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World Body Fitness combines health and philanthropy

Jaymi Butler

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world body fitness
Members participate in a socially distanced workout at World Body Fitness. Due to Covid-19, class sizes are being limited and two air purification systems filter in new air every 15 minutes.

St. Petersburg residents have a new place to work out while giving back to their community. 

World Body Fitness, which opened Friday at 1123 1st Ave. N, offers a more personalized approach to group fitness, according to owner and former Olympic swimmer Tracey McFarlane. That personal touch is something that McFarlane and her fiance and business partner Dan Wall were focused on when developing the concept for World Body. McFarlane, a physical therapist by trade, and Wall, a longtime personal trainer, both enjoyed giving personal attention to their clients, but working in one-on-one settings limited how much of that they could do.

“There are only so many hours in a day,” McFarlane said. “We wanted to create something where we can affect more lives.”

When people join World Body Fitness, they meet with a tour guide who will show them around the facility, explain the workout regimen, discuss membership packages and talk with them about their wellness goals and any injuries they might be working through. They also have the option to get a body composition analysis.

While all members take the same classes regardless of what they’re hoping to achieve, each person’s goals and details will be shared with the coach leading the workout so their class can be customized to their specific needs. Someone who wants to lose weight, for example, might do a different number of reps than a person who is training for a triathlon, and coaches circulate through the classes to make sure everyone understands what they’re doing.

“There will be accountability for each person,” McFarlane said. 

The hourlong workouts, which are named for cities across the world as a nod to the World Body name, include visits to four stations incorporating treadmills, ski ergometers, weights and assault bikes. Classes change daily to keep things fresh and members can sign up for their workouts via an app.

The workouts aren’t the only thing that change, though. Every quarter, World Body will choose a different health and wellness nonprofit to support through donations. Members will vote on which nonprofit gets selected and can earn additional votes based on how many classes they attend. The Pinellas County chapter of the Special Olympics will be the first recipient.

“This is my favorite part of the business – that we will be able to give back to the communities that we’re in,” said McFarlane, who hopes that World Body will expand to additional locations in the future. 

Right now, though, McFarlane, is laser-focused on getting the flagship location up and running. Like many entrepreneurs, she and Wall experienced Covid-related delays, setting them back four or five months from their original goal of opening in July. 

“It’s been extremely challenging,” she said. “But I’m an optimist by nature.”

In addition to modifying class sizes from 32 to 24 to promote social distancing and upping their cleaning protocols, McFarlane and Wall purchased two air purification systems that will filter in new air every 15 minutes. By addressing any concerns related to Covid, she’s hopeful that people will feel confident in joining the World Body community and taking some time to focus on themselves and their mental health – something that’s crucial in a year that’s caused so much stress and anxiety.

“Everyone needs exercise and fitness,” she said. “It’s extremely important.”

To learn more and sign up for a free class, visit the World Body Fitness website

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