Walking into the d.FIT space next to the Walnut Street Station feels more like walking into a spa than a fitness studio.  First of all, the staff is so friendly – the women at the front desk knew the names of clients arriving as well as their kids’ names.  This familiarity is intentional, as Co-owners Daniela Costanzo and Kelly DelRosso’s want to create a boutique atmosphere in a full-service training facility. From what I saw on my visits, it certainly looks like they are on their way.

I tried the Shape{d} class with Maddie, one of the trainers. This class is one of the more affordable 10BuckBody offerings on weekday mornings.  Held in The Lab, the largest of the rooms off the training floor, it was an hour of intense cardio and strength training using hand weights and what I called the bubble (it’s actually a Bosu ball).  Two days later I still felt the effects of the class – a good deal at $10!

Smaller rooms house the yoga classes for children, offered through Mia Yoga, as well as adult classes which include targeted group training classes and adult yoga classes.  The main training floor is reserved for personal training and the Floore{d} class which consists of a trainer giving hands-on supervision to a small group of people working at stations designed to challenge just about every muscle.

d.FIT manages to look both sleek and inviting.  The dark walls and silver equipment of the main training floor remind those working out that it’s time to get down to business, but the lounge areas are comfortable and open.  The main lounge area has a television, coffee pot, and iPad available to clients – I had my first iPad experience as I cozied up to a coffee in the lounge.  During the warmer months, d.FIT sets up patio tables and chairs outside for relaxation and socializing.  When I visited early on a Sunday morning, there was a tangible sense of community.  Clients chatted with each other and instructors, and children still in pajamas were happy to play in The Nest, where the childcare program is offered.

The real draw, however, is the flexibility for those wanting to combine personal training and classes.  The “Fit Fund,” a d.FIT debit card which starts at $225, is spent on any combination of personal training and classes. It can also be spent on childcare, water and snacks, and even apparel.  The incentive is that the up-front investment provides a savings of up to 33%.  With no membership fee or long-term commitment, d.FIT allows clients full control over which classes and sessions make sense to them.

If that sounds like a large investment, there are other, less expensive, options.  d.FIT’s 10BuckBody classes are offered Monday through Friday mornings, and d-Evening Commute classes, also $10 a class, are offered Monday through Thursday evenings.  Other classes are $18 to drop-in.  Those who know they’ll be taking several classes a week will want to look into the 30 Days Unlimited option at $195.  Kelly, one of the co-owners, said that some clients come in and take two or three classes back-to-back.

The core of d.FIT is the personal training, supplemented with various classes to fine-tune needs and skills.  The personal trainers are available to clients for one-on-one or in small group training.  Just as with personal training in most private clubs, it’s a more expensive option than group classes, but several clients told me the lack of membership fee and commitment pays off.  d.FIT also has various on-going programs and incentives to keep clients motivated and energized about “confusing” their bodies to achieve fitness goals.  Between cooperative efforts with basinbar to Lululemon 31 Days of Fitness to various FIT Challenges with prizes, d.FIT tries to encourage clients to challenge themselves.

True to their “Boredom is the Root of All Evil” mantra, d.FIT is rolling out several new programs in January 2012.  Private and Semi-Private Pilates Reformer training, FIT 101 – a program exclusively for local educators, availability of cold press juices from basin bar, and a screening of the documentary film “Forks Over Knives.”

d.FIT gift cards are currently available starting at $25. First time trainees can take advantage of The Elusive 6-Pack – three training sessions and three classes at $195.  For the undecided, d.FIT is even making it easy to try out a class.  Just “like” d.FIT on Facebook, and you can have your first class free.

d.FIT is open seven days a week, starting at 5:30 a.m.  It is located in The Mill at Walnut Street Station – 4 Erie Street in Montclair.

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