Every month LOVEWORD CREATIVE will feature a Creative Soul. This month's feature is Aimee Raatz, the owner and instructor at Rhythm Fitness Studio located in Grand Rapids, MI. Earlier this month LWC had a Q&A with Aimee on how she became a business owner. She explained, that the roots of the Rhythm Fitness Studio were started in those school gyms and dance studios in the first years Aimee was teaching Zumba and was licensed to teach Zumba in 2007, then opened Rhythm Fitness Studio in 2008.
What inspired you to explore your passion?
LWC wanted to know how Aimee got the idea for the Rhythm Fitness Studio. After teaching group fitness classes for 29 years. A career which she started at 18, and in her early 20’s she instructed at a studio that was run much like Rhythm Fitness Studio is today. The seed of her dream to have a fitness studio was planted at that time. She says she taught very part time for many years in conjunction with
working at a “regular” full time job. But when she had kids, teaching fitness classes was a perfect part time fit to be able to stay home with them. When Zumba hit the fitness scene, it allowed many instructors to teach outside of clubs, on their own and even open studios, Aimee explained. Zumba was her spring board to open Rhythm Fitness Studio. Aimee was renting two different school gyms and dance studios to house her classes on a couple of evenings every week and had 50 – 70 people in every class. So it was easy to transition to renting one space and giving it a name, and Rhythm Fitness Studio was born.
Do you have an ultimate goal?
Aimee's ultimate goal as a business owner is to offer very effective and fun classes at an affordable price. Since she has been in the fitness industry for so long, and has taught in so many different clubs/studios, she seen what those facilities have done well and the things that were not so great. Aimee says, as an instructor, the participants of a facility will let you know what they like and don’t like. She really paid attention over the years to what she heard and tries to take those things to heart at her studio to make it the best it can be.
Tell us about your fitness experience.
Rhythm Fitness Studio offers a variety of group fitness classes and Zumba is still a big draw. Aimee has
extensive experience in many different types of classes and has taught kickboxing, circuit training, Pilates, step, boot camp, has been certified in precision cycling, turbo kick, POUND, RIPPED, and pre/post-natal fitness. You can find Aimee and RFS on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RHYTHM-FITNESS-STUDIO-263151718735/ and has a great turn out by word of mouth as well. She has also used flyers and ads in local newspapers in the past.
Success and Passion
Aimee attributes her success to having a passion for fitness and helping people feel better and healthier (body & mind). Also, she tries to keep the studio current with the trends in fitness (if they are solid in the science behind it and truly effective) – and in LWC's opinion Aimee does a great job mixing it up and featuring new and classic hits! It is very important to Aimee to keep the classes fun and fresh while still delivering a complete and solid workout. She feels like God has given her the heart and passion that she pours into every one of her classes. She is the motivation often needed when your heart is beating fast, sweat is coming out of your pours, and when you feel like calling it quits. Aimee knows she has been very blessed that she has never had an injury that has sidelined her in 29 years of teaching and she says, "if God allows me to keep doing what I’m doing, I’m all in." She also knows that she has really great group of instructors at the studio and has been working with them for years and they too have a passion for the people that attend Rhythm Fitness and they too put so much of themselves into their individual classes.
What does the future hold?
Aimee's goals for the future includes a continuous expansion of the classes that are offered and to increase attendance to expand the schedule. A possible second location in the future has always been in the back of her mind. Aimee's advice for anybody thinking about a business in fitness, is to continue to learn as much as you can and never think you know it all. Fitness is ever changing and new ideas and new science makes it very important to continue to study and learn. Aimee also feels that you have to be in it for the right reasons. "Financial gain cannot be your first priority or your motivation. Anyone in the fitness industry knows, we don’t do this for the money. You will not get rich in fitness. You have to have a heart for the people in your classes." – Aimee Raatz
How does creativity come into play with fitness?
The last thing LWC wanted to know was how creativity plays a role in keeping RFS successful? Aimee says, "keeping the classes fresh and the creativity of the choreography and music choices are key in keeping the classes fun." She also let us know that she has had the privilege of working with some of the best instructors in the world and has learned a lot from them. Aimee's knows being creative and not allowing the classes to get in a rut, keeps the excitement and fun factor that hopefully keeps people coming in and working out with Rhythm Fitness Studio. So if you are in the Greater Grand Rapids Area go in and check it out for yourselves!