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Fitness Paradise, formerly Retro Athletic Club, located just outside of the gates of Lake Wildwood, is under new ownership! Ryan Foster and his fiancée Lydia Hooper took over the reins on June 14, and have added the popular Les Mills classes that can only otherwise be found in our area at one other gym.
With Ryan’s background in weightlifting that began in high school, and Lydia’s 15 years of experience teaching fitness classes, the couple has a strong background in fitness that they are thrilled to bring to Penn Valley. Ryan had been working as a tree climber for the past two years, but was ready to come inside and follow his passion for fitness. “We have been looking around and knew we wanted to open a gym. We live in Lake Wildwood, and always had our eye on the gym across the street because it’s such a great location,” Lydia explained. “We met Stephanie (the previous owner) right before Covid hit, and she had just taken over the gym. She wanted me to teach, but didn’t have the license yet to include Les Mills classes. We got along and the plan was to teach there eventually. Ryan and I decided that we wanted to buy the gym earlier this year, so we texted her and asked if she would be willing to sell it. She jumped on it, and it was such a quick process, changing everything. We did the whole purchase within a month.”
Lydia is certified in four different Les Mills programs: Body Pump, Combat, Attack, and Step. She will also be doing a Core training at the end of the month, so will have one more class to add to the lineup. “I might look little but don’t underestimate me,” she joked.
The couple has been together for six years, after meeting online and connecting in a very 21st century way. Lydia was born and raised in Grass Valley, and has lived here her entire life. Ryan was from the Bay Area, but fell in love with the area as well as Lydia so moved here to be with her, and they have been happy to build their life together in western Nevada County. Lydia already had one child, a daughter who is now 16, and the two have added an additional two children to the family; a little boy (4) and girl (2). Their daughter, who has Down Syndrome, had open heart surgery, a scary time for their family, but she is fine now “She’s such a little blessing,” Lydia beamed. “We don’t look at it like it’s a bad thing. She has completed our family.”
While owning a business is challenging for anyone, the couple loves the freedom it provides to their schedules, and the fact that it is so conveniently located near their Lake Wildwood home is a big bonus. Since they bought Fitness Paradise, they have repainted the gym, brought all of the Les Mills equipment, and added a new machine, but other than that all of the equipment is the same as before. There are two rows of weight machines, a cardio room, and a group room for the classes. They will also be adding a tanning bed in the near future. “It’s the perfect setup. Fitness is our passion, so right away I brought in the Les Mills programs, and people love them. It’s unique to our gym,” Lydia said.
She has quite the background in local fitness training. She taught classes at South Yuba Club for over ten years, and then at Training Zone for four years after they took over the previous South Yuba Club location in Grass Valley. Training Zone is the only other gym in town that has the Les Mills series of classes, so Lydia is thrilled to bring the popular program to Penn Valley. Lydia is also certified as a personal trainer, and is in the process of renewing that certification, so will be doing personal training starting in December, as well, to add to the one personal trainer they currently employ.
For those who prefer a solo experience, Ryan and Lydia are setting up the 24 hour card lock, and a camera system is being installed so members can go any time that works for them, even if that is 2 a.m. They will be open with staff from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and Sundays will be open until noon with staff, and even have classes on Sunday. Many gyms don’t offer Sunday classes, so they are proud to do so. Current classes include three Les Mills programs, which include Shabam, Body Pump, and Step, and Core will be added once Lydia completes the training. In addition, some ladies from the Lake Wildwood community center come to teach Zumba. Other classes include spin, yoga, and toning classes. “The classes are growing, it gives it more energy for everyone involved,” Lydia said, adding, “The great thing about teaching is that you don’t get to make excuses to skip the workout.”
Membership is $60 per month to month, $55 if you pay six months in full, and if you pay for a year in full it’s $50/month. Youth is $40/month (have to be enrolled in school, 18 and younger, college students pay $50/month). Membership for veterans is $55/month. If you refer a friend and they sign up, you get $5/month off of your membership all year long. It’s $8 for a day pass, which includes classes, and a five visit punch card is $35. Personal training for members is $30 extra each month. First time class is free, so potential members can try it out to see how they like it. “We are so excited to be able to offer this to our local community,” Lydia said. “It’s a dream come true for us, and we look forward to growing even more as time goes by.”
Fitness Paradise is located at 11426 Pleasant Valley Rd. in Penn Valley just outside of the Lake Wildwood gate. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call (530) 432-9200.
Hello, friends, neighbors, and fellow residents of District 4. I hope the latest issue of my newsletter finds you staying cool, enjoying the last days of summer before school starts back up, and looking forward…
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