Working out the kinks: Navajo-run gym/fitness shop opens doors in Page
By Krista Allen
Special to the Times
DÁ’DEESTŁ’IN HÓTSAA, Ariz.
To get the best running gear and supplements, local runners and athletes had to travel more than 100 miles to buy them at a running shop.
Now there’s a high-end fitness facility here that not only sells those things but also has a gym.
Fitness Odyssey officially opened its doors April 3 and marked the occasion with a community color run and a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the new facility at 130 6th Ave.
Fitness Odyssey is owned and operated under Diné family Kenny and Emily Young’s Western Circle Group of businesses – Ken’s Tours, K.E.Y. Ranch, Rimview Terrace, Young Estates and the Western Circle newspaper.
Fitness Odyssey is located inside a spacious building that once housed Colorado River Discovery’s rafts and equipment and is comprised of exercise equipment such as Matrix, a commercial fitness brand.
“We have a whole range of things,” said Michelle Monroe, the Youngs’ daughter and the COO of Western Circle Group. “We use Matrix Fitness products. They (company representatives from Texas) came out here and looked at the space (to) see what we wanted to use.”
The Fitness Odyssey gym has cardio, strength and group training equipment for adults and youngsters alike.
“We’re really big about runners and basketball and football players,” said Jessica Bigthumb, Monroe’s cousin and the general manager at Fitness Odyssey. “We’re also thinking about all the older people who have to go easy on their knees. We also have (equipment) for those who are more about powerlifting.”
The retail end of Fitness Odyssey sells everything from clothing and running gear to supplements and training recovery tools. The Odyssey retail opened last March also with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“At that time, we were still working on the renovation (of the gym),” Monroe said. “It took some time working with the city of Page because we had to update a lot of things.”
Monroe said steps were taken to increase the building’s power factor in order for the equipment to run properly. The gym was completed and ready to operate at the end of January 2021, but Monroe and her team had to configure pricing and membership costs.
“In March, we decided to do a soft opening –– just open the doors and allow people to pay a special promotion price and work out on the equipment,” she explained, “and see how the flow was so we could fine-tune our processes.”
The gym was busy even without advertisement, said Monroe.
“It also gave an opportunity for customers to give us feedback on what we can improve on,” Monroe added. “When (official) opening day came, we felt very ready to go and we’re just excited for the new memberships and the new opportunities that have come upon just the last month of being in the soft opening.”
A few of those opportunities include professional athletes who will visit the facility to promote certain brands and one of the local physical therapy clinics partnering with the facility.
Bigthumb said the Fitness Odyssey team tried to stay local by purchasing items from area businesses such as Lake Powell Furniture and Page Fast Glass, which provided flooring and the mirrors inside the gym, respectively.
“There’s a lot of depth that we went into studying different kinds of products with certain brands and stuff,” Bigthumb said. “So we were actually excited to have ‘1st Phorm’ part of our inventory. Also ‘Gnarly,’ and we’ll also have ‘Tailwind’ really soon. So a lot of the smaller brands.”
Monroe said having a fitness facility in Page and near Western Navajo is a “huge” deal because it’s the first of its kind for Lake Powell country, especially for visiting runners and hikers taking part in the running events by Vacation Races and NavajoYES, and doing the Rim-to-Rim run/hike of the Grand Canyon.
“In this town of Page there is no other gym that has this kind of equipment that we have,” Monroe said, adding that Fitness Odyssey also offers classes and programs such as high-intensity indoor cycling exercise, Zumba, Pilates, and kids’ ballet and dance.
“There are little places that might have different kinds of classes or programs but a full-size gym like ours, there isn’t any for miles,” she said.
Monroe and Bigthumb said fitness enthusiasts are not only from the Page area but also from across Western Navajo.
The sisters said they see people from Shonto and Tuba City visiting the gym two to three times a week.
“And they’re very excited and happy that they have this opportunity to continue their fitness journey through the equipment and the facility that we’re able to provide,” Monroe said.
Fitness Odyssey will offer yoga, CrossFit, personal training, and additional interval training classes soon.
“There are so many possibilities and it’s just a matter of knocking them out one at a time, (not) overwhelming ourselves,” Bigthumb added. “But we’re just trying to bring the community together, making sure everyone knows we’re here for everybody.”