Fitness is a Lifestyle, not a Resolution, at Capital Fitness

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Many people make an annual New Years resolution or birthday wish to start losing weight or getting fit. Since it takes more than a wish to achieve long-term success, its challenging to know where to start. After all, a temporary effort produces only a temporary outcome.

If lifetime health and fitness is your goal, Madison has downtown fitness centers that could help you get started on your journey. Capital Fitness, locally owned by Erik Montin and managed by Karl Barton, has two convenient locations. Most members live within a five-mile radius and approximately 85 percent walk or ride a bike to the fitness centers, which are located about one mile apart. The 35,000-square-foot primary facility is located on the east side of the states capitol building at 15 N. Butler Street. A second 10,000-square-foot facility is located on the west side of the Capitol Square at 425 W. Washington Avenue. This express facility includes cardio and weight equipment, along with a caf for coffee and snacks.

The word gym, with its big-box feel, has not been used in the name of Capital Fitness. The environment of a gym can be very overwhelming with rows upon rows of equipment filling one giant room. This is a stark contrast to the atmosphere of Capital Fitness. The layout of this facility is broken into four floors, which allow for smaller spaces to be more manageable and less intimidating. Newbies find comfort in the smaller spaces. With fewer people in each area, it doesnt feel competitive and like everyone is staring, helping members focus on how they feel instead of how they look. Members who are just starting out can conquer one fitness area and then move on to a different space when comfortable.

Photographs by Eric Tadsen

Fitness is a lifestyle, not a resolution is the Capital Fitness philosophy that permeates everything they offer. For an entire lifestyle change for the mind and body, they offer a health and wellness center with massage, acupuncture, skin care, and yoga. Unlimited yoga, group fitness classes, and cycling classes are included in every membership. The I Train For Life personal training acknowledges that the ultimate training program goal is a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. In addition to the short-term goals that may have first drawn a new member to the facility, the trainers goal is also to help the individual be physically active as late in life as possible.

If members and guests seek out this center because they identify with the philosophy and connect on a personal level with the friendly and supportive fitness culture, theyll receive more than a great workout. Community is important here, which makes it easier to stay on track with fitness goals when surrounded by like-minded people. Members have fun getting their sweat on in a class and bond by spending time together before and after class. Some have been members since Capital Fitness opened 20 years ago. With a 90 percent retention rate, its clear members are attracted to the environment, vibe, and principles found here.

Photographs by Eric Tadsen

The second floor, where members check in and out, is the hub of the fitness center. The Juice Bar is conveniently located adjacent to the main desk so members can enjoy a fruit smoothie or protein drink and grab a piece of fresh fruit or a snack. The couches and high-top tables in this lounge provide a spot to socialize and hang out or work on a laptop before and after working out. The fitness area on this level has weight machines, cardio equipment, and free weights. Depending on their comfort level, new members might start here and then move to the first floor after they conquer this level. The first floor has the majority of the free weight equipment as well as more heavy weight equipment thats a little more intense.

Separate treadmill and cycling studios, as well as two group fitness studios, are located on the third floor. Classes held in these studios are all technically choreographed. Other classes include TRX, WERG, Zumba, and CAPFIT camp classes designed by the teachers. Nationally renowned LES MILLS fitness classes are also offered. These classes have a specific format so they are consistent wherever theyre offered in the United States. Travelers visiting our city can get a guest pass from their hotel. Or, if visiting here for more than a few days, they can purchase a week pass. LES MILLS classes include BODY ATTACK, BODY COMBAT, BODY PUMP, CXWORX, GRIT, and RPM.

The Elevation Salon and Spa on the third floor is where everyone can go to revitalize and reinvent themselves or relax. The environment is both peaceful and invigorating to deliver the best salon and spa experience. The full-service salon offers the latest in hair trends and treatments as well as facials and tanning services. Its also open to the public for appointments.

Photographs by Eric Tadsen

The aroma of essential oil will greet you as you arrive to the dedicated microspace for the yoga studio and massage, acupuncture, and nail salon strategically located away from the rest of the center on the fourth floor. In summer, outdoor yoga is offered on the rooftop area, referred to as the fifth floor. The Yoga Sangha embraces often-untapped disciplines that bring a traditional perspective to modern yoga practices. They hold that an individual's transformative path relies on the existence of a community, a sangha. During difficult times, the community is there to offer support; during joyful moments, the community joins in the celebration; during stagnant periods, the community is there to challenge stasis; and during growth and discovery, the community is there to grow and discover by nourishing and encouraging everyone.

The encouraging and supportive community at Capital Fitness is committed to helping individuals on their journey to a healthy and fit life. A lifestyle's much harder to break than a resolution or birthday wish if individuals stay true to what moves them. Check out to see if their mission meshes with what youre seeking.

Lauri Lee is a freelance writer who owns Communication Concepts in Madison.