Girls run the world at Burn Boot Camp West Boca. The national fitness franchise opened its second Florida location on Monday, thanks to Jen Sawtell-Day and her husband Ryan. Jen, a Boca native, is super excited to have an empowering, female-only gym in her hometown. The couple opened its first Burn Boot Camp location in Naples almost two years ago and plans to open between eight and 10 locations in Palm Beach and Broward County over the next 3 to 4 years.
I attended Burn Boot Camp West Boca on Tuesday (the second day of camp), and it was intense—in the best sort of way. The 45-minute class focused on five different circuits (repeated three times each) and two ab exercises (with two repetitions and a finisher, which was bicycle abs for various intervals). My class included about 30-40 women between the ages of 20 and 50. Some brought kids, others brought their friends. But everyone had a common goal: to burn fat and build muscle. And boy, did we burn: abs, triceps, shoulders, and more abs.
Jen and Ryan kindly shared a bit of their Burn story with me. Here’s a recap:
Boca Mag (BM): How did you become associated with Burn?
Jen Sawtell-Day (JSD): As a client. There was a Groupon. I started working out in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the headquarters location. It 100 percent changed my life. I had put on 90 pounds during my pregnancy with twins, and I had 45 pounds to lose. Free childcare [at Burn boot camp] was a big draw, and it was women only. It’s absolutely fantastic. One year after the Groupon, the CEO, Devan Kline, decided to franchise. It was Ryan’s idea to look into franchising. He had the dream of opening eight to 10 locations in Florida. Ryan had a finance background and I was a paralegal for 20 years. Both sets of our parents ran small businesses when we were kids. We talked to them and asked if it was crazy to leave our safe corporate jobs to open a gym in Boca—there are gyms everywhere. They said yes, to do it. Devan suggested opening the first location in Naples. It was my dream to bring Burn to Boca, which is my hometown.
BM: What makes Burn different from other gyms?
JSD: Burn [boot camp] made me a fitness junkie. I lost more than 40 pounds, and I’m in better shape at 42 than I was at 22 or 32. It’s so much more than a gym. It’s not cliquey or judgmental. It’s a 45-minute sweat session that empowers women. There’s free childcare, which is a draw for moms. There’s nutrition focus meetings every three weeks to help with coaching and meal plans, to look at fat/carb intake. Regardless of your health or fitness goals, we can tailor [plans] to meet goals in a reasonable amount of time. But I tell people it’s a lifestyle change. You have to commit to fitness and eating better. But the common thread is a sense of community.
BM: Who designs workouts?
JSD: Headquarters [in Charlotte] determines group workouts. So Tuesday was arms and upper body at all the locations. But trainers at each location decide the exercises. So in West Boca, Brittany writes them, and Ryan and I weigh in.
BM: What’s your favorite healthy meal?
JSD: I’m a simple cook: grilled chicken, corn, quinoa and black beans. I top it with salsa. I make big quantities and have it for lunch or dinner throughout the week. Meal prep is definitely important.
RD: Mine is a staple Burn recipe: egg, ground turkey, sweet potato and vegetable casserole. It’s great for breakfast. You can throw any veggies in there: peas, broccoli, carrots. The Burn Nutrition Facebook page has more videos, tips and recipes.
BM: What motivates you to keep going?
JSD: For me it’s two things. I feel good—I sleep better, I have more energy. I don’t want to backslide. And seeing how it changes other people’s lives. To see the look on their face of, “I just did it!” and being surrounded by that for seven boot camps every day is amazing.
RD: I gravitate toward being on the floor. To help someone realize a goal, that’s what drives me every day.
To learn more about Burn Boot Camp West Boca (11411 A West Palmetto Park Road), visit its website.