GYM CRASHER: Northington Fitness
Location: Gilbert, AZ
What they offer: In person & online training programs for 1:1, semi-private, and small groups, as well as HIIT & booty building group classes, suitable for beginners up through competition style. And as indicated by the name, Northington also offers nutrition coaching, because fitness + macros go hand in hand, duh.
Known for: A quaint fitness studio where you can walk in as an entry level fitness beginner or pro level fitness competitor, and still feel at home. Head trainer Eric Nortington and his wife Karey are co-owners and the faces of the studio; she is an IFBB Pro (meaning she competed in fitness competitions at a national level and won), and Eric starred on Season 2 of the A&E series Fit to Fat to Fit, and specializes in weight loss journeys. Together with their team of trainers, they turn out some pretty bangin’ bodies.
Crowd + Vibe: So many fitness studios have a certain level of intimidation factor when you first walk in. The spaces are always smaller and more intimate than big box gyms, so beginners can quickly feel singled out or uncomfortable. Not in this place. Had I never set foot in a gym before, I wouldn’t have felt the least bit out of place upon walking in; and when arriving somewhere solo for the first time, that’s H-U-G-E.
Northington has an upbeat and welcoming vibe, with a staff of very knowledgable trainers ready to meet you at your fitness level and work with you to achieve your goals… in a very non-threatening environment. Read that last part again… non-threatening environment. The crowd is a mix of Karen from the school PTA, to Karey fitness fanatic, so rest assured you’ll feel A-ok walking in the door on day 1 of your journey and a silent hussssssh will not befall the entire studio with menacing looks of, who’s this new girl?! Won’t. Happen. Here. Promise.
Equipment: Most newer fitness studios have similar equipment, and Northington is no exception. What I love about studios is that they have just the right amount of equipment to efficiently take you through a bunch of movements, all on one machine. This place has NICE equipment. Very new, very clean, and lots of fun attachments to turn any machine into an all-in-one system that would make 1990’s Bowflex blush. I saw a few specialty types of machines that you don’t see at every gym (i.e. reverse hyper and floor squat, for those curious) and a lot of the staples that can be used a zillion different ways; again, with some cool attachments that were new to me.
This gym, for being quaint, makes good use of open space for lunging and band work and hops… and laying down on the floor after you power through a booty builder class with trainer @fitbrandiesel.
Hours: Appointment only, or during scheduled group class times (which are currently only on weekdays).
Pricing: $$—Upfront pricing clearly listed on the website (here). It is pricier than other personal training studios I’ve seen BUT recurring 1:1 training does include nutritional coaching as well… so if you’re looking for the full package, this is very fairly priced.
Competition preparation pricing is also very much in line with what other studios in the area offer (it’ll run you close to $200/month) and this include posing classes/recommendations.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This studio is similar to others I’ve been to, but I think what sets Northington apart is its serious-without-the-intimidation-factor environment that is appreciated by most beginners and those new to personal training… and perhaps even exercise in general. Getting started with a new coach who watches you lunge and bend and thrust your way through unfamiliar movements can be totally nerve-racking for anybody…let alone beginners. Northington also has a diverse lineup of coaches, meaning you are able to find a trainer with a background similar to yours; someone who understands where you’ve been and where you want to go. Feeling understood is paramount to establishing a healthy and long-term trainer/client relationship.
VERDICT: This gym is cute… it’s cute and homey and I had a good time working out here; lots of laughs and jokes, while still getting a solid booty burn in. If you’re looking for something super intense, this place may not leave you feeling totally fulfilled. But, if you’re looking for a personal training studio that is peaceful yet upbeat, where you can walk in from a sh*tty day and sweat out your frustrations while venting and squatting with your trainer, this is a perfect option for you! Beginners welcome. Fitness competitors welcome. Online peeps welcome. Basically, their doors are open. WELCOME.
Snapping a quick pic with my trainer Brandi (@fitbranddiesel); she posts healthy recipe hacks in her IG stories and is an absolute gem to work with. Not only is she a busy mom, she is also a current fitness competitor, NPC National Bikini Qualifier, and certified nutrition consultant. And if that isn’t enough, she has a spray tanning gig on the side… get fit, eat right, and be tan. She’s the bomb.
And a few photos from the booty workout she put me through: monster walks, lying leg curls, and a hip thrust + abductor combo (killer)—full workout details can be found on my personal IG: @kristi_eide.