By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Some members were pumping iron, while others ran or concentrated in a body blast class. But in each case, as sweat trickled down foreheads and backs, gym members were smiling.
Mark Floyd, owner of Downtown Fitness of Norman, 119 W. Main St., said he first opened doors Jan 2, 2004. A family owned and operated business, the gym is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. As part of the celebration, the gym is offering a discount to new members.
Floyd, who was overweight as a child, began working out after his family got him a membership to a gym. Floyd said at first, he was very intimidated and it took him a few months before trying out the gym.
“I finally went and I got a trainer. I got acclimated, and I wasn’t intimidated anymore,” he said.
Floyd got his friends to join his workouts and said he would have rather been at the gym than school.
“It was something I looked forward to every day,” he said.
With fitness as such a big part of Floyd’s life, when he saw the opportunity to open his own gym, he took it. Floyd, who was only 25 when Downtown Fitness of Norman opened, said the gym started out with nothing, but he thought, “Let me just go for it.”
“Over the years, it was a struggle, especially in the beginning,” Floyd said. “I feel like I’ve got a master’s degree in business just from running the gym and learning on the job.”
A lot has changed since the gym only offered a few free weights and machines. Floyd said now not only does Downtown Fitness of Norman have a large variety of workout equipment, but if a machine breaks and isn’t fixed within a day or two, it is immediately replaced.
Gym members also feel like a family and are protective of the gym. Floyd said if a regular member sees someone they don’t recognize, they will check with Floyd or another staff member to make sure the person is a new member.
“We’re a family. Members can talk to me any time I’m here,” he said.
Floyd said if he hasn’t seen a regular member for a while, he will use social media or text to check in and see why the member hasn’t been working out because he wants members to stay motivated.
Accountability is important, he said.
Floyd described Downtown Fitness of Norman as the kind of gym for the average Joe. He said the downtown location brings in an assortment of clientele, including doctors, students and business professionals.
With the variety of clientele has come a variety of stories. Floyd said one of his favorite parts of running a gym is interacting with his clients.
“This place is a barbershop with all its stories,” he said.
Since the gym opened, Floyd has remodeled and is constantly thinking of ways to improve. Downtown Fitness of Norman now offers several classes with membership, including body blast, yoga, yoga fit, pilates and body sculpt, as well as offering tanning.
Floyd said the tweaks were spurred from the biggest challenge he’s faced as a gym owner: pleasing everyone.
“I’m always striving to make members happy,” Floyd said. “If someone cancels, I take it personally. I want to know why, and I want to make things better.”
Downtown Fitness of Norman has seen a lot of success stories. Floyd said he has worked with University of Oklahoma football players during the off-season and helped them get on the field.
“We’ve also seen hundreds of people lose weight, become healthier or even get off blood pressure or depression medication,” he said. “That feels really good.”
For more information about Downtown Fitness of Norman, visit dfnorman.
com or call 801-2927.
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