It’s every woman’s dream. A place to work out that’s private and offers exercises and nutrition counseling tailored to your individual needs. Now the dream may be within reach. Kathy Elsesser opened Elements Diet & Fitness, a new premier fitness club for women in Okemos, late last year. The club that Elsesser co-founded with her husband Mark is the first of its kind in Michigan. They were looking for a franchise to own, and this fit into Elsesser’s experience in business and passion for fitness. The couple interviewed a few other franchises along the way, but nothing seemed to match her vision. One day, said Elsesser, an ad in a business daily newspaper “popped out at me.” She called the number and talked to a representative at the Miami headquarters. “I felt like we were interviewing each other,” she said. “And we both liked what the other was saying.” She also did her research on the company. “I literally could find nothing negative about the company,” Elsesser added. “We chose Okemos because it’s a health-conscious community,” Elsesser explained. With Elements now open in the Meridian Towne Center, she knows she’s made the right choice. “It’s everything I’d pictured and more,” Elsesser said. The club has the feel of a boutique. It feels more like a spa than a gym. It also combines traditional workout equipment — like treadmills and elliptical machines — with more modern high tech hydraulic resistance equipment. The hydraulic machine is like a personal trainer run by a computerized “smart card” that records, stores and automates your workout routine, including resistance levels and number of reps. As you progress and reach your target, the program automatically raises your resistance level so that you are continually challenged and able to make ongoing progress. But at Elements, it’s about more than just exercise. Elements promotes a healthy lifestyle. “It’s all about balance and well-being,” Elsesser said, “and a focus on the individual.” The fitness program uses a combination of exercise, stress relief — through massage and yoga — and nutrition counseling to help the client reach her goals. The club also sells multi-vitamins and organic supplements. As their website states, Elements members “experience a wide breadth of fitness forums including holistic services through a one-on-one approach and state-of-the-art cardio, strength and spa amenities, including an infrared sauna and hydro message.” The goal can be different for each member — losing weight, improving flexibility or building bone mass — and Elements helps women achieve that goal. “I’m most proud of a client who is 82 years old. She wouldn’t have wanted to join a traditional gym because she felt she didn’t fit in, but she feels very comfortable working out here,” Elsesser said. That’s due to the staff Elsesser has hired. “I hire the best people,” Elsesser said. When hiring her staff she doesn’t just look at qualifications, she looks for how well they relate to others. “My goal is to help build a community of supportive friends. We get to know each member by name,” she said.
Ann Cool, MPS, is a freelance writer who lives in Mason with her husband Bob.