‘Every body’s different’: Balanced Fitness & Health wants to be La Jolla’s ‘neighborhood gym’

Rodrigo Iglesias says he strives to create an intimate gym experience at Balanced Fitness & Health in La Jolla.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Business Spotlight:

Blending personal relationships with fitness goals, Balanced Fitness & Health in La Jolla aims to build up the community, one body at a time.

The gym opened in May at 7860 Girard Ave., in the former 24 Hour Fitness building, with equipment from the former La Jolla Sports Club.

Balanced Fitness owner Rodrigo Iglesias said he’s determined to further ground his fitness concept in The Village. He’s running a promotion through August in which 30 percent of all sales — such as new memberships, personal training sessions and daily, weekly and monthly passes — will be donated to the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival.

Through the promotion and the continued development of the facility, Iglesias said he hopes to keep growing the business as a “neighborhood gym.”

“We’re really looking forward to just being a part of the community and really inserting ourselves,” he said.

The La Jolla location is the second for Balanced Fitness, which also operates on Seventh Avenue in downtown San Diego.

Iglesias said he connected with former La Jolla Sports Club owner Brett Murphy during the COVID-19 pandemic as many local fitness companies struggled to stay open.

“A lot of studios went out of business,” Iglesias said.

La Jolla’s Balanced Fitness & Health is spread across two floors, with workout equipment and machines on one floor and a group exercise room in the basement. The facility also features locker rooms and showers and is continuing to undergo renovations in a few areas.

Despite the location needing a few more cosmetic changes, Iglesias wanted to open as quickly as possible. “We didn’t want to leave La Jolla without its tradition of having a neighborhood gym,” he said.

Coming changes include adding artificial turf to the floor, opening the windows upstairs and finishing the steam room. Iglesias said the renovations should be complete by the end of September.

“One of our mindsets is to really produce intimacy with our members,” Iglesias said. Many fitness businesses have “lost the brick-and-mortar aspect of customer service,” he added. “We’re trying to bring customer service back to fitness.”

“Fitness has gotten to a point where we make money off people’s deficiencies,” Iglesias said. “We want to create a balanced lifestyle for you.”

The gym focuses on “all-inclusive membership” to keep members from getting bored, he said.

Balanced Fitness classes “are small-group training so that we can focus on the intimacy,” Iglesias said. “Everybody’s different, every body’s different. You have to address every single item; you can’t just address the group and say, ‘Hey come on, do more.’”

He said the intimacy starts with the front desk employees, called “results managers.”

“A lot of times we just want to talk to you, figure out what your goals are,” whether for an event like a wedding, a defined weight-loss goal or a general desire to be more active, Iglesias said.

The biggest focus, he said, is on lifestyle, “the reality of life, of kids, work, all that stuff, and maintaining health. … We need to reteach people that the long-term gain is better.”

He said the donation of 30 percent of August sales to the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival was inspired by the festival’s mission to give to La Jolla public schools.

“I played sports all my life,” Iglesias said. “During COVID, all the sports were disappearing in high school. There’s a lot of social aspects of playing sports; you develop as a human.

“Keeping sports alive in high school and middle school is … important. If it wasn’t for sports in high school, I would have probably dropped out.”

Sports and fitness further spurred Iglesias’ entry into the gym business. He said he had a revelation while participating in a four-hour, 12-mile swim across Lake Tahoe seven years ago, when he was a partner in RMD Group, a hospitality venture.

“It kind of put a moment of clarity into my head … ‘I’m not happy, I’m not in shape, I’m not the way I want to be, I’m not confident in myself.’ I realized it was time to move on” from developing restaurants, he said.

“I want to help people through the gyms,” Iglesias said. “What drives me is helping people motivate to find themselves … with the intimacy that provides that kind of atmosphere.”

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