Mara Prendergast, founder of Unite Fitness, began fitness instruction in 2001—and when the world was slowing down in 2020, she was just getting started. Unite officially opened in 2021, after Mara spent 20 years becoming certified in a wide range of modalities, including group exercise, suspension training, barre, and Pilates.
Unite focuses on functional strength HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to empower members and provide cross-training for outdoor athletes. “I have come to really love HIIT,” says Mara. “Even though I have a lot of other certifications and do a lot of different modalities and formats, I love HIIT.”
Finding a Golden opportunity
Located in Golden, Colorado—an area often used as an entrance to the Rocky Mountains—Unite Fitness is one of the few indoor gyms in town. When it comes to HIIT-focused training, Unite essentially stands alone in Golden, making it a unique experience for each member.
Because of its proximity to the mountains, Golden is a hot spot for sports like rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and more. Instead of competing with these outdoor sports, Unite offers safe, effective methods of cross-training and conditioning to help support these athletes.
Mara also explains that because women like her are Unite’s target market, she can design classes around what would be most effective for her, as a woman working full-time, running a fitness studio, and raising a family. “I’ve got one hour a day, and that’s it,” says Mara. While HIIT is typically an exhausting work out, she does all the programming herself to ensure that nothing is too intense for the general population. After a Unite class, members feel accomplished and energized as opposed to beaten up and burned out.
One software, endless possibilities
Of course, class programming isn’t the only thing that comes as a result of Mara’s self-guidance. Mara has been a long-time user of both Mindbody and ClassPass, as a consumer and a fitness instructor, so choosing a software solution for Unite was a no-brainer. “I needed something that I could get up and running and have support right off the bat,” says Mara.
With Mindbody’s vast functionality and quick implementation, Mara had software that was ready to go when she opened her doors just over a year ago. Having one seamlessly integrated platform for everything Unite needs—from marketing to reports—saves Mara and her staff time, so they can focus on delivering their clients the high-quality classes Unite offers. Mindbody has made staffing a breeze, with the ability to generate payroll reports and set staffing permissions. Her lead instructor can also easily manage the schedule and ensure that information stays up to date for both the trainers and the members.
Unite also takes advantage of ClassPass’s marketplace to cast a wider net and bring in more clients. “People are already on ClassPass,” says Mara. “Having that larger audience to build my membership right off the bat—to me, that’s worth the investment.” ClassPass has helped bring several people through Unite’s doors—many of the gym’s first-time visitors used the platform to secure their spot.
As Unite enters its second year of empowering and strengthening members, Mara hopes to welcome more Golden residents looking to start or restart their fitness regimen and enhance their performance. Her longer-term goal is to own her facility instead of renting and expand to a larger space. She has no plans to leave Golden and wants to always serve its special community.