Looking to build a better body and have fun?
Check out Koru Fitness, 14007 St. Francis Blvd., Ramsey.
The new gym, which opened earlier this month, features six exclusive Les Mills programs from New Zealand.
“Les Mills programs transcend all other programs,” said Koru owner Nicole Kutches.
There are other great programs, but Kutches said she chose the Les Mills programs for what they do for her mind and how they make her feel.
“They are fun and easy to do,” said the 37-year-old mother of two.
“I don’t feel like I am working out. Yet before I know it, I have burned 700 calories, dripping sweat like crazy and smiling the entire time without looking at the clock.”
Like Koru, some of the Les Mills programs are new to the area.
As an instructor at the Andover and Emma B. Howe YMCAs, Kutches was introduced to Les Mills Body Pump, a group fitness weight lifting program 12 years ago.
During Body Pump, each person does about 800 reps using free weights and a barbell, said Kutches, who has 20 years of experience in the fitness field and is a certified Les Mills instructor.
Although Kutches and her husband, Peter, had mulled over what they could do with a now defunct gym in Ramsey, “it was not until two years ago that fire got lit in my mind,” Kutches said.
She had been laid off from her day job as a production manager in 2008 and the YMCA decided a couple of years ago not to bring in any more Les Mills programs, she said.
“I wanted more,” Kutches said.
Body Combat, Body Attack, GRIT and Sh’bam are fabulous programs, she said.
The programs give gym members a choice of a sports-inspired workout, one that mixes martial arts or one that is dance-based.
The choreographed high-intensity programs are tested and proven to be effective and safe, Kutches said.
They are also designed so people of all fitness levels can do them, she said.
Kutches said she hand-picked her instructors for their skills in helping newcomers be successful in class as well as working with more advanced students.
The instructors live, eat and breathe Les Mills programs and are geared to getting members started, motivating them and pushing them at the right time, Kutches said.
About 85 percent of the people coming to Koru are trying something new and they should be prepared to have fun, she said.
“Les Mills is all about being brave and changing the world,” Kutches said.
It is brave to try something new and when people come into Koru, they should be prepared to have a fun journey, she said.
The symbol of Koru Fitness is the koru, an unfurling silver fern frond common in Maori tribal art.
“I picked the name of the gym because of what the koru symbol stands for – new life, strength, peace and growth,” Kutches said.
“Everybody starts somewhere. It is being brave enough to take the first step and come in.”
Since Koru Fitness opened the first week of January, 140 members have joined.
Ramsey is the right place for Koru Fitness, Kutches said.
There are few group fitness options in the city, with the closest a 20-minute drive away in Andover, she said.
But don’t expect to find a full-fledged gym.
Koru only offers group fitness, Kutches said.
“We are only open when classes are offered,” she said.
There are no locker rooms, only changing rooms, Kutches said.
Kutches encourages people to visit the Koru website, http://korufitnessmn.com, to sign up for the classes.
Some of the classes are limited based on equipment, she said.
Body Pump is limited to 20 and the Body Step is limited to 39.
The Body Flow, a combination of yoga, Tai Chi and pilates, has only 17 floor mats and people are encouraged to bring their own mats.
People are also encouraged to bring their own towels, Kutches said.
Koru offers classes Monday through Saturday.
But that could change to include Sunday at some point in the future, Kutches said.
To get people started, Koru offers a new member special for five classes for $15 or 10 for $25.
But it has to be used within 30 days or it does not get the member closer to his/her fitness goal, Kutches said.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org