Ultima Fitness has been helping people in the Wellington area get and stay fit for more than 20 years. Along with its general exercise space, Ultima offers group classes led by more than 30 instructors. Among them is longtime Ultima staff member Judy Duany.
As operations manager and group fitness director, Duany works to form and maintain relationships with Ultima’s membership. She also instructs a cycling course, and you will not find her on the sidelines when you get on a bike. She is exercising with the group, selecting the music that will propel the attendees into better shape.
“We’re family owned, so you get a feeling of community here,” Duany said. “Friendships are developed here, so members share a common bond when they come in here. It’s more than just show up, do your thing and leave. Everybody is very encouraging and supportive of each other.”
Duany is thoughtful when she says that anybody can get on the exercise bike in her class and have fun. The class allows you to work at your own pace and capability.
“All of our classes are pretty universal, meaning you are in control of your own bike,” Duany said. “You can adjust the tension freely, and you can make it as hard or as challenging as you like.”
Duany uses music in all her classes as a catalyst for a positive workout experience.
“Music is huge, and that’s pretty much what is going to make it or break it in a cycling class,” Duany said. “It’s going to be a long ride if it’s bad music.”
She enjoys the family-oriented feel of the class. “Friendships continue out of the cycle room,” Duany said. “You’ll see many of them walk right across to get coffee together after.”
All of Duany’s classes are by request from the membership, and she keeps the focus on the individuals in the classes. “In order to have fun, it has to be about them,” Duany said. “In order to make it about them, every week is by request, so I take all of the requests, and I build all of my classes around the type of music.”
During one of her classes, music from the 1980s was the theme, and it got everyone up and cycling.
There is room to start and grow in the cycling class. Duany feels that cycling can be a universal exercise to fit different areas that people want to personally improve.
“Mostly people are trying for cardio reasons, weight reduction, strengthening legs, and a lot of people are intimated by cycling,” she said. “They think it’s too hard, or they can’t do it, or they’re not going to be able to keep up. But like I said, everybody can do it.”
Having a great trainer is a major part of the success in cycling classes.
“I just think they need the motivation, and that is what the instructor is here to do — help encourage them and keep them coming back and be their cheerleader,” she said.
Duany feels a great sense of satisfaction from her role as an instructor.
“I love to see when members hit their goals, and they come and tell me, and they either are training for a triathlon, or they’re just trying to increase their cardio, or they’re rehabbing their knee, and I love to hear the success of what it’s doing for them and how much it’s impacting their lives,” Duany said.
She finds that her class, and cycling in general, is a great way to constructively let out negative stress.
“It’s a matter of sometimes just having a bad day, and you just need to come in and cycle and not think about it,” Duany said. “They can choose to do anything, they can choose to go anywhere, when they choose to come to your class. It comes back to being a part of the community and being a part of something, so they feel safe in your class.”
Duany has been part of the Ultima family for close to two decades now. Her role and her hours have changed, since she has become a wife and mother. It is because of the love and support of the family-operated business that she has been able to grow into her leadership roles today.
“I’m more in the back office, addressing member concerns,” Duany said. “It’s another good thing about me being an instructor as well. The relationships that I form, it’s not so formal when people have to come in and ask about their account or speak about their account. I know their faces, and it’s not intimidating. You come in, and you can talk to me in class. It’s the benefit of me crossing over in departments.”
Duany encourages newcomers to her cycling classes.
“It does not require much once you are all set up on your bike,” Duany said. “It’s not like you have to keep thinking and overthinking. You can come in, and you can make it as challenging or as light a workout as you want, compared to some of the other machines out there, where you need to be trained on.”
She also makes sure that members do not get discouraged after one class.
“We have 30 instructors on staff. So, if you don’t like one, try another,” Duany said. “Don’t give up after your first one. That’s what I keep saying, whether it’s any class. There are multiple instructors, definitely something here to fit you, fit your needs and what you’re looking for.”
Ultima Fitness is located in the Wellington Plaza at 12799 W. Forest Hill Blvd. For more information about classes or other services, call (561) 795-2823 or visit www.ultimafitness.com.