Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saratoga Business: New Owner Takes Over Athletic Club, Adds Crossfit To The Local Health Regimen

“Tailored for terrorist hunters or housewives, it's a fitness program for all needs. Called Crossfit in Los Gatos, it's a gym within a gym. Confused? Starting from the beginning: On Nov. 1, Joe Gigantino, an athlete who turned his natural, university scholarship-winning ability into a fitness profession, became the new owner of what has been known for over 28 years as Los Gatos Athletic Club at 285 E. Main St. It's now called Los Gatos Health and Fitness. Gigantino has "resurfaced" the 24,000-square-foot facility with new paint and carpets and purchased new machines, having donated the old ones to local schools. More importantly, Gigantino says he has regained more than 200 of the 350 members who left, unhappy with the lack of maintenance of the facility over the past two years. While a loyal membership used the club when it was under the management of longtime owners Ed and Shirley Burk, membership dropped significantly under the management in the past two years by a health clinic. Gigantino, a Fresno native, achieved an athletic scholarship to Fresno State University, where he graduated with a degree in business. He began his career in 1991 as a consultant to health clubs. Two years later, he bought his first health club business, parlaying that, he says, into four clubs, all of which he sold in 1997. Then he began buying health club property, his first in Milpitas, then Gilroy, then one in Arizona. The Los Gatos property and business is his most recent acquisition. Several years ago, Gigantino, 42, was named one of the ‘Top 40 Young Entrepreneurs Under 40’ by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ‘I'm an avid workout nut,’ he says. His workouts, which he does during any one of his daily visits to his three local gyms, have kept him fit enough to be a respected linebacker in a recent alumni football game. Gigantino's most recent innovation is the gym's affiliation with Crossfit. promoters say Crossfit is a unique style of whole body conditioning that pushes participants to extreme limits. In Los Gatos, the program is under the guidance of three special trainers who tailor the workout to the needs of clients from grandmas to mountain bike riders to skiers. ‘The gym is all about people,’ Gigantino says, and the program is tailored to their differences. Crossfit requires a separate membership. Specials are being offered now for early signups. A general gym membership costs $100 per month.”

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