As published in the Naples Daily News November 14, 2016 edition
Jorgen Albrechtsen once again is pioneering a fitness concept in North Naples.
Called ExerMedic, the concept is designed to help people with medical conditions, from back pain to cancer. The workout is generally the same for everyone.
The first location is in Creekside Corners, at Immokalee and Goodlette-Frank roads across from NCH North Naples Hospital. It’s a prototype that Albrechtsen will use to sell franchises to doctors and other medical professionals, including chiropractors.
Albrechtsen, a Danish entrepreneur, is also the creator of Concept 10 10, which he launched in North Naples in 2011. It offers one-on-one personal and private training for 20 minutes a week.
His latest idea is more health care-oriented and more upscale, directed at patients who want more natural therapies for their ailments. Albrechtsen said his workout can benefit people with all sorts of conditions, including diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
“It’s a high-intensity program that is not like anything else,” he said. “I think there is a huge need for this.”
His concept involves slow movements of the muscles until they’re brought to exhaustion. The workout is done on specialized MedX equipment in 15- to 20-minute sessions with a personal trainer, one or two times a week.
“The old adage more is better, it’s wrong,” Albrechtsen said.
The workout is about building muscle, which triggers beneficial responses.
“The average person loses about a half a pound of muscle a year,” Albrechtsen said.
All sessions are by appointment only, and they’re one-on-one, with only one client working out at a time. Don’t expect any frills. There are no TVs, no showers and no fitness classes. You won’t hear any grunting or shouting.
“There is a means to an end,” Albrechtsen said. “There is no entertainment. It’s not supposed to be fun.”
The price per session ranges from $35 to $51, with discounts offered on bulk purchases. ExerMedic has been open less than a month, so it’s still building its business.
“Little by little we are getting there,” Albrechtsen said.
Douglas Shaffer, 24, was one of the ExerMedic’s first customers. He came in after seeing an ad about it because he suffers from back pain from his work in construction. His job as an apprentice in heating, ventilation and air conditioning requires a lot of heavy lifting and hunching.
After a free demonstration and consultation, Shaffer was hooked.
“I feel it definitely works with any problems like fibromyalgia or back pains,” he said.
Shaffer, who lives in North Naples, started with two sessions a week, and he already is down to one. He likes the one-on-one attention, which he didn’t get at his old gym.
“It’s kind of nice having someone there to tell me what to do as I’m doing it,” Shaffer said. “And to make sure I’m doing it right.”
On a recent Wednesday, Sabrina Shell, a hair stylist working in a salon next door to ExerMedic, came in on a break to give the concept a try. She was a little apprehensive when she approached an unfamiliar machine designed to strengthen her neck, but her trainer quickly eased her concerns, showing her how to use it.
When Shell tried a machine for her abdominal muscles, she didn’t need as much direction.
“Now we’re talking,” she said as she did crunches. Shell expected to return for more sessions when she wasn’t so busy. So far, most who have come in for a demonstration have signed up for the program, Albrechtsen said.
Originally from Copenhagen, Albrechtsen has been involved in the fitness industry for decades, starting in the 1970s with a karate school that grew to become one of the largest in the world. In the 1980s, he owned a chain of fitness centers in Denmark.
Three years ago, Albrechtsen got a five-year visa that allows him to stay in the U.S. full-time. The EB-5 visa, which required him to invest capital and create jobs in this country, is renewable.
“As long as the business needs me and it’s running, it can be extended indefinitely, which is a good thing,” he said.
He has hired two trainers, including Michelle Fernandez, 25, who responded to an ad on indeed.com. She said she always has liked to exercise. Although she had no experience in the fitness industry, Albrechtsen said she made a great first impression and she has been a quick learner.
Albrechtsen received more than 200 applications for the instructor jobs, but most of those applications were worthless, he said.
On ExerMedic’s website, more than a dozen doctors are listed as ones who support and recommend its program.
“That’s the idea, to have an increasing number of doctors on that website,” Albrechtsen said.
He hopes to expand the concept worldwide by franchising. He said he already has interest coming from Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.