About BeneFit for Women
The idea for opening a gym came when a good friend gave me a few guest passes to a local franchise studio where she was a member. My daughter and I used our guest passes and while I liked the fact that the studio offered a women only environment, that was about the extent of my interest. It was then that I began to research what was available to women who would rather not workout in a coed gym. I realized that a true gym for women did not exist in our area. Coming from a household with business owners on both sides of the family, I had the entrepreneurial bug as well. I love a good project and quickly became excited about locating every women’s gym I could visit between my hometown and the next vacation destination my family and I had planned. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with franchise operators and owner/operators as well. I quickly decided a franchise was not the route I wanted to take. I began planning a “women’s only” gym that would better serve women than the franchise I visited that only offered a limited, static routine. At many studio gyms, there was no progression in the workout program. Someone who was a long time member continued to do the same workout on hydraulic machines as a newbie coming in for her first workout.
Wishing to offer something better than was available anywhere near the tri-county area, I opened BeneFit for Women in Ringgold October 16, 2000. The gym opened in the old Bill Smith & Son Tire Center which is now The Liberty Tax and the Animal Hospital. Later we relocated on the other side of the creek by Babb Lumber Company. Interestingly, since opening in 2000, five women’s franchise studios have opened in the area and ultimately gone out of business. Although not being part of a franchise can be difficult because of not having the benefit of national branding and advertising, being local and autonomous definitely has its advantages. I have the freedom to change the operations of the gym over time as trends change and needs and demands present themselves. This has been both rewarding and challenging, keeping BeneFit for Women unique from other women’s gyms and coeds.
Being a women’s only gym with selectorized pin plate machines was the initial differentiation. Another innovative concept for BeneFit was going to member access 24/7. Women are busy. Some need to be able to workout at 5:00 am before work or late in the evening after work, ball games, art classes, dance practice and homework.
At BeneFit for Women, we also stay current by offering equipment that most large co-ed gyms often do not have. Our members are using the Whole Body Vibration machine for joint health, improved circulation, and lymphatic stimulation and enjoy the Concept 2 rower for cardio along with treadmills, recumbent bikes, StairMaster and ellipticals. Variety is very important in getting results quickly and effectively. Therefore we offer, at no additional charge, structured and progressive workouts that are very productive.
Since October 2000 in Ringgold, we have experienced many innovative improvements and developments as the market changes. There was a time when women working out involved pink and purple dumbbells and a step platform. Today, we know that men and women should be doing workouts that are more similar than different. Women too, should be focusing on making their muscles bigger and stronger. Along with cardio, women need to lift weights to change body composition, promote bone health and increase metabolism. Of course we all “BeneFit” from regular exercise, good food choices, lots of water and adequate protein.
I love being in Ringgold and feel blessed to have so many wonderful members who have become friends. I am always encouraged and delighted when a previous member comes back to rejoin. After all, she is still a BeneFitter. I appreciate the very first members who joined when we opened in 2000. I am also happy with the new members and all of the Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit ladies who have joined and brought in friends and family members.
I enjoy helping each woman take the steps necessary to realize her goals. She may be trying to lose weight without the boring and monotony of her old methods of working out. She may desire to regain flexibility and muscle strength for a more active lifestyle. She may want to get some muscle definition to look better in her clothes or to prepare for the beach. She may simply want to have the energy and stamina to play with her children or great grandchildren. Whatever she wants, we are here to guide and help her realize that she can do it! We all have to start somewhere, and the best place for women may just be BeneFit for Women.
Now, fast forward 23 years later, as of 9/1/23, I am retiring and passing the torch to a wonderful lady that actually joined BeneFit the very first month we opened. Her name is Shelly Coffee. She has the drive and charisma to be very successful in this new endeavor. Please visit the gym and meet her for yourself!
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate each and every member, from the first one to the last one, to sign up on my watch. Founding and operating BeneFit for Women has been amazing. I have met so many awesome ladies and made friends I might never have known. Not only have the experiences enriched my life, this path has impacted my family as well. My daughter, Lindsay, worked at the gym for some time as she was transitioning into college and it was at BeneFit that she found she loves teaching people how to become stronger and more flexible in safe and healthy ways. She realized she wanted to go into physical therapy and did so. She now teaches people how to prevent injury and how to restore function after injury. She has gone on to accumulate several certifications that have taken her into different specializations. My older daughter, Whitney, is an elementary school teacher in Dalton. She was nominated for Best Teacher recently and often prepares and leads seminars for other educators. She has touched so many lives and will be remembered by her students for a lifetime. She has also received several special certifications that have enriched her career. Whitney is also a published author of, currently, two books. The first is Whit and Wisdom: Devotions from the Bible’s Most Quotable Texts. The second is Perspective: Life Through Layers. I also have two grandsons and a granddaughter and all three are soccer super stars with awards for various accomplishments in school.
Tina Kellogg – Founder
As I move on to other ventures, it is my prayer that this gym will flourish and still be serving the women of Ringgold and the surrounding area long after I am not. I have been blessed with God’s Grace in many facets of life and I give Him all the glory. It is through Him I was empowered to embark on this fantastic adventure with all these BeneFitters for so many years. I will still be in and out of the gym because, of course, there is no place like home.
I also want to honor my sweet Moma for being there for me from the first day we opened until she retired 15 years later. Her unfailing support, friendship, and hard work in this business and throughout life has literally made all the difference. She, also, has fond memories of the ladies she has befriended along the way.
As I step back and Shelly dives in, I know all members, current and future, will continue to be the best part of THE most awesome gym in the tristate area and beyond!
Shelly Coffee – Owner
Hi! I’m Shelly. I’m a lifelong resident of Ringgold and am excited to become a business owner in our town as well. I’ve had experience in the public sector in various fields as well as spending 20+ years as a homemaker, Mom, homeschool teacher to our wonderful son and daughter, and assisting my husband with our full-time cattle farm.
While I don’t have experience in the fitness industry, learning new things is one of my favorite things to do! And I’m so blessed to be coming into a business that Tina has given her heart and soul to so that ladies have the wonderful opportunity that is offered here. She’s done all of the hard work – – my goal is that the only change you’ll see is the face of the person who greets you each day. It is funny that I joined BeneFit the very first month Tina opened! I never dreamed that in 23 years, I’d actually OWN the gym! You never know where the Lord will lead!
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with my weight, and I’ve always said that my body responds much more quickly and positively to increased exercise than it ever does to diet changes. Truly, I also feel so much better overall (physically and mentally) when I’m working out regularly, so I’m really excited to be entering an area where my time at work can coincide with increased exercise.
I genuinely hope that we can encourage each other along our journeys to healthier lives – – and become good friends along the way! I look forward to getting to know each current member and to welcoming new members.
I invite and welcome your input and prayers as I learn here and ask the Lord to guide me in this new endeavor. I would love to think that I was able to be a blessing to each of you as I strive to bring glory to Him.