Robert Wichman intently prepared for a body-building competition, while Molly Wichman effusively led a tour of what could become a welcomed stable in the northern Lee’s Summit community.
The couple celebrated March 23 the grand opening of their new fitness center, but a day before unlocking their doors for a community open house, the husband and wife team of fitness gurus spoke on the importance of a healthy, fit lifestyle.
Surrounded by a litany of products associated with fitness centers, the Wichmans, a few of their employees and a center member or two went about their daily business of obtaining optimum health without a glitch or distraction.
The clanking of weights, the hum of a smoothie-making machine and the off-distant sound of a television set couldn’t or wouldn’t stop the sculpted Robert Wichman, or the equally fit Molly Wichman, from expounding on their theories of why they are in the fitness realm and why they promote a healthy well-being.
“Fitness has been a passion in my life, but also in our household for as long as I can remember,” Molly Wichman said. “I like to share fitness with people. Sharing fitness with our customers and our clients and seeing people make transformations – when I see a client come in and they’re overweight and they go through our program and after three months they’re off their (prescribed medications) and they have more energy to play with their kids, that is a great feeling to me. I want to share things like that with the Lee’s Summit community.”
Added Robert Wichman: “My personal philosophy is not about necessarily pushing supplements or gimmicks or things of that nature, but it’s about helping individuals learn how to eat healthy for life and for the long term. Not just reach a short term goal, but more of a long-term lifestyle – hence the Life Transformations name – change that they can continue and not only continue, but realistically follow in the long term and how to properly understand how their bodies work with workouts, with cardio, with their diet and putting it all together to make a complete 360 or a lifestyle difference. That’s what I really try do and that’s educate.”
Plenty of bells and whistles
The trinkets at Life Transformations Fitness, which opened its door to clients in early March, run the gamut.
Filled to the hilt with the necessities most look for in a private gym membership, the new fitness center in northern Lee’s Summit includes what its owners are calling top of the line gym equipment, a fit bar with a full-line of smoothies, coffee, healthy meals, and a television lounge, a dry sauna, and private shower stalls stocked with body wash and shampoo.
After being involved in the fitness industry for more than a decade – both Molly and Robert have past experiences at Xtreme Fitness in Lee’s Summit where Molly Wichman served as a general manager and both served there as personal trainers under the Life Transformations umbrella – the Wichmans have taken their experiences in the fitness industry, feedback from fitness customers, and a collection of services to put together a quaint 10,000 square-foot, mid-sized full-service fitness center.
“I kind of rolled into the fitness center as a part-time college job and it just kind of evolved into running the gym,” Molly Wichman said. “We wanted to branch out and do something different on our own.”
The center, 3680 N.E. Akin Drive, Suite 132, is located one block south of the intersection of Woods Chapel and Ralph Powell roads.
“It’s a great gym,” Jeff Porter, a Lee’s Summit resident and client of Life Transformations who was present during the tour March 22, said in between sets of his personal workout. “They have the best equipment in the area. It’s the cleanest gym in the area. I’ve been to pretty much every gym in Lee’s Summit and they’ve got everything you could need. Whether you’re a body builder advanced or somebody new, all the trainers here are really knowledgeable.
“Most of the people here are people who know a lot abut fitness and nutrition and that sort of thing. They’ve competed in the industry, so it’s a really good opportunity to improve and be around that and learn a (great deal) from those people.”
The center also offers 24-hour, seven-day a week access, towel service, kid’s area, personal training, small group training and a web-based training program.
“Fitness is our passion and we like being able to share that with other people,” Robert Wichman said.
Robert is a body-building competitor who finished second in the middleweight division at the National Physique Committee’s USA Championships last year. A first place finish at this year’s competition will qualify him as an International Federation of Body Builders professional.
“What that does,” he said, “is it doesn’t take me to a point where I’m going to make millions of dollars or anything like that, but it just takes me to the next level of competition. That’s what it’s really about for me; being able to compare myself against my peers.”
The proof is in the smoothies
The fit bar at Life Transformations is a newer concept for fitness centers, Molly Wichman said. The couple contracted with a company in Springfield for the services, and Wichman said the goal is to be a consistent provider of healthy food and drink options for the center’s clients.
“You go to the gym and you work out and you usually eat or drink something afterwards,” she said of the fit bar concepts. “We wanted them to stay in-house. So we have the fit bar. You don’t have to be a member to come into the fit bar.”
Free for all
The open house March 23 included a free workout, free small group training, a Kids Club Easter Egg hunt, an art tour led by Life Transformations artist Don Davis, whose artwork adorn some of the walls at the center, and a buy one, get one half off drink special at the fit bar.
An optimum nutrition demonstration and chair massages were also offered free of charge at the open house All that and more for a potential client base Molly Wichman said may be looking for a different way of getting in shape or maintaining a fit lifestyle.
“We were at another facility and tried to do some things there for us to move up in that situation, but it wasn’t working,” she said. “When I got to the point when I realized it wasn’t going to work, we decided to branch out and do something different. That’s when we figured out where we wanted to go. We had an idea in our head about something different because everyone can do the same thing; you also don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so do something in the middle. It’s very positive in here. Everyone likes the blue walls – positive energy – and that’s kind of what we are going for.”
“I think it’s a really good thing,” Robert Wichman said of the opening of Life Transformations. “Like Molly was saying earlier it’s something that this area is in need of. They really don’t have too much fitness-wise over here for variety, so being able to bring this here is great. We already know some individuals in the area that are super excited about it.
“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from people that we have already worked with in the past to new people that we are meeting; it’s just really great because being able to have our own facility and set it up how we can best serve everyone is something that we find really special. We are super excited about that.”
Or as Porter succinctly put it: “It’s a good atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed my time here.”