Club Performax offers a personal touch to working out.


When Laurie Rivers decided it was time to lose weight  — not for an upcoming vacation, or a class reunion, but for herself  — she checked out three different local gyms.

At the first two, the 39-year-old got the distinct impression she would just be a number, another nameless face riding an exercise bike. Then, she walked into Club Performax in Suntree, and her 30-day trial began.

“You’re somebody here,” says Rivers. “It’s a small club, and it feels so personal. Like family. That’s the reason why after my 30 days, it was a no-brainer. I needed to continue.”

Nearly eight months later, the fact that Rivers has lost 51 pounds is just part of the story. Her Club Performax experience has given her a feeling of self-empowerment you just can’t get by looking at numbers on a scale.

“I walked in here just wanting to lose weight,” says Rivers. “I’ve lost weight, but I’m surprised at how strong I am, how much leaner I am and how much more confidence I have. I just walk taller. It’s not something I expected, but I’m very excited about that.”


Risa Stewart and her husband, Rod, first opened Club Performax as a personal training studio in 1998. Ten years later, they moved to their current Suntree location where they now feature Spinning Classes; Boot Camps; Power Stretch, a flexibility and mobility program; comprehensive weight-loss programs; Group Personal Training ranging from small semi-private groups to larger Workout of the Day groups; and, of course, one-on-one personal training.

“The personal training is key,” says Risa Stewart. “Professional athletes need coaches. We all do. That makes such a difference, because then you have accountability … and then you work harder. You do things you might not try.”

In fact, the club encourages gym members to try something new outside the workouts, be it picking up a new sport like cycling or tennis, or running their first 5K, or even a triathlon. The idea is to train like you never have to become the athlete you either once were, or always wanted to become. Age doesn’t matter, either.

“It’s never too late to train like an athlete and feel young and strong,” says Risa Stewart.

When she first walked into Club Performax, Rivers would have never considered running a Tough Mudder or a Savage Race. But in the past few months, she’s done both.

Keeping things new and entertaining is part of the whole process of working out at Club Performax. Take, for example, the ever-changing Workout of the Day. “We want it to not be the same old typical gym experience,” says Risa Stewart. “It should be fun. It should be different every time you come in to keep it fresh.”

The team at Club Performax  — made up of skilled, educated and dynamic trainers — is proud to keep its membership base small, around 300, in comparison to “big box” gyms.


1. Set a goal. It can be short-term, or long-term, but put something fun or challenging on the calendar.

2. Track your food and caloric burn. Numbers can help people stay motivated. Check to see if you reached your daily goal.

3. Mix it up. Don’t do the same workout every day.

4. Get family involved. A family’s support brings extra motivation.

5. Work with a personal trainer. Not only is there accountability, but there is also someone to help motivate and push you to new levels.