In November 2019, husband and wife Nik and Kati Rodriguez launched Train Moment, a “strength-forward” fitness facility, in Chicago’s West Loop. This month, they opened their second location — in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.
The business offers full-body group workouts. At least 67% of each session is focused on lifting weights and increasing strength, said Nik, who has been in the fitness industry for about a decade.
Oftentimes, people work on improving their strength with personal trainers, he explained. Since not everyone can afford to hire a trainer, he decided to bring that style of workout to a group setting.
Beyond the workouts, the owners say they have focused on the details that make up the experience — like having its own signature citrus scent throughout the space — and helping clients improve their mindsets.
When guests enter, they’re met with a floor mat that urges them to leave their egos at the door. Humility is one of the business’ core values, along with excellence, dedication and community.
“Everything — from what you first see when you walk through the doors, to what you smell to how it makes you feel — is something that’s super important,” Kati said.
While the lobby is white and simple with greenery, the training room has a drastically different vibe. It’s all black with dim lights and blackout blinds.
“The space is designed very intentionally — to be really welcoming and bright in the lobby, and then in the gym area, really setting the tone for your workout,” Kati said.
Sessions focus on three zones
During each session, a coach trains clients in three zones: The rig and the bench, which are strength-focused, and the climber, which provides high-intensity, low-impact training.
The rig area features a Rogue pull-up rack, which clients use for vertical pulls, kettle bells and medicine balls. The bench zone has fully-adjustable weight-lifting benches, dumb bells and medicine balls. In both of these zones, body weight is also utilized.
The climber zone features VersaClimbers, which are vertical cardio climbers focused on natural and fluid motions with zero impact.
“A lot of people with joint issues can work on there and train on there really well without exacerbating that,” Nik said.
Once a workout is finished and a cool-down begins, the blinds rise to allow the sun to shine in and give clients a “feeling of accomplishment,” Kati said.
Each session hones in on different parts of the body, and the number of reps vary. Every Monday, there’s an exercise in each zone that serves as a benchmark to gauge progress.
Milwaukee’s Train Moment offers multiple package and membership options, from $25 for an unlimited intro week that includes a guest pass for one class to an unlimited month for $150 (which is a founders special that will eventually increase in price).
Why they chose Milwaukee
The Rodriguezes chose Wisconsin as the first place to expand their business because of Kati’s connection to the state and the couple’s mutual love of Brew City.
Kati graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a marketing degree and previously worked in apparel buying for Kohl’s Corp. She later worked in corporate for Walgreens and Grainger, but always wanted to start her own business with her husband.
“I decided to leave the corporate world and build this with him,” she said.
Nik, a University of Notre Dame graduate, previously worked in advertising.
“I wanted to do something I was truly passionate about doing every day,” he said. “I found myself working in fitness.”
Over the past decade, he’s been a Pilates instructor, a personal trainer and a co-founder of Strive Village, a private strength and conditioning facility, among other roles.
COVID-19’s impact, future plans
Months after Nik and Kati launched the first Train Moment, they had to temporarily shut it down for about three and a half months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-related shipping delays posed challenges on getting the Milwaukee location up and running.
“We’ve just been battling, adapting and learning this whole time,” Nik said. “But we’re so grateful and blessed that we’ve been able to create such a strong presence in Chicago that’s allowed us to expand.”
The Milwaukee facility, located at 323 N. Milwaukee St., opened Nov. 8.
“We just love Milwaukee, we love the Third Ward area,” Nik said. “We think it’s very similar to our neighborhood in Chicago.”
The owners plan to continue to expand their business without franchising, and are thinking a second Chicago location will be next.
“We’re really big sticklers on quality and the quality of every interaction and experience in our space,” Nik said. “We wouldn’t want to water that down for the sake of growth.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Chicago-based Train Moment opens Milwaukee Third Ward fitness space