Meredith Charbonnet and Katy Roubion
Fast Track to Fitness
In the Central Business District, Baronne Street has become a hotbed of hip happenings. And the upbeat music, and peppy, power-it-up voices you hear coming from Suite C at 821 Baronne is Hour Blast Downtown — an interval training studio and the latest addition to the CBD community.
Business owners Meredith Charbonnet and Katy Roubion celebrated the grand opening in mid-May and say the neighborhood has put out a warm welcome mat.
“There’s such a strong sense of community,” Charbonnet says. “People who live downtown seem to want to support downtown … we’ve been welcomed with open arms. Men and women who live a block away love that they can just walk over for a workout. This is something they haven’t really had in this area before.” Roubion mentions they’ve been excited to see quite a few clients coming from the Garden District as well.
Typically, most gyms experience a summer slow-down but Roubion and Charbonnet say activity at Hour Blast Downtown is on the rise as word spreads, especially before and after work hours. “There’s been a great response with people coming back and working out regularly,” Roubion says. “That tells us we’re doing something right.”
The concept behind Hour Blast is to couple strength and resistance circuits with treadmill intervals to create a high-intensity training session that maximizes the body’s metabolism and burns calories all day long. Hour Blast advertises a fun, fast-paced workout that leaves you “dripping from head toe” and gets you “in the best shape of your life!”
The duo agrees that the studio does just that, which is why — after taking and teaching classes for years at the Hour Blast Metairie and Uptown locations — they decided to become certified personal trainers and enter a licensing agreement for their own studio, the fourth Hour Blast in the metro area.
Roubion loves that the one-hour format is so efficient at combining all the cardio and strength training that clients need in just 60 minutes. “It’s perfect for people like ourselves who are so busy with family, and jobs and such, that don’t have all the time in the world to work out,” she says. Meanwhile, Charbonnet says the best part of Hour Blast is that it offers something for all fitness levels. The classes are limited to just 12 people or less. That means individualized attention for newcomers and people who need modified workouts — such as pregnant women and people coming back from injuries.
You don’t have to cower on the corner equipment at Hour Blast. In fact, with the group classes and the circuit concept, you can’t. But fear not, Charbonnet says, you’re not likely to be the least fit or least confident person in the room. “Right now, a lot of people have never done this before,” she says. “We’re seeing a lot of beginners. The best way to gain confidence is through group fitness.”
Besides, the program designed to be motivational and a lot of fun. Roubion, Charbonnet and the 10 other instructors are there to support clients all the way to the finish line. “We’re your biggest cheerleaders,” Charbonnet says. “We’re there to push you and get you to finish the class strong. We’ll help you get your mind straight … 80 percent of your workout is mental.”
Roubion and Charbonnet have segued former careers into new jobs that they love. Roubion earned a business degree from Tulane University and was a pharmaceutical rep in the past. She also owned three Roly Poly sandwich shop locations with her husband. Charbonnet worked in sales for Marriott Hotels for eight years and says that work translates well on cold calls and building business. Both have returned to childhood loves — dancing for Charbonnet and running for Roubion.
“Hour Blast classes took my running to another level,” Roubion says. “They say, ‘Work doing what you love to do, and then you can’t beat it.’ We saw this opportunity and jumped on it.” And both agree, they couldn’t be happier about it.
“Once you teach three classes a day and take a class, it’s exhausting,” Charbonnet says. “But we both love it so much. We love getting all the positive feedback, and everyone leaves class feeling so good. It motivates us to keep doing what we all love.” 821 Baronne St., Ste. C, (504) 516-2900, hourblast.com
**Introductory offer: Three classes for $30 or $10 for your first class. Special rates are available for post-pregnancy moms, brides, students, members of the military and teachers.