For RippedPHL owners Katie Costalas and Charbel Sarkis, fitness has always been a passion. However, breaking into Philadelphia's saturated market would require a formula distinct from other gyms. That's why RippedPHL, a 2017 Readers' Choice winner, is focused on reshaping not only your body but also the way you train.
After years of trying different classes and techniques, Costalas, a finance professional who split her time living in Chicago and Avalon, N.J, grew tired of the run-of-the-mill sweat sessions.
At the same time, Sarkis who was pursuing an undergraduate degree in pre-med, was becoming an exercise enthusiast. When he wasn't working on his medical studies, Sarkis was devouring information about the physiological effects fitness has on the body.
The pair met through a mutual friend in Avalon and it only took one conversation for Costalas and Sarkis to know they had the same ambitions: to help others reach their fitness goals with a unique, science-backed exercise regime that guaranteed results.
After two and half years of extensive research, the duo created an intense interval training brand that has caught on in Philadelphia like wildfire.
Below, Costalas shares what sets their boot camp apart from the pack.
Did you know right away that you wanted to develop a business together?
The day we met there was an instant connection in terms of our take on fitness. I was still early in my learning about instruction and personal training, so Charbel became more of a mentor for me. Charbel's out-of-the-box take on fitness, and his ability to scientifically explain it, really resonated with me. As soon as he coupled mathematics, science and physics into the mechanics of fitness, I was immediately interested.
How does RippedPHL’s science-backed techniques differentiate it from other gyms in Philadelphia?
Our classes are divided into two groups — those on Woodway treadmills and those on the floor. Taking a huge group class, well, it's easy to get lost. So we have created an app for RippedPHL to make the workout experience easier for our members to follow. There is a new program put into the app everyday. It is very customizable and helps keep workouts from getting dull and boring.
What makes Woodway treadmills more effective than the standard ones found at most gyms?
You are running on pure rubber which helps with shock absorption and preventing shin splints.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a huge fitness trend right now. What makes your HIIT workouts so effective?
Interval training has been around for a long time because it is very effective. This type of training is the best way to get fast results without hurting yourself. At RippedPHL, we put everything together for you, which makes it easier and more effective. We also provide our RippedPHL family with heart rate monitors so you know you are staying at the desired level for fat burn throughout your entire workout.
What is your favorite aspect of RippedPHL?
It's very rewarding. We receive tons of emails, feedback, stories of weight-loss accomplishments that have been life changing. Neither one of us are from Philadelphia, and we haven't been here that long. But this community has been so welcoming. Every day we engage with clients who are excited to see us and happy to come in. They know they will see results.