A Force in Fitness: A Journey Through Koko Nation

The following is a special guest post by member David Libbey who, along with his fiancée Heather, made it a goal to experience Koko Nation firsthand by visiting as many Koko FitClubs as possible. Enjoy their journey! – Lauren Dell’Olio

”Hi, we’re from the Shrewsbury, MA club,” is always the first thing we say when walking into a Koko FitClub location for the first time.

Lately we’ve been saying this a lot, as we’ve been visiting other clubs around Massachusetts over the last few months. We are Heather Lourie, and David Libbey, proud KokoNuts from Worcester, MA. That’s us just after joining, showing off our new Koko Keys. Our club is owned by the wonderful Stinner family and managed by the awesome Susan Auzenbergs.

Our journey started in June 2012 at the local shopping plaza, where we noticed a bunch of “Coming Soon” signs hanging on an empty storefront, announcing the arrival of Koko FitClub. “What is THAT?” we wondered. Heather looked it up on her phone, and we did more research at home. Impressed by what we learned, we set up a time for a demo the next day, immediately joined and completed our first strength session that night. We’ve been living Koko ever since, and couldn’t be happier.

But let’s be honest. When you go to the same club week after week, sometimes you crave a little a change of scenery to keep things fresh and interesting.  One of the nice things about Koko is that there are lots of them, and your Koko Key works at every single one!  So one Friday in January, I asked Heather, “Hey hon, do you want to go to a different club on Saturday?” She agreed, and we decided to check out Needham first.

The next generation of Koko Cardio in Needham MARight away, we discovered that working out at other clubs was different. We got particularly interested in each new club’s layout: What would it look like?  Would the space be square or rectangular?  Are the Smartrainers all along one wall, or along two?  Will they have “New Koko Cardio”?

We got to know FitCoaches Luke from Needham, JP from Brookline, Carey from Harvard, Melissa from Plainville, and Christine from Hanover. On a family trip to Pennsylvania, we popped on in for a workout at the nearby the Cherry Hill, NJ club and met owner Karen Keegan and FitCoach Terry.  At each club, we had an instant, wonderful bond with both members and staff. The amount of time the FitCoach had been with the club didn’t matter either, because the positive energy about the Koko approach was always the same.

Another great thing about visiting other clubs was learning about Koko Adventure Team events. For example, there was a recent hike through Diamond Hill State Park in Cumberland, RI, that Koko FitClub of Plainville, MA owner Christine Johnston organized. We hoofed it through 6 miles worth of trails, with steep grades. We went through old burial grounds, and past abandoned rail lines, and centuries-old home foundations. Equally amazing was seeing our friend and fellow KokoNut, Joni Brodeur, revel in the fact that she was able to complete the hike, despite the difficult terrain. Our legs and feet were just done, but Joni’s smile seemed permanent!

And this past November, I did something that I never thought I’d do.  I completed a Spartan race! It was hard, but my strength and cardio conditioning at Koko had prepared me for it. I got to run it with Koko owners Paul Romeo & Adam Landry, their FitCoach Luke, my FitCoach Susan, and her son Nathaniel. At one point, Paul and I got on the rowing machines at the same time. He looked at me and said, “Alright, it’s going to be a killer!” We had to row 500 meters in 2 minutes, and I’m proud to say that I did it in just under that time. The race was exhausting and very challenging, but I did it with my Koko team, and couldn’t be prouder.

We recently met up with Nick Konarski & Michael Wood from Koko HQ, at an event at Koko Natick, MA, and we shared the story of our club visits. They invited us to come up to the corporate office for a visit. To say that we were honored and thrilled is an understatement! So on April 10 we made our way from Worcester to Rockland, MA, for a tour, meet-and-greet, and naturally, a workout.

The best part was getting the chance to talk with every team member. We met the product specialist team, the programmers, testers, marketing, and even Michael Wood, who was busy editing a future Koko Cardio session. What truly blew us away was when we walked into the conference room, and there was Koko co-founder Mary Obana, greeting us with open arms, and a huge smile! Our mouths dropped open and I blurted out, “I’ve been wanting to meet you for 2 years!”  We had a wonderful talk, and told her our complete journey, each inspired by the other.

No matter where you roam within Koko Nation, you can never forget about the people at your home club. They are your motivators, your biggest fans, your source of positive vibes! They are the ones you count on the most when you need that extra push. They congratulate you on achieving a big goal, like a new lanyard, your first Perfect Workout, reaching your eBMI goal, or lifting the most amount of weight, ever.

Koko is a company that has truly made us feel special in a way I never thought possible. This amazing community has brought people together in ways we couldn’t have imagined before we joined. This is why we took our Koko experience on the road. And it’s why we know our larger Koko journey has only just begun.

David Libbey

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