New gym brings personalized fitness to downtown

From left, Emily Flores, Director of Operations at Natural Fitness ABQ, and her husband, Gabriel Flores, owner of Natural Fitness ABQ. They are pictured with their 10 month old daughter, Karine. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Gabriel Flores is a lifelong teacher.

Before earning his personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine last year, he taught high school science and coached football.

“I’ve always loved the training aspect more than anything,” Flores said.

But Flores felt that the big commercial gyms, including the one where he worked as a personal trainer, weren’t serving their customers. So he decided to open his own studio, Natural Fitness ABQ, last month.

“All of my clients, they echoed the same theme,” Flores said. “They were like, ‘I don’t feel comfortable in this big atmosphere. “”

Natural Fitness ABQ is contained in a single room at 1 Central NW and is by appointment only. Members, Flores said, don’t have to fight to use equipment during peak times. At each session, clients can expect to be in a group of one to four people.

“It’s not such a big group that they can get lost in the crowd,” said Trina McKee, personal trainer at Natural Fitness ABQ and former client of Flores.

Routines are all personalized to each client’s body and goals. There are five personal trainers at the gym, including Flores. Each trainer has a distinct discipline; for example, trainer Anita Mueller has a yoga teacher certification and infuses yoga throughout her routines. All trainers are certified in various fields.

“We really strive to make our customers feel special,” Flores said. “…When they come in, we’re like, ‘Hey. This is your studio.’”

Currently, the gym has less than 10 customers.

Gabriel Flores, personal trainer and owner of Natural Fitness ABQ, demonstrates the rope at the downtown gymnasium. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

The studio also works with a chiropractor and offers specialized routines for people undergoing physical therapy. McKee said many clients have to stop going to physical therapy appointments when their insurance stops covering them. That’s where Natural Fitness ABQ comes in, McKee said — providing both equipment and responsibility for those recovering.

Each new member goes through a consultation process. First, their body is scanned by an InBody machine – a digital steroid scale. The InBody machine analyzes body composition, scans muscle mass, fat and water content. It can also identify specific areas of the body that might need extra attention.

McKee trained with Flores at her last gym, before joining the Natural Fitness ABQ team. She specifically signed up for this gym to use their InBody machine.

“You know, over a six-week period, you might only lose two pounds in total,” McKee said. “But InBody can tell us that you gained eight pounds of lean muscle and lost 10 pounds of fat, which is a huge difference to your body and your health.”

Each month after their initial assessment, members can use the InBody machine to track their progress. The machine also tracks metabolic rate, which helps guide Natural Fitness ABQ’s distinct nutrition program.

After the body scan, trainers assess potential clients’ posture, squats, and shoulder and ankle mobility. By examining the client’s posture and movements, trainers can identify muscle groups that need to be strengthened. Someone with an arched back, for example, might need to train their lower back more, Flores said.

“I’m a teacher by nature,” Flores said. “And so I’m really proud personally to be able to break down all the details of how your body should move in a squat. It’s not just a squat; it’s what the muscles you should feel, the dynamics behind the movement, and giving people the information to be experts on their own bodies.

The training costs $110 per week for two weekly sessions and $165 per week for three weekly sessions.

The nutrition program costs $260 for weekly meetings, $130 for biweekly meetings, and $65 for monthly meetings.

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