A heart attack and diabetes diagnosis led Jay Sheer to a workout routine, diet changes, nixing smoking and eventually, to a fitness trainer certification.
Now, he and wife Vicki Sheer are channeling their new-found healthy lifestyle into Sheer Fitness, a business they opened Dec. 1 at 2601 S.W. 21st St. in the Plaza 21 Shops.
The store features a new type of exercise equipment, ARX or adaptive resistance exercise, Vicki Sheer said. Instead of using traditional weights for resistance, ARX equipment uses computer-controlled motorized resistance as an individual exercises.
No other Kansas businesses yet use the equipment, she said.
“It matches the force exerted by the user, so it’s always the perfect rep,” Vicki Sheer said. “There are no weights to drop. You also beg more benefit because our bodies can lower a lot more weight than we can lift. When you use traditional weights, you’re always limited by the amount of weight you can lift. With this, it’s like someone giving you a whole bunch of extra weight when you lower it.”
Vicki Sheer said her husband discovered information about the equipment online, and they flew to Austin to see it in person and learn more about how it worked.
“We were so impressed with it, we knew we had to bring it to Kansas,” she said.
Mark Alexander, co-founder and CEO of ARX Fit, said the company was founded in 2011 but the next four years were spent in researching and developing the specialized equipment. Sales began in 2016, and he’s seeing growth in the company, primarily in urban centers.
When introducing something new to the market, it’s necessary to educate people about the benefits. But Alexander pointed out that resistance training isn’t a new concept and is well recognized to bring about health benefits.
The difference at ARX is that the machines offer computer-controlled, motorized resistance, shortening the time needed to exercise and also, Alexander said, making it safer.
Weights can be challenging to use, especially for a novice, but it requires a few minutes to understand how ARX machines work and to use them.
“It’s good on really either end of the spectrum, whether you’ve been hurt or you’re a little tentative or an exercise novice,” he said. “The system adapts to the user. You’re not necessarily going to guess wrong on the weight. The system will only give you as much as you can put out. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re a competitive athlete or weekend warrior, it will help you get stronger, and do that better and be more injury free.”
Alexander recommended individuals work out on ARX machines once or twice a week.
Balance –exercise is a very simple analogy; a sun and a suntan, really more is not necessarily better. It’s a stimulus that gives you something; you have to respect that if you will with intense exercise. A, you don’t need a lot and B, you don’t need it all the time.
Changing their own lifestyles so dramatically — Vicki Sheer also quick smoking — was tough on the Sheers, but the two have been successful. Now, their story brings an added impact to their new business, where they offer free demonstrations on the equipment because the concept of it is so new. The computer-controlled machinery tracks the users’ progress, she said.
“When you’re doing your workout, you can look at a screen that shows exactly how much force you’re exerting every single second you’re working out,” Vicki Sheer said. “That is saved to the cloud, so next time they come in, they can compare their progress. I just put something on Facebook that showed that I had almost a 70 percent increase in strength in my legs in seven weeks time.”
Because the intensity of the workouts is higher than when using regular weights, Vicki Sheer agreed a once-a-week workout is recommended. Sessions begin at $25, but there are reduced rates for buying multiple sessions.
Sheer Fitness is the couple’s first business, and Jay Sheer is continuing to work fulltime in other work. The store is available to be open six days a week, and the Sheers plan to work by appointment. But since it’s new, they’ll be there most days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so that people can drop in for a demonstration of the equipment and a free fitness assessment.
Alexander said the data being collected by the ARX computer interface will help his company track and understand the benefits of using the equipment.
“The evolution has really been that we are becoming a technology company, or an exercise tech company,” he said, rather than simply a fitness company. “We want to start being able to compile some of the data, not the demographic marketing type of data but the biometric data of exercise. A lot of people have spent a lot of time money and effort in the biometric data of exercise on the endurance or the cardio or aerobic side of things. How many steps, how many miles, the heart rate. We’re just doing that but in resistance exercise.”
Although it’s relatively early in the data-gathering process, Alexander said the company is seeing data to indicate “marked improvements” in bone mineral density and also progress made in controlling diabetes.
For more information about Sheer Fitness and to schedule a demonstration, call the store at (785) 414-4568 or visit them online at www.sheerfitnesstopeka.com.