The Fitness Rave Offers Workouts for Everyone

The new fitness studio, located at Baltimore Crossroads @ 95, attracted hundreds to its grand opening earlier this month.

Healthy was not the word used to describe Lydia Haskell as a child.

At 2, Haskell became deathly ill with pneumonia. Three years later, what started as a bruised hip following a tricycle accident turned into another near-death experience as the injury led to a severe staph infection. Her condition was so grave that a priest gave her last rites twice.

That was more than 40 years ago. Today, Haskell is the definition of "healthy," having spent the last 20 years promoting a healthy lifestyle as a fitness instructor, NFL cheerleader and fitness competitor. Haskell has since took that passion to a new level with the recent opening earlier this month of  The Fitness Rave at in White Marsh.

The 8,400-square-foot fitness studio is an expansion of her original studio in Bel Air, which opened about a year ago. Haskell quickly outgrew that building and decided a change of venue was needed.

“Fitness is my passion,” said Haskell, 46, a Bel Air resident and a married mother of a teenage daughter. “I try to offer a workout that is more of an experience. People that come here get a workout that is fun and they don’t even realize they are working out when they are here.”

While many fitness chains like Planet Fitness and offer low membership rates by concentrating mainly on traditional gym equipment, Haskell said The Fitness Rave concentrates on group fitness. Her venue features two huge studios that are housed with powerful sound and light systems that make many of her classes feel more like an evening at a nightclub rather than a gym.

Among the courses offered by her staff of more than a dozen instructors, including Haskell, are suspension training, Zumba and personal training for those of all fitness levels. Friday night cardio dance parties and fitness “raves” are just some of the unique aspects to Haskell’s studio. The studio, however, does also offer circuit-training equipment.

“It can be really motivating for people to work out in this type of electric environment where they are exercising with 75 to 80 other people at a time,” Haskell said. “Plus, it is a lot of fun, especially for those who don’t want a traditional workout.”

Kim Butcher is one of those studio members. The 31-year-old Bel Air resident joined The Fitness Rave when it opened in Harford County and followed Haskell when she moved to its current location.

Butcher said despite the longer drive, she believes it is worth it for her to make the 30-minute trek several times a week.

“The Fitness Rave just offers the complete package,” Butcher said. “I love the group aspect of it. Everyone pushes each other and you make a lot of new friends in the process. It’s a very social experience.”

Haskell, whose husband Rick is operating partner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Baltimore, said most of her fitness courses are based off of philosophies of Les Mills, a New Zealand-based company whose programs are offered in more than 13,000 clubs in 75 countries that account for more than 5 million weekly users, according to the company website.

Haskell’s ultimate goal, she said, is to franchise The Fitness Rave, something she believes is possible even in today’s current difficult economic climate.

“We offer group fitness at an affordable price,” Haskell said.  “We have already seen in a short time that those who come to our studio are hooked on what we do. We believe others will be too.”

ashley mcvicker March 05, 2012 at 08:46 PM
This place is great!
Karen V. Poe March 05, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Not only is the facility and the class schedule terrific, but Lydia is one of my heroines. She is so brave, compassionate and very motivated. II call her Wonder Woman for a reason - she is a truly wonderful person and I am truly blessed to have her in my life. Everything about The Fitness Rave is awesome. The membership price, the classes, the instructors and, of course Lydia, Leader of Ravers!!!! Karen V. Poe
Kathy Vogel March 05, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I hesitated to do this because i did not want this place to get too big and change at all. i love going here and some days the classes are kinda full, which adds to the fun but also hinders you a bit. Should i lie and say stay away? Nope, cant do it, everyone should give themselves a gift and just try one of the many classes. You will be hooked too. This place rocks.
Corey Burke March 06, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I LOVE the Fitness Rave! It is such a great and fun place to workout! Everyone is so friendly and fun and makes it such a comfortable place to workout! There is classes for everyone at any level of fitness seven days a week!
Cynthia Fortner March 08, 2012 at 12:15 AM
My daughter and I have so much fun doing Zumba and Body Flow at the Fitness Rave! Great instructors! It gives us a chance to get fit and have fun at the same time! I highly recommend the Fitness Rave! Bring a friend!
Liz wetherington August 08, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Is it a drop in
Liz wetherington August 08, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Member fees or drop in , cost ? For Pilates do we bring a mat? Thanks


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