If you walked into Hard Kore Fitness in Shelton, you’ll see a handful of treadmills relegated to a corner of the large facility but you won’t see those machines get much use.
No matter a client’s fitness level, a workout at Hard Kore is far more likely to include flipping tires, running drills on the indoor turf or boxing.
“Fitness has become fast food,” Hard Kore owner Lou Santella said. “We’re bringing it back to what it should be.”
“We’re not big fans of cardio machines,” Lou said. “The best thing is functional training.”
The treadmills are usually used as a way for members to warm-up before the real work begins.
“We look to engage all the muscles, especially the core,” Rose said.
Hard Kore has become popular with young athletes, who get training from Lou on how to improve their game and avoid injury. Cheerleaders also train there, with help of tumbling coach, Jason Burroughs.
“Lou works with the kids a lot, teaching them how to be safe and healthy,” Rose said.
Some of the strongest people in the world work out at Hard Kore and compete in Strongman or weight-lifting competitions, holding records and several titles. Lou is one of those Strongman competitors. Some of the major lifting happens in a separate weight room at the facility, equipped with tools needed for those serious about the sport.
But don’t let the muscle intimidate you. Every fitness level is welcomed with open arms, the owners said.
Hard Kore recently had a client in his 70’s drop 140 pounds and a female client in her 50’s lost more than 100 pounds.
“It’s our job to encourage them and they are amazed at what their bodies can do,” Rose said of clients of all abilities.
Women or men who may have never been athletic before, or were getting winded walking up their driveway are finding they can accomplish a fitness goal they didn’t think possible, the owners said.
“You see middle age women go outside and flip a tire,” Rose said. “It’s so empowering for them and makes them feel good.”
The facility has training indoors and training courses outdoors. An “Extreme Boot Camp” starts Feb. 2 and the gym is doing its own version of The Biggest Loser challenge.
Another popular offering at Hard Kore has been training for extreme obstacle course races like The Spartan Race and Tough Mudder.
“You can’t really prepare for those at a normal gym,” Lou said of the races. “We get people used to approaching the obstacles and getting safely through it.”
Lou and Rose agreed that fitness is a passion for both of them and that’s why they set out to offer something unique.
“We’re not a big box gym,” Lou said.
“We’re like a family here,” Rose said. “You’re held accountable. You don’t just sign up and we never see again.”
To learn more, visit the Hard Kore Fitness Facebook page or HardKoreFitness.com. The gym can be reached at 203-567-0377.