Chris Bell's career as a personal trainer went through Haddonfield not so long ago. He originally worked at 114 Ellis St. when Body Physics was located there.
Now, in 2012, Bell has returned to the location, but this time with his own gym, Bell's Bodies. Bell decided to move his gym there from its former Haddon Township location. The new Ellis Street location opened Aug. 15.
After five years at Body Physics, Bell decided to open his eponymous gym in 2009. The move was motivated by changes in his own life.
“My mother was dying at the time,” Bell said. “I told myself that life's too short. I wanted to do my own thing, I wanted to branch out on my own.”
Bell ran into some starting ruts early, but successfully got out of the gate as he brought over all but one of his clients from Body Physics to Bell's Bodies. That was key to the business really getting off the ground, said Bell, who only expected 60 percent of his clients to switch over.
The decision to move from Haddon Township to Haddonfield came after changes with the gym's former building.
“My landlord in Haddon Township was selling the building,” Bell explained. “I was going month-to-month with my lease and I was nervous. There was no stability there.
“I had looked at a space in Haddon Township and called the number,” he said. “The Realtor was Kevin Burns. So I called him up and he said, 'Hey, I know an old space.' It was this place and I said, 'Are you sure, because I don't know if this guy will want to have me,' and he said 'Hey, business is business.'”
The move stands to benefit Bell's current clients, most of who are located in Haddonfield. Bell said that everyone knows about the move to the new location and he's hoping to attract other potential clients in the area as well.
Bell's Bodies does things differently, the owner said. He described the gym as very colorful and fun. The exercises are more than just doing reps with weights. Every trainer at the gym and every workout is unique.
“I plan on sinking my teeth into everything,” Bell said. “I plan on starting an athletic training program for the kids in Haddonfield. They go to Velocity in Cherry Hill. Why fight that traffic? Have your kids come here.”
Charity is also a big deal at Bell's Bodies. The group has participated in a slew of charity events in the past and have more in the works, including an event called Go 4 the Goal to benefit kids who have cancer. They hope to hold the event in the near future.
“I really like that we have been able to give back, using our expertise as a way to be able to give back to the community,” said Adrienne Bell, Chris' wife and a trainer at the gym. “We have this fitness and health platform that we are able to use to give back.”
“I don't know anyone else that does charity boot camps,” Chris Bell added. “That's another thing that we continue to do that people enjoy.”
The popularity of the charity boot camps has really picked up over time. Bell's Bodies has gone from raising $250 with their first boot camp to over $1,700 in their last one this past May.
Right now, Bell's Bodies is in a “My Trainer Rocks” contest held by Gym Source, a fitness equipment company. Bell's Bodies is currently in second place in the voting and is hoping to win one of the cash prizes in the contest. Chris Bell said they plan to donate the money that they win to both and Haddon Township high schools.