By: Ashley Loose
Arizona Foothills Magazine
Scottsdale welcomed a brand new, environmentally-friendly fitness center to the area called Off The Grid Fitness. Just in time for Earth Day, why not stop in and try out one of their electricity-generating elliptical machines or a fun and effective body sculpting class? You can feel good about yourself, get in shape and save the planet all with a few simple steps.
Off The Grid, a “green” fitness center located at Acacia Creek Village in Scottsdale, has finally become a reality after years of dreaming and planning by founder Eric Guilleminault, who recently moved here from California. Guilleminault, a personal trainer, found the inspiration for Off The Grid while attending a fitness convention that showcased a few pieces of bicycle equipment that generated their own electricity.
Only one other gym, located in Portland, is similar to the vision that Guilleminault has for Off The Grid, but it seems too small to expand and increase in popularity, says Guilleminault. “I want the full gym experience,” Guilleminault says. “It’s about mind, body, soul and trying to help the environment out.”
Off The Grid offers a variety of classes and has different equipment that clients can use during their workouts. It has treadmills that run off of energy and momentum created by the user instead of using electricity. The self-propelling aspect of the treadmill make the user feel as if they are running on real terrain more-so than a generic treadmill might. Off The Grid also has spin bikes and elliptical machines that create their own electricity.
To add to the equipment, the fitness center uses recycled demo materials like lockers and desks, floored the facility with bamboo, uses recycled paper and even has a water fountain that keeps track of how much is used and how many water bottles were saved. It has LED TV’s and more environment-conscious elements.
Currently it is offering indoor cycling, TRX suspension, mat Pilates and body-sculpting classes. They plan to add more classes that incorporate cardio and possibly Zumba once they have more customers.
(Customers should appreciate that they don’t charge any initiation fees and offer month-to-month membership options rather than strict, long-term contracts.)
Having officially opened to the public on March 26, business is starting off slow as expected, but Guilleminault has high hopes for his new eco-friendly gym.
Having no long-standing clientele in Scottsdale or a reputation to begin strong, Guilleminault is facing different challenges than any other new gym founder might. Having missed the recent time frame to advertise to those looking to fulfill New Year’s resolutions, he’s hoping that summer will bring in new clients who aren’t willing to bear the heat to work out outdoors. He also plans to focus on customer service, which sometimes corporate gyms lack. “I want this to succeed. Owning my own gym has been a dream of mine my whole life,” Guilleminault says. “I want this to be a community gym where people can walk by and say, ‘That’s our gym. It’s ours.’”
In the future, Guilleminault hopes that Off The Grid, which is somewhat of a “case study,” will be able to generate enough electricity to power more than just the gym itself. He hopes that interest in more environmentally-friendly fitness centers will grow and that more people will incorporate “green” technology into their facilities.