sweet sweat

Circle the Sun Fitness, a New 24-Hour Gym, Is Headed to Sarasota

Two Bradenton-based gym owners are partnering to open a new fitness center in September, and you're invited to learn more this Sunday.

By Kim Doleatto February 17, 2022

Key Fitch

Key Fitch

Image: Barbara Banks

Is a 2022 New Year’s resolution to get fit gathering dust? If your excuse is that you don't have time, well—that won't fly once this new, 24-hour Sarasota gym opens.

Circle the Sun Fitness will replace the former YouFit on Lockwood Ridge and is slated to open in September. The new gym is a partnership between Key Fitch, 48, and Claude Antoine, 43, who both previously owned smaller gyms in Bradenton, and have been training and coaching most of their lives. Fitch's was all-women’s gym called Key 2 Life Training; Antoine's was called The Sweatbox and focused on personal training. Both will close at the end of the month as Fitch and Antoine transition to the new location.

The round-the-clock hours are to accommodate local hospital workers, students and service industry staff who don't have regular work schedules. Group classes will include cross-training, Brazilian/Latin movement, boxing, and a class combines yoga, boxing and stretching. There will also be classes for kids and seniors.

Both Fitch's and Antoine's previous gyms were smaller, and they’re bringing that “intimate, custom feeling” to the new 10,000 square-foot space, Fitch says. Both will be on-site to deliver the same kind of personalized attention to form. She’ll focus more on group training, while Antoine will focus more on personal training.

Claude Antoine with a client at The Sweatbox

Claude Antoine with a client at The Sweatbox

Two years ago, the pair talked about partnering up to open a gym, but the pandemic got in the way, “and it wasn't the right time,” Fitch says. They both took it in stride, training virtually and moving clients to outdoor boot camps. Energized by client success stories, they decided now is the right time.

A client who just went through a divorce and followed Fitch's 12-week program “had a  whole life change,” Fitch says. “She started crying the first time she could do a burpee. Just seeing that happiness is so rewarding for me.”

Antoine helped a retired firefighter who'd had hip, knee and shoulder replacements regain his strength. After a year of working with him, his wife wrote Antoine a letter thanking him for her husband’s newfound independence. “She wrote he could bathe and dress by himself again, and that letter means a lot to me,” Antoine says. Six years later, the two still train together.

But attaining health goals doesn't stop at movement. Fitch is also a certified sports nutritionist and is bringing that expertise to Circle the Sun.

“You eat cause you like the taste. But food is fuel, so think strategically–you want to put the best-grade fuel in your body,” she says.

Another point Antoine raises is that the workout you'll do is the one that works.

"People get discouraged because maybe they're not ready to do a certain workout and they give up. So try something else," he says. "Walk if you can’t run. I hate losing people because they're not having fun." 

While the new location is being prepped, learn more, drink and eat, this Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Sweatbox, 5925 17th St. E., Bradenton. Circle the Sun Fitness will be located at 6198 Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota.

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