Re-opening life through fitness
Dave Perry/The Explorer, Paula Renfro and Paul Emmert are the owners of Alive Fitness & Training Center on La Cañada in Oro Valley.

Paul Emmert, an Oro Valley-based pilot for Alaska Airlines, lost 35 pounds in seven weeks working out at 123Fit.

The loss of weight brought a gain in opportunities.

"Life has re-opened itself in a way," said Emmert, who purchased 123Fit with Paula Renfro and has opened a new fitness business, Alive Fitness & Training Center, at the same La Cañada address in Oro Valley.

For years, Emmert has flown over Mount Rainier, Washington state's highest peak. "It's been a 25-year dream to climb that. Three or four years ago, I couldn't do that."

He can now, and he will, this September.

Being healthy gives Emmert "the ability to get out and experience these kinds of things." He wants others to have that same opportunity. So, when 123Fit struggled, Emmert and instructor Paula Renfro started to "think about what we can do to keep the doors open, and keep jobs here." Renfro was clearly "capable and competent at what she was doing," Emmert said. They stepped in to acquire the business, and held ribbon-cutting and grand opening events last week.

The staff at Alive Fitness & Training Center asks "what everyone wants out of a gym experience," Emmert said. "We want to know what the goal is.

"When someone walks in 35, 40 pounds overweight, we want to get them healthy. How do we do that?" he asked.

Alive Fitness and Wellness has elliptical machines, treadmills, resistance machines, a stationary bike and plenty of space for one-on-one and group instruction. There are classes in zumba, the new workout activity fusing exercise with Latin dance and music. Kickboxing, cardio step and strength training, cross training, Fletcher mat Pilates, restorative yoga, self-defense, indoor cycling and more supplement the offerings.

It's the people who differentiate the gym from other workout facilities. Angela Renfro is the assistant director and a personal trainer, joined in that duty by Danny Hartman and Matt Enriquez. Matt Gall, Laura Renfro, Kurt Schumacher and Laura Douthitt are floor trainers. Kathy Cooper is the cardio step instructor, Stirling Crebbs leads pilates, Joan Riba is the kickbox instructor and Gigi Burton teaches zumba. They are young, fit, enthusiastic people.

"I like to preach what I practice," said Hartman, trained in exercise science at Western Michigan University. He's led wellness training in several corporate environments, and emphasizes diet – shop the perimeter of the grocery store, he says – in helping each person improve his or her well-being.

Emphasis is placed upon individual attention, an understanding of a client's goals, and creating a path to reaching them. "That's the key to it," Emmert said.

Oro Valley Vice Mayor Bill Garner congratulated Emmert and Renfro at a Friday ribbon cutting with the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce.

It is "a complete privilege in America" to have an idea for a business, develop it and open the doors, Emmert said.

Alive Fitness and Training Center

10370 N. La Cañada, Suite 170

Oro Valley


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.