When you hear the name of Summit’s newest personal training studio, Get In Shape For Women, you may think you have the place figured out. But the story, motivation, and inspiration behind the studio and its mission are about more than fits into a simple name.
“We’re not a gym. We’re not a weightloss clinic. We’re a transformation model,” said Michael O’Koomian, owner and manager of the Summit franchise of Get In Shape For Women.
O’Koomian explained that the studio provides a unique, balanced approach to fitness, focusing on four major elements: strength training, cardiovascular activity, nutrition, and accountability.
Members of Get In Shape For Women attend regular training sessions three times a week for approximately one hour per session. Unlike a typical gym experience, the women spend the hour working closely with a personal trainer in a small group of no more than four people.
Standard sessions kick off with 30 minutes of high repetition, low weight strength training, immediately followed by 25 minutes of cardio, all supervised by a personal trainer.
In addition to the individual attention given to clients by staff trainers, one of the biggest differences between a mainstream gym membership and the Get In Shape For Women program is the level of commitment expected from its clients.
O’Koomian attributes a large part of the 85 percent success rate to the fact that the studio only accepts 150 women at a time.
“We just want to bring people on that are absolutely ready to make a change, people that are committed,” he said.
The process of finding such motivated women begins with a free initial assessment where O’Koomian puts prospective clients through a sample workout and asks questions to find out more about who they are, their eating habits and preferences, and other health factors such as medical history.
Once accepted, clients are required to pay in full, up front for their training sessions, a technique that emphasizes the accountability aspect of the program. Training costs roughly $1,000 for three months, $2,000 for six months, or $3,000 for a full year.
In the 11 weeks that Get In Shape For Women has been open in Summit, O’Koomian said that his clients have already lost a combined 400 pounds, but the numbers on the scale aren’t necessarily his biggest goal for the women.
“My biggest goal is to empower the women to feel great about themselves,” said the owner. “Because when you feel great about yourself physically, it gives your life more meaning and purpose.”
Thirty-three-year-old O’Koomian is no stranger to a transformative weight loss journey. More than 10 years ago, he lost 125 pounds over the course of two years and has successfully kept the weight off due to a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
O’Koomian originally gained the weight during his senior year of high school, a tumultuous period resulting from his parents’ divorce and the subsequent loss of the family’s money and home.
A native of Rhode Island, O'Koomian, pushed on and enrolled at The University of Rhode Island where he said he lived out of his car due to his financial circumstances. It was during those college years that he became motivated to lose the weight.
He said that he did it using the same method as promoted by Get In Shape For Women.
“It was the same exact way, I just didn’t really have the formula,” he said. “I was doing weight training, I was doing cardiovascular consistently, and I had accountability. I actually had somebody a little bit older than me that would help push me along, and I started eating a cleaner way, eating much better.”
O’Koomian graduated first in his business class and earned a degree that would eventually land him a job on Wall Street, but after several years working in the world of finance he said he experienced an “awakening.”
“I woke up and said, ‘Life’s not all about money. Life’s about having more time to yourself doing something you truly believe in,’” the former consultant related.
He realized he had spent years in worry and fear that he would lose everything like his parents did and hadn’t been able to enjoy life and live in the moment.
O’Koomian heard about franchise opportunities for Get In Shape For Women from his cousin, an original franchisee who owns studios in Massachusetts. Just a couple of years later, O’Koomian is a multi-unit franchise owner with Get In Shape For Women studios in Ridgewood and now Summit.
“I learned a lot about myself in the process and I’ll never forget where I came from and I always stay humble to who I am,” said O’Koomian. “My way of giving back is to give unconditionally emotionally all the time with my clients.”
The Get In Shape For Women Summit studio is located at 545 Morris Avenue in The Promenade shopping center. Current hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to noon and 4 to 8 p.m. It’s open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.