Matel had never belonged to a gym before and the fitness centers she visited with her husband left her cold.
"I wasn't an exercise person," she said. "If I didn't injure my back I probably wouldn't have ever exercised. "I didn't feel the warmth and I didn't feel comfortable. I was afraid to use those things (exercise equipment) myself, I didn't know how to use them."
Then Matel found Peak Physique in Troy. "It's my second home," she said.
She continued her program to keep her back fit and to keep other symptoms from bone density loss, arthritis and high cholesterol -- at bay.
"It's changed me, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally."
Peak Physique is a personal training-based fitness center in Troy owned by husband and wife team Paul and Linda Geyer, respectively a former engineer and an entrepreneur, both turned certified personal trainers and wellness counselors.
Peak Physique was a body-building type gym eight years ago when the Geyers decided buy it.
"There was a treadmill in it with all the coats hanging on it," says Linda Geyer.
Paul Geyer -- new to exercise at 40 -- started working out at the gym and the couple thought baby boomers and others new to fitness would appreciate a place to work out in that was comfortable and personalized.
They got rid of some of the weight equipment and brought in cardio and functional equipment. They hired certified personal trainers. Later they added massage therapy and corporate wellness programs.
"We've stayed away from many things that are trendy. We use good solid exercise principles."
"The way we are cutting edge is our niche, where we are able to deal with people who have many different health issues," said Paul Geyer.
"We help them live a more vital life."
Peak Physique caters to special populations. The Geyers started with weight loss coaching programs and have evolved into a highly personalized holistic approach to exercise they call "vitality training."
"What makes us different is the diverse clientele," said Paul Geyer. Customers range from a 5-year-old with down's syndrome working on muscle tone and balance to a 90-year-old woman who wants to the "the best-looking 90-year-old around."
The Geyers said they have experience with cancer and cardiac patients and clients with MS, diabetes and injuries.
Linda Geyer says the advent of competition from Lifetime Fitness and Curves at first hurt Peak Physique -- which has been growing 12-15 percent every year since it opened -- but they regained many of their lost clients.
"They came back because they weren't going (to their new gyms). I think the idea is that people need accountability and if they have the appointment and they are paying for it, they are going to show up."
Clients pay per visit about $35 to $60 per hour (depending on the package) for individual or shared personal training session.
According to a recent survey conducted by IDEA Health & Fitness Association, a San-Diego-based international industry association, personal training is the most successful program at fitness centers today.
Katie Davis, IDEA co-founder and executive director, says personal training is the most frequently offered program at gyms nationwide.
"In general, people really appreciate the motivation and one-on-one attention a personal trainer provides them over other gym program options," she said. "A trainer's ability to first look at people and then develop a repertoire of activities specific to their needs may help explain personal training's enduring popularity."
It was that personalized attention that drew and kept Matel.
"You are not just a number here. I love that they get to know your body and (when) you set up a program, it fits your specific needs."
¥ Service: Personalized fitness programs
¥ Location: 6044 Rochester Road, Troy
¥ Cost: $35-$60 a session
¥ Contact: 248-879-3141