For years, Chris Merrell worked the front desk of a YMCA, watching dedicated gym goers come in day after day, year after year. Chris admired their dedication but noticed many of the regular gym goers weren’t seeing substantial results or, worse, would quit in frustration or because of an injury. As great of a resource as the YMCA is, something was missing.
Unable to stand the mystery any longer, Chris started observing others during his personal workouts. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the problem lay in improper mechanics. People were simply using the equipment and doing exercise movements incorrectly. His first thought was fairly obvious: These people need a fitness coach. But then he made another observation that changed everything…
Beyond the lack of proper mechanics, he realized most gym goers do not put any thought into recovery. They push their bodies with one exercise, jump straight into another exercise, jump straight into their cars, and then do it all over again the next day. By not helping their body recover, they put their progress at a big disadvantage. Chris, who was also a licensed massage therapist by this time, had an Aha! moment. People who want to make a real change through fitness need a fitness coach who teaches proper mechanics as well as recovery techniques. They need to work out smarter, not harder.
“Knowledge is power,” Chris explains. “It’s like a weight is lifted off my clients’ shoulders (sometimes literally) when they realize they can make more fitness progress by balancing training and recovery.”
Chris’s Aha! moment inspired him to open Beyond Traditional Wellness, a boutique gym and fitness coaching program that teaches people how to work out smarter, not harder. As a quality fitness coach and massage therapist, he lays a strong foundation of proper mechanics and recovery techniques and then builds intensity based on his client’s individual needs.
“Beyond Traditional Wellness earned its name because it’s a one-stop shop for training and recovery,” Chris says. “You get proper knowledge from one place instead of trying to piece it together.”
One of Chris’s clients learned the value of this firsthand. She had previously only hired Chris for massage therapy after she started experiencing chronic back pain from working out with a fitness trainer. She was trying to do everything right by hiring a fitness trainer and a massage therapist, but her pain stemmed from improper training, which means her massage wasn’t about recovery, it was about repair.
Quickly identifying the problem, Chris offered her a free training session to show her how to avoid back pain in the first place with proper mechanics. Then, he introduced her to a massage alternative, called body tempering, that provides deeper recovery faster. Body tempering uses weighted rollers instead of hands to release tension. The rollers cover more area and provide consistent pressure, which is faster and more effective than what a typical massage therapist can achieve using only their hands.
After the free sessions, his massage client didn’t hesitate to become a BTW client. Now, she tells anyone who will listen, “Chris saved my life.” The BTW gym is located at mm95 bayside Key Largo, but training, body tempering, and massage therapy can move beyond the gym. Chris also offers outdoor and in-home services and even mixes things up with Virtual Reality training.
Originally from Ohio, Chris feels blessed to work and live in paradise with his wife, Daniela, and two kids. They enjoy the bright and active lifestyle of the Keys. It’s the perfect place to balance hard work, fun, and relaxation, which mirrors his training methods perfectly. For a free consultation, visit BTWfitness.com, @BTW.JustGo on social media.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.