When Robin Jefferies opened the personal training studio Energy in Motion in the Fondren area of Jackson last year, she felt good about her prospects. Jefferies had spent years working part-time as a personal trainer, and felt she had a winner.
However, even Jefferies has been surprised by the success Energy in Motion has seen straight out of the blocks. Less than a year after opening Energy in Motion in Fondren, Jefferies has established a second studio in Flowood in the Orleans East Building off Lakeland Drive. The Flowood location — “Energy in Motion East” — is much larger than the Fondren gym, and, as with the first studio, extensive renovations were required to convert the space into a personal training studio.
However, Jefferies is quick to point out that bigger is the last thing she wants at Energy in Motion. At her studios, smaller rules.
“What we offer here is personalized training,” Jefferies said. “We do offer group classes, but keep those groups to 15 people or less. That’s what I like — one-on-one, hands-on, personalized training. That, I feel, has been the key to our success.”
Coach to trainer
Jefferies is a native of Brookhaven, and grew up loving sports. This led her to Mississippi State University where she played basketball while earning an undergraduate degree in exercise science.
Continuing her studies, Jefferies went to the University of Houston, earning a master’s degree in exercise science. She also landed her first job coaching a local high school girl’s basketball team. She would stay there more than a decade.
Jefferies’ goal was to coach on the collegiate level, and she returned to Mississippi to become the head women’s basketball coach at Millsaps College. She would remain there more than a decade, as well.
While at Millsaps, Jefferies began offering personal training services part time as a sidelight approximately six years ago. She found she liked it. Unfortunately, she also found coaching was losing its luster.
“I liked one-on-one with the kids,” she said. “But the politics, the pressure to win, recruiting — all of those things took me away from the players.”
Her personal training work gave her the perfect out. And once she decided to go at it full time, Jefferies determined that she would go all out and open her own gym.
Jefferies had certain criteria when looking for a site for her gym. Namely, she was looking for a location that offered easy accessibility to the community, and a facility that offered her vision for a personal fitness center that did away with the “gym intimidation” factor.
Enter Ken Simmons. Simmons is with Homeworks, and he led Jefferies to the Fondren site.
The facility is a former residence, and required extensive renovations to convert it into a gym. Still, Simmons worked fast, and Energy in Motion opened its doors in November 2007 within weeks of Jefferies’ decision to go her own way.
The Fondren location offers 1,400 square feet of space replete with a full complement of state-of-the-art equipment. Once again, Jefferies’ aim was to offer one-on-one personal training, and she estimates that 90% of her clientele is there for that service. However, because personal training does not meet all budgets, she also offers “boot camps” for small groups.
Strictly on the strength of word-of-mouth, Energy in Motion began adding clients, pulling some from as far away as Madison.
“I would guess 95% of our clients are from personal referrals,” Jefferies said proudly.
Jefferies immediate plans did not include a second location, but Simmons once again came calling. He is the owner of the Orleans East Building, and he offered an inviting proposition — convert empty space in the facility into a gym on the bottom floor and a place for Jefferies to live on the second floor.
Once again, extensive renovations were required, and, once again, they were completed quickly. Energy in Motion in Flowood held its grand opening this month.
The new location is much larger than the original. It encompasses 5,000 square feet, with 2,500 of those downstairs. The studio offers the same equipment and services as the Fondren location, and also provides a small courtyard for outside workouts.
Jefferies and Energy in Motion are not done. The two gyms employ two full-time workers and two part-time employees. Jefferies said she hopes to eventually employ five trainers.
“I want us to help as many people as we can,” Jefferies said. “My goal is to support the community in a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about clients’ results. That’s how I measure success.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at firstname.lastname@example.org.