By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: May 2008
The Owasso Fitness Zone family: (Back row L to R) Clint Phillips, Kristi Gatton, Paul Gatton, Chris Patterson, Donna and Ray Johnson, Dr. Mark Franklin, Marty and Rosemary Gatton, Daniel Gatton (Front row L to R) Betty Brewer, Jenny Boissenin, Alex Gatton, Kacey and Stephanie Gatton.
You might be surprised at the diversity of people who work out at Owasso Fitness Zone. From the city firefighters pumping iron to Betty Brewer, who is 79 and very active, this isn’t your average fitness center.
Owner Paul Gatton, along with his family and staff, are celebrating ten years in Owasso. Paul said he looks forward to the next decade of serving Owasso families. “There is nowhere I’d rather be and nothing I’d rather be doing.”
Paul opened the gym in 1998 after his best friend Tom Keitges notified him that a good family fitness center was needed in Owasso. Paul relocated from Fort Smith, Arkansas and actually lived in the office of his business for the first few years. “Of course, he wasn’t married then,” laughs client Betty Brewer.
Paul says that his business never would have gotten off the ground without the help of his parents, Marty and Rosemary Gatton. “My clients can always tell when my parents have been here,” said Paul. “My mom puts up all kinds of holiday decorations and cleans everything in sight, and my dad keeps the books.”
Brothers Steve and Daniel Gatton round out the family business, and Paul’s wife Kristi is very supportive as well. “I am fortunate to have my immediate family and my extended gym family,” Paul explains. “This place is unique because we all know each other, and that makes me enjoy coming here each day. We’ve been through good and bad times together, and we cheer each other on. You simply don’t get that in an impersonal mega-gym.”
Dr. Mark Franklin agrees. He was Paul’s first member and was literally knocking on the door asking to join before the facility had even opened. “Paul has a passion for fitness and seeing his members achieve their goals. He helped me learn how to change my lifestyle and become healthier. It’s not about money with him – it’s about helping people,” said Dr. Franklin.
Chris Patterson, a psychology major at Northeastern State University, has been working out at OFZ since he was 15, when he visited the facility with his scout troop. The gym is one of the reasons Chris has remained in Owasso; he enjoys always seeing someone he knows when he goes to work out. Paul helped Chris develop an exercise program from the very beginning, and a year ago the two began personal training sessions. Chris has progressed from bench-pressing 195 pounds to 315 pounds in that time. “I exercise here four times a week, and I don’t like to miss a workout. Having a personal trainer is like knowing a friend is waiting on you, and it motivates you to get there.”
Personal service definitely sets this gym apart in the minds of Ray and Donna Johnson. Donna, 77, is on oxygen therapy, and Paul has helped her develop an aerobic exercise program that she can do. Donna says Paul’s always available to help whenever she needs him. Her husband Ray, 82, also works out at the gym and credits his very life to exercising. “I had a heart attack. The cardiologist said that if it weren’t for working out, I wouldn’t still be here. I exercise three times a week with Paul and have been at OFZ since January of 2000.”
Betty Brewer has been with the gym for eight years. “I thought I had been exercising, but I wasn’t doing the correct things,” she says. “Paul is successful today because he is patient, friendly and health-conscious. He treats everyone like family. We are all very proud of him.”