APOLLO BEACH — A quick peak inside Move With Intent gym in Apollo Beach and fitness hawks in search of treadmills, elliptical machines, stair steppers and rowing equipment will need to do a double take.
Where many big box gyms offer standard plug-in exercise equipment, the newest fitness center in the SouthShore area employs oversized tires, ropes, chains and, most important, kettlebells for its neighborhood members.
"It looks like a big playground for adults," said principal owner and master trainer Thayne Shatah, who calls his center the first kettlebell gym in Florida.
Kettlebells are cast-iron weights that resemble cannonballs with handles. Fitness seekers have been using them since Russians introduced them in the 1700s to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. Shatah, a former U.S. Marine and RKC II certified kettlebell instructor, considers them his secret weapon in the war on personal wellness.
Kettlebells recently became popular in the United States and Shatah says he can talk for hours about the unique workout tool. Shatah wants the 20-plus members he's gained since opening in July to learn about what he calls "relative strength" and not focus on beefing up to look good at the beach.
"Our coaches and instructors teach the science and art of how the body operates," Shatah said. "If you were in a life or death situation, how would you get out? Workouts are never the same. It's not boot camp."
Move With Intent has programs designed for all fitness levels. It already has helped a 350-pound member with an extreme weight loss, aided athletes in their training and worked with children. In addition to kettlebell instruction, people can expect Olympic weightlifting, speed training and a focus on 10 fitness domains: cardio-respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
"I want to change people's lives," Shatah said. "If you change one life, that person is going to remember you for the rest of their life."
Move With Intent is at Apollo Beach Boulevard and U.S. 41, in a plaza with Publix and Pinch-A-Penny pool supply.
Find it online at movewith intent.com.
Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story. If you know of something that should be in Everybody's Business, email Eric Vician at email@example.com.