Locals focus on personalized regimens
The Essex Reporters
Sam Orfandis and Calvin Sanderson looked around their new 1,000 square foot training space, the sunlight of an unusually warm December morning reflecting off the panel of mirrors behind them.
A blue stripe wrapped around the freshly painted white walls, accompanied by a certain stillness — one that the duo hope will soon be replaced with the bustle of quickening pulses and sounds of people getting in shape.
Located just past Costco on 948 Hercules Drive Suite 8, SPECTAC, a new Colchester fitness facility, will be hosting a grand opening on Monday, Dec. 21, including an all-day open house and a ribbon cutting planned for 3:30 p.m. The facility then plans to be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, in addition to 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
Sanderson and Orfandis, both native to Vermont, met at Lyndon State College while studying exercise science.
Orfandis, 25, started his career with the Lyndonville Fire Department as an assistant trainer. After his graduation in May 2014, Orfandis decided to stick with the department and became its head trainer.
“They were too much of a fun bunch to let go,” said Orfandis.
Sanderson, 23, an Essex High School graduate who obtained his degree in May, said the two had always joked about starting their own company. Yet it wasn’t until Orfandis began getting paid for his training efforts that these early musings became a reality.
The two eventually combined to launch SPECTAC, a fitness and health company specializing in personal and group training as well as training for emergency responders.
SPECTAC stands for “Strength, Power, Education, Conditioning, Tactical Training, Attainable goals and Continuity.” It’s this final “C” in which trainer-trainee relationships often struggle, a fact not lost on the company’s co-owners.
“The hardest part of training and pulling in clients isn’t the first session. It’s the second session,” Orfandis said. “So our biggest obstacle is trying to maintain coherence and keep the clients coming in. That’s better for us because they’re getting better.”
After a year of in-home personal training sessions, the two developed a business plan and obtained the necessary start-up funds to purchase their own space.
Sanderson’s main focus is strength and conditioning, while Orfandis specializes in the tactical aspect.
“We both work really well together, and the certifications blend well,” Sanderson said.
Both highlighted the comfortable and personalized nature of their training styles, believing that this sets their program apart from some of Chittenden County’s other offerings; sessions can be entirely private by request.
“When we were coming up we would see a lot of males and females who wouldn’t like working out when there’s a lot of people. So we thought, why not offer a facility that’s just going to be the client and the trainer?” Sanderson said.
Group training sessions are also available for those looking to minimize cost and maximize motivation, while free consultations are offered to anyone who walks through the door.
“It’s a way for us to gauge where all of our clients are, and it’s easier for us to make the exercise prescription if we know where they’re starting,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson added that people often come to them with lofty weight loss goals, a common occurrence in the approaching new year. He said this vague focus can lead to discouragement, for often “the scale is subjective.”
“We design the goals to be a lot more specific so that people are more comfortable. We add small little checkpoints throughout our client programs so we can see that we are reaching the smaller goals to reach the big ones, such as losing X amount of pounds” Sanderson said.
These smaller goals often focus on improving an individual’s overall health — the “resting measures” — such as heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol, Orfandis said.
The trainers will often ask clients to highlight certain activities they’d like to participate in but haven’t been able to due to their fitness. One client in particular has his sights set on zip-lining.
“Every single time we come in and work with him, he gets on the scale and says ‘Ah, Yes! I’m so close. I’ll be able to do that in a couple months, no problem.’ And that’s fantastic, because people should not have to feel limited,” Sanderson said.
For Orfandis, it’s these moments that are the most satisfying.
“Money is one thing; that’s great. We didn’t get into this field for money, though,” Orfandis said. “We got into this field to have those photos and texts from all of our clients saying, ‘I feel so much better. I can now get off the couch, get up the stairs while my breathing is normal.’”
“Sam and I have been able to do whatever we wanted through the years. We’ve had that ability and drive. Now it’s time for us to help these individuals accomplish those kind of goals,” Sanderson said.
Furthering this mission is SPECTAC’s classification as a low-profit limited liability company (L3C), which is a hybrid business form combining a for-profit business with socially beneficial focus.
Orfandis explained that if the company reaches a certain profit for the year, a percentage of the following income is donated to charity. The distinction allows for the company to apply for grants in order to fund some of their tactical training services, as many times the volunteer fire departments they work with have limited funding.
In regards to such tactical training, Sanderson said they believe the health of first responders often falls to the wayside as their focus lies on of keeping others safe.
“A scary statistic we always talk about with the tactical athlete, especially the firefighters, is that 50 percent of firefighter deaths are cardiac-event related. Those particular diseases are extremely manageable through exercise,” Sanderson said.
For more information, visit www.spectac-hfp.com.