(Editor’s note: This week, we welcome The Max Challenge as Brick Shorebeat’s newest sponsor. We thank them for supporting our site, but we also think their story is a great one! It appears below.)
Denise Medford knows about living strong. Medford, owner of The Max Challenge in Brick, is an entrepreneur, fitness coach and cheerleader for her club’s members – and she’s also a thyroid cancer survivor who values her health in a unique way.
The Max opened in April 2014 in the Towne Hall Shoppes shopping plaza on Cedar Bridge Avenue, near Carrabba’s restaurant. With Medford at the helm, inspiring and pushing her members to live healthy, the fitness center – it’s not a “gym,” she’ll be sure to tell you – grew quickly, converting strangers to friends as well as couch potatoes to active ***.
The Max is unique, Medford says. There’s no maze of exercise equipment to navigate through, rather, there is an open room filled with friendly faces who guide members through a 10 week-long fitness challenge that also promotes a healthy lifestyle.
“We provide a lot of ongoing support, especially in terms of nutrition,” said Medford. “It’s not just about a diet, this is a lifestyle change.”
After the 10 week challenge is over, members can keep coming to The Max on a month-to-month basis with no contracts to keep up the various fitness classes held each day. There isn’t a defined amount of weight one must lose, Medford says, as each member sets their own goals and works to meet them with help from the staff. The environment at The Max differs from that of a gym, where people sometimes experience anxiety. Instead, staff and members help and support each other.
“It’s a very positive environment,” said Medford. “We clap it up, cheer each other on, give each other high fives. We even write our goals on the mirror. Everyone might have an end goal that’s different, but we’re all here for the same reason, to get healthier.”
Medford decided to open The Max in Brick after she was a member herself at a different location. Her membership helped her stay healthy during a difficult time. Soon after she began taking classes, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
“In the middle of my first challenge, I discovered that I had this condition,” she said. “It made me make some changes to the way I saw things, and that’s why I’m here. I wanted to feel like I was doing something that was more rewarding.”
Now cancer-free, Medford welcomes other into her own club and makes sure there’s a personal touch added to the experience. There are weekly nutrition workshops, plus one-on-one meetings with all members.
“We sit down and talk about their goals and how the feel about their progress, and if we need to make adjustments, that’s what we do,” said Medford. “The best part about this place is the bond that people have. There’s no bullying here, it’s not about keeping up. Everyone works at their own pace, even if they’re in the same class.”
The Max’s next challenge begins Jan. 12. The 10-week program costs $450, however the center is currently running a promotion that includes a $100 discount. Some insurance carriers will cover the cost of the program as part of their own fitness programs. This Saturday at 10 a.m., a free membership will be awarded. Call 732-701-3423 for information.