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Local teachers become business owners

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Betsy and Alton Shields (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

It is getting to be that time of the year again. Out with the old and in with the new. Most people are going to wait until the New Year to take better care of themselves. They call it resolutions, which end up being resolies. Resolies? That’s where a person goes to join a gym and after a month quits until the next January. Or they keep the membership and drive around town going through life’s paces with their work out clothes in the back of their vehicle ready to workout. Somehow, their car never seems to park in the parking lot of their work out facility.

If you’re new to Roswell, how do you select a gym and what differentiates a good gym from a bad gym? What is going to make the difference between joining a gym and sticking with it? Is fitness a goal and what steps are a potential member willing to take to become a fit.

Some of the questions people looking to get into shape might have are Where are the gyms? How much does it cost? Are there contracts involved? What about being intimidated from being so out of shape with all those fit people on the treadmill next to me? Is there enough motivation for me to stick with it this time?

If for some reason a certain gym is not in the upcoming articles, they either declined to participate in this story or contact information was unavailable.

Boy finds wife

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As a senior at Floyd High School, Alton Shields asked Betsy, a sophomore to the Homecoming. She told him he’d have to ask her dad. A shocked and scared Alton did that and they have been together ever since. Both went to college at Eastern New Mexico University and became teachers.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Alton taught physical education, biology, and coached football, basketball and track at Lovington and Jal for six years. Frustrated with school and the politics, Alton did commercial landscaping during the summers when school was out. He did so well that he figured he could make more money doing landscaping full-time than if he taught. Eventually, Alton believed in himself enough that he opened up Alton’s landscape while Betsy continued to teach junior high school for 19 years.

Shields’ buy gym

He was working out at the original Power Block Gym. He told Betsy he wanted to one day own the gym. Alton followed his wife’s advice and made Terry Holl, the owner of Power Block an offer. Alton came home and told Betsy, we just bought ourselves a gym. At the time the Shields knew nothing about running a gym, they just knew Alton liked to work out.

In Feb. 2001, their first month in business 40 people paid them, which made them more determined to take care of their customers and reinvested in their business. With such a growth in customers, Alton was able to design and build a new gym in Sept. 2007, to their present location: 1300 N. Virgina.

“Our’s is a great story about being diligent and working hard,” Besty said. “The American Dream can happen if you work it. You have to work hard, be diligent, be consistent, and treat people right.”

With so many gyms in the area, the Shields pride themselves on giving top-rate customer service.

Getting started

The hardest thing for a potential member to do is to walk through the door. People that sign up aren’t superstars they are normal average people who want to change their health and life for the better.

First 30 days

As the New Year is about to begin, the Shields’ know it is critical to the person who comes to them needing to work out for their health, and life. They may not get another chance to save that persons life, so they believe the first 30 days is key to giving them a life of fitness, health, and joy.

“The first 30 days are critical,” Besty Shield said. “A member is either going to see something or their not and if they don’t chances are they will drop out.”

Club Coach

When a member signs up with the gym they will get a club coach.

The job of the coach is to communicate with the member for the first 30 days and help design a workout plan that will motivate them to see results. The coach may recommend an online trainer, which will show the member what part of the body they are working and describe how to do the exercise. The club coach will also help with group exercise so that the member will feel comfortable. All of their trainers are certified.

Time

Many of the members that join gyms are there because they are out of shape, overweight, they have high blood pressure, their knees are sore and back hurts.

“Everyone has 45 minutes three times a week,” Betsy said. ‘I’m going to make sure I know your name, the equipment is fixed and working correctly and the facility is clean.”

Contracts

The gym offers no-contracts and agreements as well. There is no pressure to sign up at the gym during a visit.

When they took over the gym they had 75 members, and now they have over 3,000. Because of the success in business, they survived the crash in ‘08 and came out of it better.

The gym will sell pre and post work out drinks. They offer work out gear, hats, hoodies, and wet-dry clothes as well.

Cheers

Like the show ‘Cheers’ when a person joins they become like family and everyone knows their name. If a member knows has been gone for a while other members will ask if they are OK?

Kids

Children play in the KidZone at Alton’s Powerblock Gym. (Submitted Photo)

KidZone is offered in the morning and evening for children 18 months to 12 years old.

“We think that if we have a great staff in there,” Betsy said. “Our patrons will be comfortable bringing their kids. It will make them more relaxed and able to enjoy their workout.”

Each child care worker has been certified and passed a police background check to work there.

Bread and Butter

Many people think that Alton’s Power Block Gym is powerlifting. The companies bread and butter are the people who are non-traditional, have limited experience in working out, but really understand and want the value of what fitness does for them.

“I tell people the dream is out there,” Betsy said. “You just have to go out and get it. Success is about timing, but it starts with work. We still work 60-70 hours a week. Life is a grind and anytime your not willing to work, you’re either moving forward or moving backward in this industry.”

The Shields believe environment is more important than price, and they work to provide the right environment for their clients. Believing that if a patron would pay less and not go because they don’t like where they work out at, it is not of value.

What they offer

1. Complimentary KidZone

2. Group Exercise

3. Cardio – Treadmills, elliptical, Arc Trainers, recumbent bikes, spin bikes, stair mill and Jacob’s ladder.

4. 30 minute circuit area.

5. Fully stocked weight room – Free weights, pre-set weights, nautilus equipment and hammer strength equipment.

6. CrossTraining equipment-plyo boxes, kettle bells, mace sticks, TRX and rip sticks, sand bags, medicine balls, slam balls, sleds for pulling, sleds for pushing, tires, chains, ropes and bumper plates.

7. Boxing area – Bags, speed bag.

8. Power lifting – All the specific training needs for power lifting. Squat racks, Forza Olympic benches, deadlifting platforms, specialty bars, chains and blocks.

9. Tanning beds.

10. Locker rooms and showers.

11. Two outdoor training centers. North side is the artificial turf for speed work along with sled work, tires, etc. Big South side is perfect for all CrossTraining moves.

12. Basketball court

Programming:

1. Fit 360 – Our small group training perfect for those who have never or have not been exercising

2. Starter Plans – A club coach will help you to develop the habit of exercise and help you find the program that works best for you.

3. SilverSneakers – This is our senior program. Many insurance companies pay for the SilverSneakers. It is about Fun, Friends and Fitness

4. Personal Training – We have many professional personal trainers that will design a program tailored to your needs and goals.

5. On-Line Trainer – We have an online app that will give you 3 work-out per week. The app will show you each exercise in a video with our trainers, our equipment and our facility.

Our philosophy:

The first 30 days are critical for all new members. We have the services you need to ensure your success.