People Special Features — 02 February 2018
Gym tailors workouts for an older crowd

By Emily J. Minor

City & Shore PRIME Magazine

As business owners, Jodi and Thad Rund saw a niche opening. As fitness experts, they saw a need.

“I just noticed that pretty much anyone over 45 was nervous to come in [to the gym],” says Jodi Rund, owner of two Fit Body Boot Camp locations in Palm Beach County. “There’s this huge population out there that’s not being addressed.”

So she and her husband, both combat veterans who grew up in homes with unhealthy eating and exercise habits, decided to work with the Functional Aging Institute – a team of experts who study and shape senior citizen exercise programs.

“Our staff was used to motivating the 20- to 30-year-olds,” she says. A 70 year-old-woman with a bad hip is a whole other ballgame.

Taking advantage of an expansion plan offered by their franchise, the Runds got their coaches trained in working with older clients. In June 2017, they incorporated into their program “Fit Body Forever,” a senior workout plan that’s challenging, but can be modified for each client.

Sore wrists from rheumatoid arthritis? They’ll have you do your pushups against the wall, not the floor. A shoulder that feels like it’s on the verge of bursitis? They’ll change out your bicep kickback.

Today, the Runds own one of the few locations in South Florida that provide an over-55 fitness regime. But given census numbers, Jodi Rund knows there will be competition ahead.

America’s Baby Boomers – born between 1945 and the mid ’60s – are part of the country’s fastest-growing population. And Boomers only began turning 65 in 2011, so there are years to go.

Patience Burns, 60, who retired a year ago as executive director of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, found the Runds’ program through a Facebook ad. She liked the “over 55” part.

“I’m self conscious about my weight to begin with,” says Burns, who adds she’d become more devoted to work than exercise. “I know it’s self-imposed, but I would feel insecure around a bunch of young people.”

Here, in these small classes with other Boomers, she leaves all sweaty with her heart rate up. But she can pipe up if her knees hurt and she needs an exercise modification. Her comrades sometimes groan when they get up off the floor. And nobody’s using 25-pound weights. Yet.

Jodi Rund says it’s all about getting – and keeping – their clients “functional.”

“People want to be able to travel with their friends, lift a box, carry in the groceries,” she says. “Our whole goal is to treat you like the person you are.”

 For information about Fit Body Boot Camp, visit There are also several Broward County locations. The Runds are planning a new location in Boca Raton this year.


PHOTO: Thad and Jodi Rund

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