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Salvation of the Fittest 

In the three years since personal trainer Rusty Roussel became proprietor of Salvation Studio (2917 Magazine St., 896-2200), he's been on a mission to motivate members to take full advantage of this ever-evolving Garden District health club and reap the benefits of a well-rounded fitness regime.

When it opened nine years ago, the club was devoted entirely to classes. Today, the revamped space offers not only the latest in fitness classes, but also a high-tech training room complete with weight machines, free weights, cardio equipment and personal training.

"My biggest challenge was to expand on the studio's original concept and change people's perception of our business," says Roussel, who has been a fitness trainer for 15 years. "It was incumbent upon me to give members what they already expected -- and twice more."

Because more than 90 percent of its members are female, a segment of the fitness market which has a strong interest in group exercise, the studio is committed to staying on the cutting edge of instructor-led classes. In addition to yoga, Pilates, Body Pump, Boot Camp, spinning and circuit-training classes, Salvation Studio recently launched Body Flow, a challenging yet calming combination of tai chi, yoga and Pilates that has met with enthusiastic reviews. The club soon will introduce Body Combat, a confidence-building martial arts/cardio/kickboxing hybrid focused on movement, control and strength.

The 5,000-square-foot gym also offers fitness coaching, an outgrowth of personal training geared toward helping members become self-motivated and accountable. Clients see their trainer once every 10 days or two weeks for instruction and progress evaluation; in the interim, they carry out individually tailored programs on their own. Even the club's Web site (www.salvationstudio.com) -- which includes an online magazine, nutrition information and a free guest pass for prospective members -- is aimed at enabling clients to achieve an optimum level of fitness.

Roussel's latest complimentary addition to the business is Salvation Body Fitness Yoga & Active Wear. Located across the courtyard from the studio, Salvation Body offers exclusive lines of workout wear selected by fitness experts as well as related accessories like heart rate monitors and yoga mats.

click to enlarge Personal trainer-turned-small business owner Rusty - Roussel is devoted to keeping Salvation Studio's clients - motivated.
  • Personal trainer-turned-small business owner Rusty Roussel is devoted to keeping Salvation Studio's clients motivated.
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