Bothell/Kenmore gyms offer summertime shape up opportunities

For anyone from the casual fitness enthusiast to the hardcore weightlifter, the dog days of summer are a great time to improve that muscle tone or shed some excess that may have accumulated staying indoors during Seattle’s rainy spring season.

For anyone from the casual fitness enthusiast to the hardcore weightlifter, the dog days of summer are a great time to improve that muscle tone or shed some excess that may have accumulated staying indoors during Seattle’s rainy spring season.

When it comes to gyms, clients have many options to choose from, and each facility has pros and cons depending on what individuals are looking for.

This issue the Reporter will be profiling two gyms in the Bothell/Kenmore vicinity — one smaller, independently owned facility and the other a larger, regional chain location.

Around-the-clock fitness

If you ever have the urge to do some intense cardiovascular training at 3 a.m., Kenmore Fitness Center is the place to be. The gym, located at 6728 N.E. 181st St., is a 24-hour key-card access gym. Owner Tom Dooley has been at the helm of the facility since it opened in 2004, during which time the gym has accumulated approximately 700 members.

At Kenmore Fitness, you get what you see at an affordable price. Dooley takes pride in the fact that his gym has no joining, initiation, processing or cancellation fees, and members receive a complimentary orientation with Kenmore Fitness Center’s personal trainer Sara Jo Stuver-Pacheco, who has 10 years of experience helping people achieve their fitness goals.

“My gym is more designed for baby boomers, we’re about 60 percent women and the average age is 45-plus,” Dooley said. “It’s not a weightlifter’s gym, it’s for the average person. My big advantage is the low-key approach and just keeping it simple.”

Inside, one will find everything from aerobics balls to a wide variety of machines like cardio bikes, treadmills and rowers. The gym also features more sophisticated contraptions like the Stairmaster Gravitron 2000, a pull-up/dip machine that works the upper body.

Though Dooley is usually on hand to offer assistance to his members, he bills Kenmore Fitness as a “self-help” gym that is about providing good, clean and updated equipment and easy access.

“Consistency is the thing I try to (achieve) with people,” said Kenmore Fitness Center’s four-year owner. “These are people that are not necessarily used to working out, and so I really try to get them working on a consistent basis where they’re coming in two or three times a week.”

Dooley said each member develops a personalized “circuit” to go through on visits to the gym during his or her orientation, which is kept track of on a workout card. According to him, getting a total-body workout in one session is much more beneficial than only “backs and legs” one day and “shoulders and arms” another day.

“We encourage them to use the cards and get through the circuit, then do some cardio and go home,” Dooley said. “The concept is to keep it simple and fast, and try to get into a routine with it … so they get the whole package there.”

Starting Aug. 1, Dooley is planning to expand his company to build fitness rooms throughout the Puget Sound for facilities such as hotels, retirement homes and schools.

“I’ve got a lot of experience here with the security cards, camera and equipment,” Dooley said. “I was a stockbroker before this, and I kind of shifted over to doing gyms, so I’ve been kind of figuring it out as I go, and it’s been working pretty good.”

All in the family at Mieko’s

Mieko’s fitness began in 1999 by the sister-and-brother team of Mieko and Seiji Hart when they opened their first two locations in Magnolia and Edmonds. Since then, a total of four more locations have been opened, including the newest Mieko’s in Bothell’s Canyon Park at 1629 220th St. S.E.

Opened in January 2007, the Bothell branch of Mieko’s looks and feels upscale without the high price tag of a private club. It is home to state-of-the-art machines, a plethora of wide-screen HD-TVs for clients to watch while working out and an attentive, friendly staff.

“Mieko’s offers the best value in terms of dues and joining,” said manager Adam Creighton. “They put a state-of-the-art gym together that people can enjoy for $20 or even less per month.”

Creighton also cited service — there are currently 17 trainers and representatives employed at the gym to help customers — and cleanliness as the gym’s other brand values.

Like Kenmore Fitness, the atmosphere at Mieko’s is family friendly and caters to a wide variety of clientele, particularly busy professionals looking to achieve their fitness goals.

“We’re a family based, family owned gym … you won’t find a dating service, you won’t find a heavy-lifting gym,” said Creighton, who has been manager for a little over a year. “But you will find ordinary people working out to stay fit … or trying to get to their fitness goals.”

While many larger gyms charge additional to take specialized classes, there is no fee for members to participate in any of Mieko’s array of group fitness activities.

“We have everything from cardio kickboxing all the way through pilates, aerobic balls and stretching to yoga — we have a very good yoga program,” Creighton said.

For families looking to work out but not wanting to employ a babysitter, not to worry — Mieko’s offers a kids’ club for children 12 and under where youngsters can stay safe and active under watch of licensed childcare practitioners.

Unlike other gyms that may cater to serious bodybuilders or wealthy executives, the clientele at Mieko’s is truly an eclectic mix. On any given night, one is likely to see soccer moms, college students, athletes and working professionals all searching for that elusive goal of attaining total fitness.

“It’ll always be a good mixture of people in here, it won’t be only bodybuilders or people wanting to look good,” said Gary Yamamoto, Mieko’s chief operating officer. “(Our customers) can be relaxed, come in here and not have to worry about other people.”

“We like to provide a comfortable atmosphere where they can achieve their fitness goals at their pace,” added Creighton. “If they really want to get there, we’ll assist them in any way we can.”