May 29, 2023

Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico and ABQ News, Sports, Business and more

Gabriel Flores is a lifelong teacher.
Before getting his personal trainer certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine last year, he taught high school science and coached football.
“I always loved the coaching aspect more than anything,” Flores said.
But Flores felt that big commercial gyms, including the one where he worked as a personal trainer, weren’t serving his clients. So he decided to open his own studio, Natural Fitness ABQ, last month.
“All my clients, they were echoing the same theme,” Flores said. “They were saying, ‘I don’t feel comfortable in this big atmosphere.’”
Natural Fitness ABQ is contained in a single room at 1 Central NW, and is appointment-only. Members, Flores said, don’t have to fight to use equipment during busy 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, a personal trainer at Natural Fitness ABQ and former client of Flores.
The routines are all personalized to each clients’ body and goals. There are five personal trainers at the gym, including Flores. Each trainer has a distinctive discipline; for example, trainer Anita Mueller has a yoga teacher certification and infuses yoga throughout her routines. All of the trainers are certified in various areas.
“We really strive to make our clients feel special,” Flores said. “… When they come in, we say: ‘Hey. This is your studio.’”
Currently, the gym has under 10 clients.
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The studio also works with a chiropractor and offers specialized routines for people going through physical therapy. McKee said that many clients have to stop going to physical therapy appointments when their insurance stops covering it. That’s where Natural Fitness ABQ steps in, McKee said — providing both equipment and accountability for people in recovery.
Each new member goes through a consultation process. First, they have their bodies scanned by an InBody machine — a digital scale on steroids. The InBody machine analyzes body composition, scanning for muscle mass, fat and water content. It can also identify specific areas of the body that could use extra attention.
McKee trained with Flores at his last gym, before she joined the team at Natural Fitness ABQ. She specifically signed up for that gym to use their InBody machine.
“You know, during like a six-week period, you might only lose two pounds overall,” McKee said. “But InBody can tell us you gained eight pounds of lean muscle mass and lost 10 pounds of fat, which is a huge difference in your body and your health.”
Every month following 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 separate nutrition program.
After the body scan, trainers assess potential clients’ posture, squats, and shoulder and ankle mobility. By looking at client posture and movements, the trainers can identify muscle groups that need to be strengthened. Someone with a hunched back, for example, might need to train their lower back more, Flores said.
“I’m a teacher by nature,” Flores said. “And so I really pride myself personally on being able to break down all the details of how your body should move into a squat. It’s not just a squat; it’s what muscles you should be feeling, the dynamics behind the movement, and giving people the information to be experts in their own body.”
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 meetings every other week and $65 for monthly meetings.
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