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Natural Awakenings Boston

Lana Lemeshov and Koko FitClub: Personal Training for the 21st Century

Dec 27, 2012 12:36PM ● By Kim Childs


Twenty-three years ago, Lana Lemeshov left the former Soviet Union to start a new life as a computer programmer in the United States. In 2012 she also became a franchise owner of two KoKo FitClubs, in West Roxbury and Brookline Village. The clubs offer a fully automated fitness experience, providing the kind of customized workouts that are usually led by a personal trainer. Lemeshov, who had no background in the fitness industry and a distaste for gyms, says that she was instantly smitten with Koko FitClub’s Zen-like atmosphere and tech-savvy approach to getting in shape. Natural Awakenings wanted to know more about this personal training style for the modern age.

What was it about Koko FitClub that made you a believer?

Everything is all figured out for you and the customized, 30-minute workout is so carefully orchestrated that you don’t waste a minute. It’s almost like a video game, which got me hooked. The most profound impact, besides the fact that it’s now my business, is that it got me to stop smoking. I also learned more about proper eating, and it just made me want to be fit. My whole relationship with my body changed.

What does someone experience, walking into the club?

It can be confusing for people who walk in expecting a gym, because it’s not. It’s a small studio with five SmartTrainers, which is the proprietary technology of Koko FitClub, and five cardio machines. Our complimentary initial session includes gathering data on your weight, height, fitness goals and body composition, which is measured by a medical-grade tool that reveals your lean muscle mass. We focus on lean muscle mass because it’s a better indication of fitness than weight. Based on these parameters and strength and range-of-motion tests, the system customizes a program for you, and it changes as you get stronger. An entire month at KoKo FitClub costs as much as one hour of personal training at most fitness centers.

Can you describe a typical workout?

You enter the club, insert your flash drive into the SmartTrainer and begin your strength-training workout, which is different each time. You then do cardio training for 15 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical trainer. Instead of wasting an hour on these machines, the interval training features short bursts of load and rest, changing climbing speed and resistance. The audio track also features tips on nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Fifteen minutes may seem like a small amount of time, but the technology makes it an incredibly effective workout.

What if someone has questions and needs to speak to a person?

That’s when our FitCoaches come in. They’re an essential part of the experience, trained and certified by KoKo FitClub. I have eight coaches in each club, and they help clients move through any obstacles and ensure that they are using the equipment correctly with the best form. Members can also come and work out at the club after hours when our staff is gone, just by using their key to enter any time between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. At home, members can track their progress any time on their personal Koko FitClub website.

What kind of results have your members seen?

Our average member achieves a 19 percent increase in strength during their first 8-week program, and the numbers go up from there. We also have specialized health tracks for chronic conditions. One of my members has high cholesterol and diabetes, and he followed our recommendations for strength training and cardio workouts. Eventually, his doctor decided that he didn’t need to see him every four months, based on the medical test results he was seeing. We hear stories like that almost every day. I also have a family of six who joined, including a daughter who was preparing to get married. Because of Koko FitClub, all members of the bridal party had to alter their dresses before the wedding. It was a good problem to have, in my opinion.

KoKoFit Club is located at 39 Harvard St., Brookline Village, and 77 Spring St. (Shaw’s plaza), West Roxbury. For more information, call 617-566-5656 (Brookline), 617-325-4800 (West Roxbury) or visit