I was recently invited to try a complimentary class at my local TruFusion that opened up in North Scottsdale and jumped at the offer. This year, with 6+ races on the calendar, I am looking for ways to keep my training interesting and find new challenges, so the offer to attend a group fitness class came at a great time.
TruFusion opened in December 2017, making it a newcomer to the Greater Phoenix fitness scene. The North Scottsdale studio, located at the intersection of Thunderbird Road and Scottsdale Road, is the only Arizona location at this time. I opted to try a 1 hour TruTRX class - I live in Mesa, so making it to an evening class in North Scottsdale was not the greatest traffic experience, especially on rainy Valentine's Day. I do think that while the market for clients is definitely the "Scottsdale" set, hopefully they will be able to expand in both the East Valley and maybe into the West Valley!
Danielle Pellicano, General Manager, was available to take me on a little tour of the studio before my class and it was impressive. The lobby is open and tranquil, even though this one space balances a check-in desk, small boutique of activewear and accessories, and a snack/juice bar. The sharp white walls, cool white backlighting, and distressed "wood" floors paired with the sharp black signage gives the studio a very upscale, cool-kid vibe. Tech-savvy and forgetful clients alike will enjoy the keyless check-in offered here – there is no need to wait to check in, just head to an open tablet and go!
Hungry? Not a problem – the TruHealth Bar has a good range of options without going overboard – you've got your juices and smoothies, but they also have more filling options like breakfast wraps and salads. For fast service, you are able to pre-order before class and pick it up on your way out, which also earns you a 10% discount on your order, and the TruHealth bar also offers a grab-and-go fridge with ready juices and small snacks.
Past the TruHealth Bar are cubbies for your shoes and the locker rooms, catering to both the people who showed up ready to put in work and those of us who do not travel light. Aside from the number of classes available (hint... it's a lot), the locker room is one of the amenities that make the slightly higher cost of membership worthwhile. It is well lit with selfie-friendly lights that don't make you look sick, with large mirrors both above the sink and placed near the dressing area. The shower area is very spacious and clean, something to be expected given this studio just opened, however much thought was clearly given to how to best clean the shower area. It has few nooks and crannies where mildew could build up, and that was nice to see. Each shower station is stocked with high-quality shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. The locker room also offers lockers with built in locks that allow you to quickly enter your own combination, meaning you do not need to bring your own lock.
One very unique feature of the women's locker room is the dedicated "dressing table" between the regular bathroom and shower/locker area. This mirrored alcove offers not only a specific spot to do your makeup or hair, it also has fresh hair ties, spray deodorant, a hair dryer and straightener, and most importantly a whole bunch of tampons and pads! I like that these items are freely available for members to use, and I especially like that the feminine products were a clear priority. This concept is original to the Scottsdale location, and the TruFusion corporate team loved it so much that it is being implemented in other studios!
As someone who works in the hospitality industry and has worked in nightlife entertainment, I know that one of the biggest goals and obstacles is creating a unique, memorable, and sustainable guest experience from top to bottom. This attention to the guest experience is what sets TruFusion apart from their competition, in my opinion. You get a lot of big-ticket gym amenities, but the studio itself was clearly put together with the client in mind.
My class experiences have also been really positive, not just because I get a great workout that'll kick my ass into the next day, but also because each class gives me something I cannot get when alone in the gym. You also get the opportunity to meet new people and sweat it out together, which can definitely motivate me in a slump.
My TruTRX instructor Jamie Tarkington was friendly, and seemed to really know her students, referring to some of them by name. The TruTRX class was one hour long, had great music, and really seemed to go by in a flash. We worked on our whole body, which was a great way to learn some TRX moves that I can work in to my routine in the regular gym.
The TruTRX Class is special because you have a lot of control over how hard you work, which can be a blessing for anyone recovering from injury or who has some less-strong parts of their body. It also is a class that helps build a fair amount of core strength and stability, as you have to really concentrate on maintaining proper form and angles. The ability to make this hour long workout very personal makes it one that I will probably attend regularly when I just don't feel like lifting weights.
I have also had the opportunity to try a heated Barre class and it was an experience. I have never been that sweaty, and it really made me work to do even half of the movements. One thing I will say about the hot classes is that I had a hard time hearing the instructor over the music and echo in the room, but then again I may have just had a hard time focusing my brain because my body was working so hard.
During my tour, I asked Danielle if bare feet were required, having read that on the website, and she said that it was up to the individual. Don't feel bad for wearing shoes – I saw a few people wearing shoes into class. Do whatever works for you, although you will find that some exercises or workouts may simply be easier going bare.
It is in your best interests to get to class early to find out what equipment you need, instead of being like me in my first barre class having to go back to the equipment room three times to get what I needed. Some classes will recommend weights, or kettlebells, or balls, all of which are provided by TruFusion. Before class, you get your equipment, and after class there is a system to ensure that all equipment is sanitized after use. It is comforting and rewarding to be a part of the cleanliness of the studio!
Membership + Scheduling
ruFusion operates their membership management system using MindBody, a site you may be familiar with if you attend lots of boutique or group fitness classes. Download the TruFusion TruConnect app, available for iPhone and Android devices. The TruConnect app will allow you to earn rewards points for checking in to classes and completing challenges, one point per visit or per dollar spent, earning a $1 reward for every 20 points earned. While it is not an excessively generous rewards plan for rewards earned by visit, it starts to add up when you buy memberships and/or invite your friends.
On the note of memberships, my review would not be complete or truthful if I did not cover the cost of attending TruFusion. As you might have guessed, this is not your $10-a-month basic gym. TruFusion offers a lot of classes throughout the day, and quite a few little amenities that go the extra mile, and so it will cost you more than a regular gym. At the time I visited the studio, membership prices were as follows:
The TruConnect app offers the daily and advance class schedules for the Scottsdale Studio, and is where you are able to view your points status and point challenges. It is also where you are able to find your free guest pass to bring a friend!
I really like the studio, amenities, and incredible staff at TruFusion Scottsdale. Owners Michael and Mark can be found on-site everyday - it's nice to see some gym owners actively involved in day to day things like teaching yoga and straightening up the lobby! Every time I walk into the studio, I feel welcomed and relaxed and ready to get the most out of my workout.
While I really enjoy the variety of classes and am actually also opening up to the idea of making friends in class, I do think that some people might balk at the cost, including a student like myself. The great news is that even though the studio is high end, there is a price option for everyone. Like any gym membership, your effort determines what you get out of your membership dues!