New gym opened in response to demand
You can’t find much in the Methow Valley that is open 24 hours a day. But for people who want to work out in the wee hours of the morning or late at night, Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness is now offering a 24-hour gym for its members.
The newly opened gym also expands what facilities are already available, providing a space to work with heavy weights. The foundation of the original fitness center wasn’t designed to withstand the impact of heavy weights dropping on the floor.
“We have a lot more demand for barbell and weightlifting in the community,” said Jenna Kokes, a physical therapist and co-owner of Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness. “We’re getting a lot more of the younger clientele that wants to do the barbell and cross-fit type workouts.”
In fact, Kokes is among that growing demand for lifting weights. She started working out with barbells about five years ago.
“I was inspired after my second child was born … I started taking a class in barbells to stay fit,” Kokes said. She has become sold on the benefits of weight training and the gratification that comes from building strength.
“What we know through research is the stronger we are, the more stable our joints are. Bone density improves after lifting barbells,” Kokes said. “As humans, we underestimate our bodies and how strong we really are.”
The 24-hour facility is a “cross-fit type gym,” with mostly loose equipment that can be moved around to maintain space for free weights, Kokes said. It has new equipment including barbells, heavy dumbbells, benches, workout machines, resistance bands and medicine balls. A rope climb will be added soon, she said.
The 30-by-30 foot building has a large garage style front door that can be opened to the outdoors when weather is good. It provides space for classes, including a women’s barbell class led by Kokes and strength and conditioning classes. Kokes said she is considering offering a barbell class for people over 60.
Planning for the new gym began in response to requests from members who wanted to be able to work out earlier and later in the day, when the fitness center was closed.
“We couldn’t staff that,” Kokes said. And due to patient privacy rules, the fitness center couldn’t allow people inside without staff present, because it adjoins the physical therapy portion of the building, which has medical records.
The new gym is adjacent to but separate from the original Winthrop Physical Therapy & Fitness building. It is accessed by members who are provided key cards to get in and is equipped with security cameras.
Construction on the new facility was originally planned to begin before the COVID pandemic hit, but was put on hold. “You can’t really build a new gym when you have to close your existing one,” Kokes said.
The 24-hour gym opened last month, and members are taking advantage of the around-the-clock availability, Kokes said. “We have people coming in at 4:30 or 5 a.m., or 10:30 at night. Some people will be working out in the main gym and move over when that gym is closed. We knew there was a demand for 24 hours.”