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Imagine getting ready for a workout, only to call it a day once you’ve finished your stretches. One of the newest additions to Cleveland’s fitness scene, StretchLab, would argue you did exactly the right thing. The unique wellness concept was founded in 2015 in California and now has over 200 franchises across the country with nearly 100 more in development. The limber fitness concept is among the first of its kind to focus on 1-on-1 assisted stretching with a trained Flexologist — the company’s term for trainer — and welcomes people of all ages and fitness levels.
StretchLab’s most recent Northeast Ohio location opened in Rocky River in June, and we got a chance to speak with franchise owner, Jeanne Fuelling, to learn more.
Cleveland Magazine: Why do you think StretchLab spread so rapidly across the country in the past seven years?
Jeanne Fuelling: “You come in, and you work with a certified Flexologist, so it’s like having your own personal trainer every time you come in. They work with you to stretch every part of your body, and it’s stretching that you cannot necessarily do on your own. It takes another individual to help you do it. I think the growth is just because it’s a phenomenal concept. It’s unique. Ten years ago, people were more interested in really lifting and working up a sweat. I think now there’s recognition in taking care of your body and doing a recovery mode like more yoga, more Pilates. Assisted stretching kind of fits in with all that.”
CM: What made you want to bring StretchLab to Rocky River?
JF: “I lived in that area before getting married over 20 years ago, and I just fell in love with the whole downtown Rocky River area. I just felt that the community would be receptive to something like that, to self-care. We’re in the Beachcliff plaza, which is in downtown Rocky River, and a lot of that plaza really centers around self-care. There’s a massage place, there’s dentistry, there’s a workout facility. There’s a lot of self-care there already, so our studio really fits in well.”
CM: What are some of the benefits of assisted stretching?
JF: “Increased flexibility, mobility, improved posture — you can improve your balance. We have members from eight years of age all the way up to 91. People come in for all kinds of reasons, and our studio is definitely goal oriented. We get high school athletes that are trying to excel in their game. Their parents understand that being properly stretched is a great way to reduce injury. We’re starting to be very popular for that age bracket, as well as anyone who starts to feel tightness in their hamstrings and their back. So, anyone — particularly 35 and up — recognizes that this is something great, and they’re coming in with all kinds of goals. Their goal could just be they want to play ball with their grandchildren, or they want to build up and run a race in two months, so they recognize this as a way to help them get there.”
CM: What criteria do the Flexologists have to meet?
JF: “They all have to come from a fitness background, so they have either a fitness certification or an exercise physiology degree and we have a couple of massage therapists. Once hired, they go through extensive training of approximately 20 hours of online coursework and then a two-day hands-on workshop. Then they come back and must do 20 hours of practice in order to get certified. It’s a pretty big commitment to come on board as a StretchLab Flexologist, which we want because you’re responsible for stretching all parts of an individual.”
CM: What do you hope StretchLab brings to the community?
JF: “Our environment is fun; it’s modern. You come in, and you feel welcome. We’ve got these warm wood floors, energetic artwork, cunning blue walls; I want members to be able to come in and just relax, get their stretch on and be able to feel like they can leave, live their lives and do the things that maybe they were unable to do in the past. It’s going to give them energy and freedom and everything that [comes] when your body is primed for proper movement. Our motto is ‘Live long, feel good,’ and I’m hoping that we offer that type of studio.”
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