*Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in Oxford Stories.
By Jane Anne Darken
S marks the spot in Oxford.
Shed Fitness — a new fitness gym — opened its doors Saturday, Oct. 13, to the Oxford community. Although its focus is getting people stronger and leaner at a high pace, the owners also want to grow a fitness community.
Former Ole Miss linebacker Amzie Williams founded Shed in 2014. He said he felt like no one offered a workout that focused on specific muscle groups daily. He wanted a workout that offered something different but still maintained athletic-based movement in a safe way.
“[I] got a group of people together and took an educated guess on how much it would be to start with all of the equipment,” Williams said.
Shed has taken off since its first location in Nashville and has expanded to a variety of cities. Williams said he was encouraged to open Shed in Oxford because of his connection to Ole Miss and his love for the LOU community, and it seemed like a great opportunity because there are so many people in Oxford that can help grow a fitness community.
When finding the right equipment for Shed, Williams knew he wanted a specific type of treadmill called Woodway Treadmills. These differ from traditional treadmills because they are a self-propelled machine.
Williams said the classes are 40 percent cardio, 40 percent strength and 20 percent anaerobic strength. The anaerobic power is what separates Shed from other workout classes that generally push aerobic heart rate, he said.
He said anaerobic strength is “what you can push through at your threshold. When you’re struggling, we try to push you and see how much you can get done.”
Shed’s Oxford director, Britt McLaughlin, said the workouts are no more than 50 minutes. Each class begins with a quick warm-up, then the work time is from 35-40 minutes.
“It’s hard work, but the stations are short,” McLaughlin said. “One day, there could be six stations for six minutes. The next could be seven stations for five minutes.”
McLaughlin said every day is something different at Shed, and no workout is repeated.
“But we’re not re-inventing the wheel,” McLaughlin said. “A bicep curl is a bicep curl, but the way you’re working that muscle can be different.”
Mondays are focused on the upper body, which emphasizes on muscles from the waist up and fatiguing the muscles through cardio. Tuesdays are legs and lower body.
Wednesdays are arms and abs, which are different than Monday’s upper body because it is more dynamic and focuses more on minor muscle groups, McLaughlin said. She said on Wednesdays, participants do bicep curls, hammer rows, shoulder shrugs, Arnold press and triceps.
Thursday’s are called “Shredders,” which is a high cardio, full body workout. McLaughlin said it’s different than a regular Shed. The trainer runs a warm-up and goes through each station, which is timed in two, 17-minute stations.
“You go at your own pace, but when the time’s up for that station, you switch,” McLaughlin said. “This allows you to get your maximum work in.”
She said one partner is doing something for half of the 17 minutes, while the other partner is doing something different. Then one of the partners switches to do something completely different. For example, one partner would be running a quarter of a mile while the other partner is doing 25 tricep dips on the bench.
McLaughlin said Shed is for anyone, not just athletes. You can go at your own pace and weight.
“We practice great form,” Williams said. “We won’t let you do a quick squat. We try to use a good range of motion and keep you safe and make it hard.”
Shed is located in South Lamar Court, across from the old Baptist hospital off South Lamar Boulevard.
“You can get there from Taylor, Lamar, or Highway 7,” she said, adding that Shed is focused and committed to catering to the student demographic in Oxford because it is such a big part of the community.
“Classes that are best attended are mid-morning and afternoon … because students don’t want to get up early, then have class, and after class may want to take a nap or have another class, but they can work out at 4:30 p.m. and still have time to shower, and go to chapter, or go out,” McLaughlin said. “That was part of it — structuring class times in a way that is beneficial to Oxford.”
Williams won’t deny that it’s an intense fitness, but the best part about it is participants are with friends every day.
“What I wanted and missed out with when I was done playing football is seeing your friends every day,” he said, “And the gym is a great way to see your friends.”
Shed’s first class is free. Those interested in Shred can sign up online through the Shed Group Fitness app.