Iron Core Bootcamp in Rocky Hill Has Challenging Workouts at All Levels
FITNESS FOCUS: “Our personal training options are perfect for those looking to have a workout tailored to their individual needs and goals. Our training sessions are far from cookie-cutter. Whether gaining muscle and increasing stamina or preparing for their first mud run, our clients will find the right class or personal training session to help them achieve their goals.” Alex Obe, owner of Iron Core Bootcamp, looks forward to helping all his clients reach their potential.
By Jean Stratton
Exercise is the foundation of youth!”
“And furthermore, it is never too late!”
These beliefs are integral to the operation of Iron Core Bootcamp, which Alex Obe opened in 2022.
Working hard, meeting challenges head on, and overcoming adversity are all part of his mindset, and he needed all of his stamina and determination to deal with what lay ahead for his new fitness center.
Obe had owned P.T.S. (Personal Training Studio) Health & Fitness Center on State Road for 13 years when he decided to sell it in 2019.
“I felt it was time for a change,” he explains. “I did want to continue in the fitness field, but just in a different direction.”
His previous history laid the foundation for a willingness to change and look for new adventures. After graduating from Bucknell University, he entered the corporate world, working at Price Waterhouse and IBM for more than four years. Then he realized he wanted to change direction.
“I always knew that eventually I would like to have my own business, and I was always interested in fitness,” he says. “It just always made sense to me. In college, I had a job in the weight room, and I was able to work out.”
After completing the challenging course of instruction, and earning national certification as a personal trainer, he worked at New York Sports Clubs for three and a half years before purchasing P.T.S.
After deciding to open Iron Core Bootcamp, he needed to find the right location, which took some time. Finally, he decided on the building at 200 Washington Street in Rocky Hill, the former studio location of pottery designer John Shedd.
“The building is 300 years old, and has a remarkable history,” says Obe. “Originally a grist mill, its second owner was John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.”
Of course, it needed extensive renovation, and no sooner did that get underway when the advent of COVID-19 delayed the opening. To make things even worse, the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused tremendous flooding to the building, ruining many of the machines and equipment.
“These were very challenging times,” reports Obe, “but many friends came to help, and eventually we were able to get going.”
Iron Core Bootcamp differs from other fitness centers in a number of ways. For example, it includes specific classes and personal training sessions only.
Also, he points out, “There is a misconception that the name ‘Iron Core’ refers to a hardcore workout or the like, but it actually refers to strengthening the core of the individual. Virtually all of our classes have specific times dedicated to strengthening the trunk of the body in order to give our clients cores that feel like iron!”
And, he adds, “It is never too late. Older clients in their seventies or even older can continue to gain strength.”
Creating a pleasing environment was another important goal for Obe. “Due to our studio-style setting, Iron Core Immediately creates a more welcoming atmosphere than some of the ‘mega’ facilities out there. A towel service with personal showers makes this a place that you can come to before and after work.
“We offer a free first class with the promo code ‘Sweat For Free.’ We want people to get a good idea of what they can achieve here.
“We also don’t lock our clients into contracts or memberships. Instead we offer single classes and personal training sessions, five and 10-pack classes, and single and 10-pack personal training packages.”
Workouts and Challenges
The opportunities at Iron Core are for those who want a rigorous workout and challenge, and also for beginners who prefer to start with something less demanding.
“Our workouts are designed to be scaled so that beginning and advanced exercisers can take the same class, and both be appropriately challenged,” explains Obe. “We have introduced a new class on Tuesday and Thursday, Bootcamp Basics, that mixes Pilates reformer-style exercise with cardio, strength, and core into a great workout that anyone can do. There are no kettlebell weights used in the class, and no jumping exercises, so there is less overall impact.”
Other classes include a circuit-style workout, with spinning bikes, boxing, rowing, treadmill, and weights.
“Their focus is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training),” says Obe. “It’s a vigorous workout, but for beginners or people who haven’t been working out for a while, we bring it down a notch.”
When first starting an exercise program, it is always advisable to have a doctor’s approval, he adds.
Iron Core’s personal training programs are very flexible. “Working one-on-one with a personal trainer is a great way to keep motivated,” he reports. “Our PT sessions are very individualized, depending on the client’s condition, goals, etc. They also include weights, cardio, stretching, and more. Also, if someone hasn’t tried boxing before, it can be fun to see if they like it.”
Some people take the classes only, some focus on personal training, and some do both, he says.” We also have clients who use us as their main facility and others who mix and match us with other fitness centers in town.”
Another program offers a four-week custom challenge package, which includes two training sessions, two classes, weekly weigh-ins, and pre- and post-body analysis. “This is a way to fast-track our clients into getting in shape for summer.
“We also have another very popular new class, BFLD, (Big Frick’n Lift Day) on Tuesday and Saturday. This focuses on strength only, with weight lifting only, and no cardio built into the workouts.”
In addition to Obe, who is a personal trainer and also teaches the classes, all the trainers are experienced experts in the fitness field. All have first aid training.
Clients vary in age, from 30 to mid-70s, and come from Princeton and all over the area. Some focus on the classes, others work out with a personal trainer, and some do both. Many come two and three times a week or more. Classes are 45 minutes and personal training one hour.
Variety of Motivations
Clients have a variety of motivations, points out Obe. “These days, I feel that everyone is aware of the benefits of exercising. However we are all under so much more stress than ever before that it seems harder to put it in practice. Despite the pandemic being ‘over,’ the damage it caused is far from done. Long-term illness, habits broken for many, resulting in weight gain and a lessened desire to ‘start all over again’ are prevalent.”
He is encouraged, however, that people are returning, and new clients are not only trying out the programs, but continuing to come back. “I think that being able to come to the gym again after having to stay home during COVID is helping people,” he says. “They enjoy being back.”
Iron Core is a “pay as you go” operation. Single classes are $17. And although the center does not have membership programs, the five and 10 packages offer savings.
Encouraging clients to do their best is Alex Obe’s priority. As he says, “I love working with people and helping them realize that they are often more capable than they realize. When clients step out of their comfort zone and exceed their expectations, it is a truly rewarding feeling.
“Also, I’m always surprised at how different gadgets or diets can become the ‘flavor of the day’ but in the end, it’s good old-fashioned diet and exercise that makes the difference. There are constant improvements being made to fitness hardware, but many really don’t make that much difference. However, after being flooded by Hurricane Ida, I was forced to acquire new spin bikes because my old ones were damaged in the flood. I upgraded to magnetic friction bikes, and I’ll never go back. The ride is smooth, even, and quiet.”
He adds that many clients have become friends over the years. “I think the fact that we offer lots of personal attention and a friendly atmosphere appeals to people. It is not intimidating here. We have clients who are skinny, others who are overweight. All shapes and sizes.
“We know people’s names. We greet everyone and ask how their dog is. We can be therapists too. Someone may have had a bad day, and we say, ‘do another rep!’”
“Keep moving” is the idea, and as he continues, “We keep our programs interesting and fresh, focusing on positive energy. This will help a client’s mental outlook too and their overall well-being. There are just so many benefits.
“I am also really excited about future plans that will not only expand our current offerings but will bring our products to others outside of our immediate area.”
Classes are available Monday through Thursday at 5:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m.; Friday 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Personal training is offered Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For further information, call (609) 297-7389. Website: ironcorebootcamp.com.