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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Joe and Sarah DiNicolantonio talk about the construction at SPENGA in Chattanooga in November.

Joe and Sarah DiNicolantonio are kicking off 2021 by offering local fitness fans a whole new way to work out — a mashup of spinning, strength training and yoga called SPENGA.

"There's a lot of interest in this model," says Sarah, an occupational therapist. "One couple that's signed up – he loves to spin and she loves yoga. They signed up because they want to work out together, with the strength in the middle."

Joe DiNicolantonio says that "early 30s" couple hits "right in the middle of our target demographic" for the gym at 1705 Market St. near Battle Academy.

"We've got everyone from UTC students to retirees, couples and singles," says Joe, who spent more than 25 years in banking before jumping into entrepreneurship. "We really want to serve the fitness needs of this community, and this workout does that – no two are ever the same. It's based on the individual."

The DiNicolantonios fell in love with Chattanooga during their two stints here — first from 2004 to 2006, then back again 2016, when they returned for what turned out to be Joe's last banking post. At the end of that run, the couple decided to stay.

"We love Chattanooga," Joe says. "I took a few months off, got to do some stuff I don't often get to do, then looked for opportunities."

That search led the couple to SPENGA workout studios. The DiNicolantonios went to Chicago in January to meet with SPENGA's founders and wound up buying the rights to four franchises – just weeks before the nation locked down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Yeah, there's nothing more exciting than opening an exercise center in the middle of a pandemic," Joe says.

But they pressed on, and spent much of 2020 readying for their early 2021 opening.

"We're very excited about the location," says Joe, who lives with Sarah in downtown Chattanooga. "It's convenient to residents and business."

The Market Street studio will be a "very crisp, clean environment," complete with aromatherapy and a "killer" sound system, Joe says.

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SPENGA

They've had to make a few allowances for COVID, but SPENGA "was really well-positioned in terms of cleanliness before the pandemic," Sarah says. The workout typically includes 20 minutes each of spin, strength and yoga.

"We went with three individual shower stalls rather than a community locker room," Joe says, "and we've put additional fans throughout the building, to keep air circulating. Our client safety is first and foremost."

The gym will also install a BioClean high-output ultraviolet germicidal air treatment system designed for commercial heating and cooling environments.

"We are working to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all our clients," Joe says.

The DiNicolantonios say their first SPENGA studio will span more than 4,000 square feet. The per-class maximum of 24 will allow for personalized instruction as well as greater social distancing, they say.

SPENGA

* What it is: A workout that blends spinning, strength and yoga.

* Address: 1705 Market Street

* Online: chattanoogatn.spenga.com

"Each station will have its own dedicated equipment," Sarah says. "You won't have to leave your area, no one will share equipment and staff will clean each station after each class."

Joe says those classes are likely to start as early as 5 a.m. Monday through Friday. Special rates available until SPENGA's opening later this month are$129 a month for unlimited visits, $99 a month for eight visits, or $69 a month for four visits. Prices for unlimited and eight-visit memberships increase by $20 a month after that. Membership sales are running "about as expected," Joe says.

"There are no long-term contracts, so you can cancel at any time," he says. "And if you get 30 days in and don't like it, you get 100 percent of your money refunded.

"We really want to provide a sense of community for our members," he says. "We're partnering with several community groups, including the Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute.

"This is a great place to live and work," he says. "We're excited to be part of the Southside and downtown."

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