WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | FALL 2018 47
Thirteen years after opening
on Chagrin Boulevard near
Warrensville Center Road, Club Fit,
like those who work out there,
is still going strong.
Owner Philip Stotter isn’t big on
marketing, or even street presence. The
way he sees it, all he needs to generate
traffic is word of mouth, recommendations
by current clients.
“I’ve always liked to let people come
to me,” says Stotter, a physical therapist
turned gym owner and inventor. “I felt if I
had a good service, the word would get out.”
The strategy seems to be working.
And with good reason. Unlike just
about every other gym in Northeast Ohio,
Club Fit has a fruitful target demographic:
older adults, ages 55 and up. It’s an
age group drastically under-served by
traditional fitness centers and sometimes
in need of help mastering functional
movement or regaining mobility after a
fall or visit to the hospital.
Seemingly simple movements like
sitting, standing, climbing, and picking up
objects, “These are the things we lose as we
age, and we don’t even know we’re losing
them,” Stotter says.
“Really what we’re looking to do here
is help people function better in life.”
Most clients at Club Fit work closely
with Stotter or one of his specialized
trainers to develop and go through a
custom exercise or functional movement
plan. Those who can are free to use the
equipment on their own.
Others, meanwhile, work alone or
in small groups on “Big Red,” Club Fit’s
nickname for the equipment at the heart
of Active Aging 360, a program Stotter
developed recently and hopes to take
Big Red has eight exercise stations,
each equipped with a screen and a virtual
assistant known as AAVA, and allows
users to go through a structured regimen
of exercises simulating real-world movements like getting out of bed, placing objects on
shelves, climbing steps and ladders, and picking up bags of groceries.
Over time, users improve their stability, core strength, flexibility, and
proprioception, all of which are key to preventing falls and injuries, avoiding the hospital,
and living independently. At the moment, Stotter also is developing an electronic
shoe insert that will monitor balance, foot position, and weight distribution, and
communicate that data to a smartphone app.
“I’m trying to break down the barriers between what’s fitness and what’s therapy,”
Stotter says. “I really love helping people. I love what I do.”
He also loves Shaker Heights. Although he’s not currently a resident, he’s definitely
a fan, having grown up and attended school here. He brought Club Fit to Shaker in an
effort to serve a population he knew to be
savvy, close-knit, and health-conscious.
“It’s that kind of place,” Stotter says.
“People know who I am.”
20820 Chagrin Boulevard
Photo courtesy of Club Fit