Sports passion leads West to building fitness for others
Reagan West is the owner of Owatonna Fitness. While she offers a variety of things to do in her athletic complex, she says, “Our claim to fame is fitness.” Staff photo by Rick Bussler
-Reagan West, Owatonna Fitness Owner
Reagan West has turned a passion of playing sports into helping others improve through fitness.
And perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a wide variety of fitness routines that have become the staple at Owatonna Fitness, the center West owns and operates in downtown Owatonna.
“Our claim to fame is fitness for everyone whether just starting out or a long-time marathon runner,” said West, who has been a fitness trainer for 20 years. “We have the whole gamut spectrum of fitness.”
West initially started teaching fitness classes at the old mall prior to moving to the Milwaukee area for seven years. When she moved back to Owatonna in 2013, she got right back into fitness by renting a smaller space before transitioning into owning the business.
Among of the types of fitness offered by West are cardio strength, yoga, power pump punch and cycling classes. The types of fitness, West said, are well rounded and cover all different age groups. In all, there are 10 different classes starting as early as 5:30 a.m. with six primary instructors, including West.
And when she says all ages, she means it.
West’s oldest customer happens to be 93 and takes part in a punch class.
She is especially proud of the punch class, which caters to Parkinson’s patients. West started the class after a friend was diagnosed with the disease. She studied degenerative brain diseases for months prior to starting the class. In her research, she found how different punches help rewire the brain.
West tells Parkinson’s patients that “as good as you feel today is the best you’re going to feel.” And while that may seem a bit unsettling, West strives to keep people from further declining.
When it comes to helping Parkinson’s patients, West says, “I am very passionate about it. It has a different emotional element to it.”
Most importantly, West hopes her punch classes will provide Parkinson’s patients with an element of fighting the disease and give them some piece of control and hope.
There are regularly about 15 patients in West’s punch class.
“It’s a neat relationship to see that group,” West said. “For some of them, it’s their social group. They really connect with each other,” she said, adding the smiles on their faces are priceless.
Asked what sets her fitness center apart from others, West said: “Our adaptability to working with all levels. We focus on them, not just the instructor.”
For West, she loves meeting the people who come to her fitness center. “There are so many I’ve become friends with that I wouldn’t have met without doing what I’m doing,” she said, adding she lovingly refers to her customers as “our fitness family.”
Coming to class isn’t just about fitness, West said. “It’s about the camaraderie and enthusiasm,” she says. “We have a hoot. We mix it up and try to do lots of fun stuff. We work hard, play hard.”
West said she enjoys watching people grow and get stronger.
“When you get the energy going in class, it’s so much more powerful.”
Operating a fitness center has been a “very heartwarming and humbling” experience for West.
“It’s fulfilling and you feel that what you do means something,” she said, adding she is grateful to do what she enjoys and loves the most.
At the end of the day, West feels as if she has made people feel better and happier about their lives.
West has experienced many challenges over the years with the greatest one being COVID-19, which shut down the business for a couple months. While the pandemic raged, West turned to offering online classes.
“It was hard getting through covid,” West said, adding she is still trying to rebound from the impact of the pandemic.
Besides the fitness center, there are several other businesses in the same complex. They include: Learning RX, Fresh Café, Carrin Kath Massage and Cindy’s Tailoring.
“What we have is really unique,” West said. “All female owned businesses.”
Pointing to the business owners as being caring and generous, West said the environment speaks to “something bigger than this building.”