CONFIDENCE AND COORDINATION: “We are a fitness training center, and we emphasize individual attention and guidance. The idea is to build strength, step it up, and keep moving! I enjoy seeing people get stronger and gain confidence and coordination.” Natalie Burke, personal trainer and owner of Rising Phoenix Training and Fitness Center, demonstrates a plank exercise to her enthusiastic class.
By Jean Stratton
Exercise. Energy. Strength. Stamina. Motivation. Mojo … and more.
All of these can be yours during and after workouts at Rising Phoenix Fitness and Training Center.
What sets Rising Phoenix apart from other gyms and fitness centers is its small class instruction with a personal trainer and the strong focus on building strength and stamina.
Opened in 2021, it is located at 947 State Road, where it shares space with Princeton Martial Arts. Classes are held Monday through Friday at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m., 7:15 a.m., and 8:30 a.m.
An early start, but you, too, can have fun first thing in the morning! Owner and personal trainer Natalie Burke oversees and guides students in an exercise program to ensure their success.
“We focus on functional training, emphasizing body mechanics,” she explains. “We don’t use machines, instead you incorporate your own body weight into the exercise. We help you to build strength for things you do every day, including lifting, bending, etc.
“And importantly, we help our students to gain confidence toward achieving a goal. People can really change their lives. They often don’t realize what they are capable of, and we help with that.”
A personal trainer for 18 years, Burke has worked with several fitness centers in the area. Her experience led her to believe that small classes with a focus on instruction from a personal trainer were the best way to gain positive results.
When she opened the center, COVID-19 was still an issue, and she wanted a forward-looking name to reflect optimism. “Rising Phoenix came about because it was the idea of rising up from a dark time,” she points out.
“We encourage people to come five days to get the best results,” she adds. “If they do come five days, they will see improvement in two to three weeks. This helps to increase motivation. They see that it is worth the effort, and in addition, the clients motivate each other.”
Clients are men, women, and teens. Typically, there are more in the 40 to 50 age range, but Burke is also proud of her 80-year-old students.
She believes in a personal approach, with an emphasis on each student’s abilities and goals. Everyone in the class, usually five to 15 students, works together, albeit at different levels.
“The idea is that there is always another way to accomplish something, and there is no such thing as ‘I can’t,’” emphasizes Burke. “There is always something you can do. If a client has difficulty with a floor exercise, he or she can do it from a sitting position, with a chair.
“And, if someone is recovering from an injury or has a condition, such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, etc., we help them work through that. Again, there is more than one way to approach the exercise and continue to gain strength and stability. There is always an alternative to suit one’s needs.”
Classes are 45 minutes, and begin with warm-ups, then exercises to help the entire body. Full body movements, including a variety of floor, standing, and sitting exercises, are all incorporated. Balance, stamina, endurance, stability, coordination, and more are emphasized, with a cool down and stretching period at the end of the class.
A variety of equipment will be used, such as free weights, bands, balls (stability and medicine), battle ropes, heavy bags, equalizers, and steps, among others.
Kick boxing, squats, lunges, curls, chest and shoulder presses, core work, planks, front/lateral raises, push ups, and yoga movements are all included, depending on each day’s class format.
Establishing a welcoming, pressure-free environment is important to the well-being of the class, believes Burke.
“We are a no-frills center, no bells and whistles,” she points out. “We focus on small group classes without the pressure and distraction of a gym, and we encourage personalized goals with the support of the trainer and training partners. Our classes are fun, and we also incorporate all kinds of fun music.”
In addition to the focus on strength training, Burke provides nutrition information and guidance (especially the need for a balanced diet) and the necessity of getting enough sleep. Along with exercise, all of this is crucial to overall health, she points out.
The cost for one month of classes (five days a week) is $99. She suggests a payment of three months in advance, if possible. In addition to the on-site daily classes, a 6:30 p.m. Zoom class is available.
Burke is encouraged about the increasing number of students, many of whom have been enthusiastic clients over the years. She is also delighted to have many new students joining the classes.
“I enjoy seeing the students get stronger,” she says. “I feel I am helping to make a positive difference in people’s lives, and I have found my passion in doing that. I help clients to understand they possess the strength to accomplish things they thought they couldn’t do. I look forward to introducing even more people to the benefits of strength training and our unique exercise program.
“Remember, there is always more than one way to do something, and never say ‘I can’t!’”
For more information about Rising Phoenix, call (732) 754-6860. Website: risingphoenixtraining.com. Registration for one free class is available online.