Workout Alternative

A desire to create a highly personalized, affordable fitness model brought business partners Ben Supik and David Kinkeade together four years ago.

Today, the trainers co-own the Activate Body studio, a boutique gym nestled among greenery in an industrial chic building in Baltimore.

"Exercise is a science involving biology, chemistry and physics," says Supik, 32, who earned a degree in exercise science from Towson University, and has consulted for top universities and Fortune 500 companies.

Supik was a trainer at a major health club for several years, so he doesn't knock big health club chains. However, he wanted to create a different dynamic.

"It can be expensive having a monthly membership. And if you add personal training, which costs extra in most big gyms, many people can't afford it," he says.

At Activate Body, first-time members pay $89 for unlimited personal training and nutrition coaching sessions in a 30-day window. After that, the most commonly used membership option at Activate Body is 12 personal training sessions and two nutrition coaching sessions for $299 per month for a year, Supik says.

To date, Activate has had about 100 students. On a recent visit, tiny group sessions were taking place, with men and women of different ages side by side doing squats and other exercises under the watchful eye of Kinkeade.

A former forensics interviewer turned fitness enthusiast, Kinkeade has shed 90 pounds over the past few years. "I believe in this, because I have lived it," says the 43-year-old husband and father.

Lyn Meyerhoff, 23, is a new client at Activate who says she never enjoyed the crowds at big-box gyms.

The organ transplant coordinator, who hails from a family that is well known in philanthropy circles, has the resources to work out anywhere.

But she hadn't found the right fit until a friend who is an Activate fitness coach suggested she come in.

The immediate personal attention Meyerhoff received has proved to be a motivator.

"I knew what to do, but wasn't having much luck losing weight on my own," says Meyerhoff. "I immediately loved it. Ben is very understanding and tuned in to what I need. I'm making friends. It feels good to work out."

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