In November 2019, Nik and Kati Rodriguez launched the "strength" fitness facility Train Moment in Chicago's West Loop. This month, they opened a second branch in the third district of Milwaukee.
The company provides full body group exercises. Nik, who has worked in the fitness industry for about ten years, said that at least 67% of each training session is focused on lifting weights and gaining strength.
He explained that under normal circumstances, people use personal trainers to improve their strength. Since not everyone can afford the cost of hiring a coach, he decided to bring this type of exercise into a group environment.
In addition to exercise, the owners stated that they focused on the details that make up the experience — such as having their own signature citrus scent throughout the space — and helping clients improve their mentality.
When guests enter, they will see a floor mat, urging them to put themselves at the door. Humility is one of the company's core values, in addition to excellence, dedication and community.
"Everything—from the first thing you see when you walk in the door, to the smell you smell, to how it makes you feel—is very important," Katie said.
The lobby is white with simple green plants, but the atmosphere of the training room is completely different. It is completely black, with dim lighting and blackout shutters.
"The design of this space is very deliberate-very welcoming and bright in the lobby, and then in the gym, which really sets the tone for your workout," Katie said.
In each class, the coach will train clients in three areas: strength-focused equipment and benches, and rock climbers who provide high-intensity, low-impact training.
There is a Rogue pull-up rack in the rig area, and customers can use the rack to perform vertical pull-ups, kettlebells and medicine balls. The bench area has fully adjustable weight benches, dumbbells and medicine balls. In these two areas, body weight will also be used.
The climber area has VersaClimbers, which are vertical aerobic climbers that focus on natural and smooth movement with zero impact.
"A lot of people with joint problems can work there and train well there without exacerbating the situation," Nick said.
Once the workout is over and it starts to cool down, the shutters will rise to let in the sun and give customers a "sense of accomplishment," Katie said.
Each training exercises different parts of the body, and the number of repetitions varies. Every Monday, there is an exercise in each area, which serves as a benchmark for measuring progress.
The course date, time and registration can be found on Train Moment's website trainmoment.com and its iPhone and Android apps.
Milwaukee's Train Moment offers a variety of packages and membership options, from an unlimited introductory week of $25 (including a guest pass for a class) to an unlimited month of $150 (this is the founder's special price, and the price will increase in the end).
Rodriguezes chose Wisconsin as the first place to expand their business because of Kati's connection with the state and the couple's mutual love for Brew City.
Kati graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with a degree in marketing and previously worked in clothing sourcing at Kohl's Corp. She later worked in Walgreens and Grainger's companies, but always wanted to start a business with her husband.
"I decided to leave the corporate world and build this with him," she said.
Nik graduated from the University of Notre Dame and previously worked in advertising.
"I want to do something that I'm really passionate about doing every day," he said. "I found myself working out."
In the past ten years, he has served as a Pilates instructor, personal trainer and co-founder of the private strength training facility Strive Village.
A few months after Nik and Kati launched the first Train Moment, they had to temporarily close it for about three and a half months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transportation delays related to COVID have created challenges for the start-up and operation of the Milwaukee plant.
"We have been fighting, adapting and learning," Nick said. "But we are very grateful and fortunate to be able to build such a strong influence in Chicago, which allows us to expand."
The Milwaukee factory at 323 N. Milwaukee St. opened on November 8.
"We only love Milwaukee, we love the third district," Nick said. "We think it is very similar to our community in Chicago."
The owner plans to continue to expand the business without the franchise rights, and believes that it will open a second branch in Chicago next.
"We pay a lot of attention to quality and the quality of every interaction and experience in our space," Nick said. "We don't want to downplay it for growth."
Contact Hannah Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @HannahHopeKirby.