Sharon Hughes, President of Central Florida Fitness Pros, has a passion for helping people develop a blueprint of holistic, healthy living. She is an architect of positive designs in more ways than one.
About three years ago, Hughes launched her company with the mission of helping people find qualified professionals in the health and fitness field. A personal trainer herself, Hughes remarks, “Having been in health and fitness way too long, I’ve realized that not everyone out there is qualified. Clients don’t know what it means to be qualified.”
She continues, “Our team is not just health and fitness people, but they all have a declared specialty. You can’t be great at everything. I’m really good at biomechanics and exercise testing and evaluation, but I’m not the best lifestyle coach and I don’t have enough knowledge in nutrition. We’re always trying to change the team and update it.”
Hughes and six others currently make up the Fitness Pros team. The company sees itself as a consulting firm that designs exercise programs rather than providing workout facilities.
“We actually find the right facility for the person, which kind of throws people,” says Hughes. “We ask them what they need—and if we don’t offer someone who can help them, we look for a facility that is appropriate.”
Hughes and her team evaluate a potential client’s goals, fitness, health and strength, and then develop a program for them that can be done at home or in a gym setting. “We will help them equip a home gym and space for working out. If they decide to go to a gym, we help them locate the right gym, based on surveys and information gathered on area gyms such as rates and amenities.”
Each person on the Fitness Pros team also works at a gym, but the team’s goal is not to get a client to join any particular health club.
“We try to get people independent. We’re not trying to fall in the niche of personal trainer for life. If they succeed, they become independent and they don’t need that anymore. In the long run I think it pays off,” Hughes says.
Central Florida Fitness Pros networks professionally with the area Chambers of Commerce and the Brevard Association of Human Services (BAHS), but drives most of its business through word of mouth advertising. Hughes herself formerly worked at the Wuesthoff Fitness Plus center (now the YMCA) in Suntree, as well as at Gold’s Gym at U.S. 192 and Wickham Road. She has an undergraduate degree in architecture.
“It’s an odd thing to think that I would not go design a gym!” remarks Hughes. “We do offer gym design services, and help companies putting in community centers and recreation rooms. We help them equip the facilities.”
Looking at the future of Brevard County, Hughes feels that preventative health and fitness measures are becoming more and more important. Health care is going to mean health care, rather than sick care. We’re going to be looking at the Baby Boomers and trying to keep them active, and avoid some of those higher cost procedures. Fitness is going to become more important.”
Hughes adds, “We’ve become kind of spoiled. Most people don’t want to exercise if their company doesn’t give them an incentive, if the gym doesn’t give them a discount, or if they can’t get it for free through physical therapy. What works well is for people not to think about fitness, but to think about their health.”
She says that most people who go through her team’s initial interview initially say, “I want to get healthy, I don’t really care if I lose weight. So if we start focusing on health, and as a byproduct we expect you’ll probably feel better or be more fit. Then, we have a better chance of catching people’s attention and getting them to change.”
Hughes, originally from Washington, DC and a Brevard resident for eight years, describes herself as an optimist. “If I think there’s a possibility that someone may change—it drives me. If someone ever, ever exercised, and they just tried it a little bit and they liked it enough to continue…then I talk to them a year later and they’re still doing it, that’s what drives me.”
For more information on Central Florida Fitness Pros, visit
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