Working Up a Sweat
Broad Ripple Fit Club Owner Talks Building Community, New Renovations
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Ron Wise
Take a stroll down the Monon Trail, and once you get north of 64th Street you might begin to hear the clanging of barbells, bouncing of medicine balls, and grunts of athletic strain coming from Broad Ripple Fit Club (BRFC). For nearly 10 years now, owner Jeff Edwards and his staff have been helping dedicated individuals reach their fitness goals, and Edwards says the best is yet to come at the facility.
As a biology major at Indiana University, Edwards was inspired by his exercise science classes, and by the benefits he saw from his own rigorous fitness routine, to launch a career promoting health in his community through structured physical exercise.
“I thought rather than being a doctor and helping people to be healthy that way, I’d try to help people prevent the onset of metabolic disease, and try to mitigate those problems ahead of time with prevention rather than cure,” says Edwards, a certified NSCA Strength and Conditioning Specialist who has competed in multiple National CrossFit Games.
Three years after opening in 2008 under the name Forged Fit at 71st Street and Binford Avenue, Edwards found a space in Broad Ripple owned by Howald Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to relocate his operation, which was one of the first in Indy to offer group CrossFit – a program that focuses on functional body movement at a high intensity level.
“I originally wanted to open up in Broad Ripple but warehouse space is difficult to find there,” Edwards says. “The space we finally found was a little rough but with a little loving care we were able to make it into a fantastic fitness space.”
Today BRFC (formerly CrossFit Broad Ripple), offers not only CrossFit classes, which remain the club’s most popular offering, but also BRX, a high-energy, circuit-based group class, and individual training sessions. The club’s growing popularity stems in large part, according to Edwards, from a widespread desire for diversified workout experience.
“People have started to realize that the type of exercise that we do – functional exercise, guided by expert coaches and a lot of personal interaction – has a lot of benefits,” he says. “It’s different than going to a gym where you kind of put your blinders on, and do your thing and get out.”
Edwards recently renovated his facility to include a members area, which has storage cubbies, seating with coffee tables and snacks for sale, as well as a new front desk and office space. In 2015 he added 3,000 square feet to his existing building for increased workout space and says that as demand for both group classes and individual training sessions continues to grow, it’s the personal attention to each member that separates BRFC as a unique training facility.
“We’re still a fairly small gym, and we don’t have thousands of members,” he says. “We know everybody by name and greet them when they come in. It’s much more personal than your average gym.”
Member ages range from 16 to 67, and Edwards says what he enjoys most about being a gym owner is seeing individuals of all ages and fitness levels overcome their perceived physical limitations.
“It’s totally normal to feel intimidated at first,” Edwards says. “Doing anything that’s new and outside your routine is going to seem like a dramatic step to take. We’re here to help people get the most out of their exercise. After you take a deep breath and make that first step, you’ll be surprised that it’s not as scary as you think it was.”
Broad Ripple Fit Club is located at 6542 Westfield Blvd. For more information on programs and class times, call 317-695-3175 or visit brfitclub.com.