Not everyone has the same fitness goals or the same body and that’s something the owners of Orange Shoe Personal Fitness understand.
“We ask people to paint a picture of what success is to them and where they want to be down the road when they are smiling and giving us a high-five,” said John McKiddy.
John and Emily, a husband-and-wife team, opened Orange Shoe Personal Fitness, at 120 N. Grand Avenue Suite 108, in mid-July.
The sleek, modern 1,982 sq. ft. personal training studio is designed as an intimate space with a focus on personalized service in private or group sessions.
It’s the antithesis of the big gym.
“It is not like stepping into a 20,000 square foot gym—a small fish in a big gym,” Emily said. “We want people to be comfortable as soon as they walk in.”
Emily’s fitness know-how came as a competitive collegiate volleyball player and a decade of training and coaching young athletes in strength and conditioning.
She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology, but fell in love with personal training — focusing on lifelong health through mindful movement of the body.
“It is really important to teach people to move safely, avoid injury and maximize performance,” Emily said.
At the Orange Shoe Personal Fitness studio, there’s not a treadmill or elliptical machine in sight.
Instead, there are weights, exercise balls, TRX training straps, and other equipment.
Motivated fitness trainers, like the McKiddys, put people through movements that go forward, backward, lateral, in directions that challenge muscles that people use in everyday life.
“We use all those movements in a workout so that when people encounter challenges in their life, they will feel stronger and more confident in the things that their lives demand from them,” Emily said.
Both Emily and John are NASM certified personal trainers.
John served in the U.S. Air Force for 8 1/2 years as an aircraft mechanic and left the service in December with a desire to open a gym. During his time in the military, he helped his fellow servicemen pass their physical fitness test—pushups, sit-ups and a 1.5-mile run.
But don’t expect a drill sergeant mentality when you come to train with John.
“We are not standing in front of the room, yelling into a microphone—we are constantly walking around and giving people personal attention,” said John, a Texas native.
Orange Shoe person trainers track weekly progress of their clients, not just weigh-ins but with strength and condition goal updates.
“We want to show people that the work that they are doing is paying off,” John said. “Even if they are not seeing results on the scale, there are other ways to measure progress.”
The duo knows their clients by their first name, gets to know them personally, and understand a little bit about their life.
The McKiddys will even check up on clients if they miss a workout or reschedule—just to keep them on track.
Emily, with years of working with athletes, says she likes to help people exceed their expectations.
“I push people out of their comfort zone and give them movements that I know that they are capable of doing, but they think they can’t do,” said Emily of her tough but fair approach to coaching.
New clients start with a consultation, so John and Emily can learn about current health and fitness status and goals—and then a little bit of movement time in the studio. Emily suggests people start with private sessions and transition to group sessions—with 10 people or less.
Rates are per-session or unlimited monthly with no contracts.
“There are no long-term contracts,” Emily said. “We are not here to take your money. We want to earn your business back each month by showing you results.”
Emily says the money people spend is an investment in themselves with physical, emotional and mental well-being benefits.
People of all ages and abilities have walked through the Orange Shoe Sun Prairie doors—ranging from 12-years-old to late 70s.
There are people starting from ground zero who have never been to a gym before, some recovering from injuries, and athletes—marathoners and triathletes—striving for a PR at their next race.
The McKiddys, who relocated to Sun Prairie from Florida in January, say they are just everyday people who focus on living healthy and want to help others do the same.
“We are real people—we eat pizza and ice cream,” Emily said. “We are not asking for perfection, and that makes up approachable.”
They also had their physical challenges—just like others. John had back surgery in 2017 and was restricted to lifting anything heavier than a coffee cup.
The couple’s then-3-month old daughter inspired him to get through physical therapy, and then back to the gym.
“My main focus was to get stronger, so I wouldn’t have to go through that again and I would be able to take care of my daughter, pick her up, and take her to the park,” he said.
It was a newspaper clipping, sent by Emily’s mother, on the Orange Shoe franchise that steered the couple to the business. Joshua Martin founded the business in Fitchburg, naming it after his bright-colored sneakers. Scott and Katie Michel bought the franchising system from Martin, with an eye to expand its Dane County market.
John said the instant call back from Scott when he signed up online to get more info piqued his interest. Soon the couple flew to Wisconsin, Emily’s home state, and picked the spot on Sun Prairie’s growing westside.
With the motivation to be their own bosses, and live a life that included fitness and helping others achieve their goals, the McKiddys loved the idea of owning an Orange Shoe studio.
The rewards come in every day, with smiles on people’s faces who have experienced personal triumphs—walking up the steps without being winded, losing weight and moving their bodies after being injured for months.
“It’s the little surprises every day for people when they see the quality of their life getting better because of the work they are doing to improve their health—it’s an attitude shift that gives emotional, mental and physical benefits,” John said.
Orange Shoe Personal Fitness, 120 N. Grand Avenue Suite 108, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (214) 403-8586 and (608) 332-3802) Find more info at www.orangeshoe.com/SunPrairie and Facebook.
The grand opening event is Saturday, Sept. 14 from 5-8 p.m.