CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A new one-on-one fitness company in Niu Valley focuses on people's well-being, inside and out. Above, personal trainer Kim Chalekian worked with Nicole Kerr last week.
Brick House goes one on one
Personal trainers find people will pay for a wellness-based refuge from the gym
Kim Chalekian sees opportunity in a growing niche in Honolulu's fitness training scene -- one-on-one personal training.
She recently launched Brick House Personal Training at Niu Valley Center to bring a wellness approach to fitness, geared toward clients who prefer training in a private space to public gyms.
Chalekian uses a functional training style, with a full-body workout that involves movements useful for everyday life.
"Overall, the philosophy is of wellness," she said.
That means not just physical well-being, she said, but mental, spiritual, emotional and social well-being.
The business, which opened its doors in mid-March, has two personal trainers on staff, who work with about 40 clients,
Chalekian said she is getting an average of one new client per week -- most of whom come through word of mouth referrals.
Chalekian said most of her clients are women ages 40 and up, although she has male clients as well.
The gamut runs from the busy, working mother to the 90-year-old who is trying to get in shape to perform a task as simple as looking under the bed.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kim Chalekian, back, personal trainer and co-owner of Brick House Personal Training in Niu Valley Center, helped Nicole Kerr with her workout last week. The company also assists with the spiritual, emotional and social well-being of their clients.
For women past the age of 40, it's important to build bone density, muscle strength, balance and agility, said Chalekian, who is 41.
Gaining muscle strength, for example, is necessary to lift a heavy carton of water bottles from the shopping cart to the back of a car. Her goal is for clients to get to the point where they "move without fear."
Brick House offers personal one-on-one training with a custom workout designed for clients' specific body types and fitness goals. Chalekian goes over diet and nutrition as well.
"We look at what each person needs," she said.
The 45-minute workouts at Brick House range from $70 to $85 per session. They include a full-body workout including the legs, back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, abdominals and core.
Chalekian -- a lifelong athlete -- got into fitness training after suffering from back pain and migraines. After several sessions with a personal trainer, which introduced her to weight training, they went away.
She was amazed at the transformation, and it prompted her to get certified as an American Council on Exercise personal trainer so she could share what she learned with others.
Brick House moved into a space formerly occupied by Curves, in a suite of shops and offices on E. Halemaumau Street.
The interior is a cool, air-conditioned room, with a brick-faced entry wall, wood floors, and papaya and lime-hued walls that remind one more of a chic day spa than a fitness gym.
Brick House's approach is similar to that of the Hawaii Fitness Together franchise, launched in the spring of 2005 at the Manoa Marketplace by trainer Keoni Subiono.
Subiono and Chalekian -- who was a client of Subiono at the Oahu Club a few years ago -- occasionally refer business to each other.
As a trainer now herself, Chalekian said the most rewarding part is seeing improvement in her clients.
"It's the renewed self-confidence and soaring energy levels that really make the difference," she said. "Instead of feeling like you're dragging yourself through each day you feel vibrant and completely alive."
Brick House client Nicole Kerr, a health care worker, said she prefers the one-on-one training to a larger gym like 24-Hour Fitness.
Some of the advantages, she said, is a trainer that offers customized training, as well as someone who motivates you to get through the last set. Also, there's no waiting for machines or equipment, so that you get in and out on time.
For years, Kerr said she worked out on her own, and was training the wrong way, with an emphasis on cardiovascular workouts. At Brick House, she's learning to take on more weight training, which takes on more importance in the early 40s.
"It costs more," she said, "but I finally decided that I'm worth it."