A throng of Needham officials flanked Koko FitClub personnel and members of the Needham Business Association as club members took to their personalized workout machines in the background. Within moments, a pair of scissors was produced, a ribbon was cut and just like that the community officially had its newest fitness facility.
Though Koko had a soft opening on Dec. 15, the club hosted its grand opening yesterday and welcomed guests to check out what they refer to as a state of the art, personal experience. Koko, which is franchised throughout the country, saw Needham become its first Massachusetts facility.
While trainers are on staff and can offer direction, Koko gym members are guided by a personalized, computerized program. Each member receives his or her own program based on specific goals and plugs in a special chip to start a program on a fitness machine.
The machines may look the same as the equipment in other gyms, with treadmills and ellipticals in one corner, and weight-based machines along the left side wall, but this is not your parents' fitness facility.
"The treadmills are mp3 driven and they talk to you as you're on them, constantly monitoring your progress and wringing out a workout," explained Jeff Granville, a franchise owner of Koko clubs opening soon in Acton, Bedford and Westford.
Where the cardio features an audio-based trainer, pushing members and designing workouts, the weight machines have built in television screens that display statistics and video demonstrations.
"You really know what to do after using the program and it keeps you very focused," said John Landry, a Needham Koko member who joined in January. "You've got the best trainers in the business with this software."
After the program takes members through a workout, it displays which goals were accomplished and what still needs to be done. As an example, John Landry found out recently that he is 32 percent stronger than he was a few weeks ago.
The club currently has around 150 members, but Koko stresses that it has a different philosophy than other fitness centers.
"A lot of gyms want to sign as many members up as possible and then they forget about you," said Sara Landry, a trainer at Koko FitClub. "We want to help our members meet their goals and we want people to use this gym as often as they can."
To illustrate Landry's point, members can apply for a special key to the building to allow them to work out before or after the gym has officially closed. The perk, said Landry, is perfect for people who work off-hours.
Members can even take their work home with them. Though results can be seen after every workout at the gym, members can also log into the Koko website at any point and track personal goals and accomplishments.
"When you don't see results with a workout, it's hard to be motivated," said Landry, "and we want to give people motivation and help them achieve goals."
Added Granville, "When people come to Koko from other gyms, they sometimes say that they couldn't get the results they wanted and we like to remind them that they didn't fail, they're old gym did. We're here to change that."
Koko FitClub is located at 850 Highland Ave. and can be reached at 781-444-0011 or MA.Needham@KokoFitClub.com.