By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fitness Studio Looks To Revitalize Community Health
revitalize 1
Revitalize Fitness owner J.R. Dahm gives one on one guidance to client Brea DeRespini as she goes through her morning workout routine. DeRespini has been a member of the club for seven months. Teresa Hammond/The Leader


There’s a small secret in the way of fitness a handful of community members have caught wind of: Revitalize Fitness is looking to reshape not only how people perceive weight loss, but overall health.

The discreetly located fitness studio on the west end of town at its 1214 W. F St., Oakdale location is currently home to approximately 100 clients looking to better their health.

Owner J.R. Dahm and wife Carla are striving to do more than offer gym services to their clients. Their focus is on overall physical health. Consulting with each client is part of the process, along with recording their history, goals and making recommendations, and using the Ironman Scan which breaks down lean body mass to body fat.

“We want to match that pinnacle of fitness,” Dahm said of the hit television show The Biggest Loser, noting that through the Scan tool they can also inform clients of their physical age, based on its results.

“This is my 20th year in the fitness world,” Dahm shared. “I’ve worked for some of the bigger gyms and companies during my career. I’ve watched the disconnect happen in the gym business. From the front desk recognition to the let us sell you something. It’s really turned into a business and lost that personal side.

“We want to bring the quality back into fitness through education,” he said. “The greater the education the better the result.”

Because of this approach the Dahm’s prefer to call their facility a Fitness Club versus Gym due to the connotation big gyms now bring to clients. The fitness enthusiast also shared they prefer to focus on clients’ needs versus individual packages and expenses.

“We have a three for free program,” Dahm added. “The first session is always about the money. By the third, it’s always about how can I make this work and we will work with them. We really want to find a way to work with as many people as possible and continue to get them the results they’re looking for.”

Added the owner: “I don’t like sales. I don’t want financial restrictions to get in someone’s way.”

One such client would be Bob Yuskaitis, he just didn’t know it at the time.

Dahm and Yuskaitis attend the same church. Yuskaitis, 76, a retired teacher and tutor survived a life-threatening accident.

“I was hospitalized for several months,” Yuskaitis said, as a result of his car accident. “Two months in the hospital and one month in rehab. When I started going back to church I had shrunk down to 128 pounds. I was just a shell.

“J.R. invited me to come work with him to help rebuild my strength,” he continued. “I’ve packed on 25 pounds of muscle. I’m doing more things now than I’ve ever done before. I believe there are born teachers and made teachers. He’s a born teacher.”

Dahm said his real payback is seeing the results for their clientele.

“It’s so great to see us changing lives in the community,” Dahm said. “Now we want to see can we have a major effect on putting fitness in this community. We have fast food on almost every corner. Having two little girls, that’s scary for me.”

Among the varying plans and programs that Dahm likes to offer clients is the TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) challenge approach.

“As a team we helped everyone lose a total of 580 pounds of fat, during our last challenge,” he said of participants.

The fitness club owner noted he prefers keeping challenges on tap to keep clients motivated and committed to one another, citing the major effect of accountability when working as a group.

“We’re just constantly looking for ways to keep them motivated based on their lifestyle,” Dahm said. “Right down to their meal plan, but you’ve got to be coachable. Someone who will come in and say, yeah, alright teach me.”

Ultimately, he said, it is about the overall quality of life for customers.

“I’m just passing on the knowledge that was passed on to me,” he said of his passion for helping people get healthy. “Helping the people who are looking to change the quality of their life, but they don’t know how to get there. Life is hard enough, it’s important to have a good quality of life.”

The focus is also firmly on fitness.

“This is not a place where the hunks meet the babes,” client Yuskaitis said. “The atmosphere here is so close, friendly and warm. This place is just something else. They take a personal interest.”

Visibly moved as he speaks, Yuskaitis clears his throat and states, “The doctors put me back together, but he (Dahm) gave me my life back. If they’ll follow their advice, they can’t help but come back much better.”