Woodbury gym owner Dena Smith says she’s always had an interest in fitness but felt like the work she was doing wasn’t adding up to the results she wanted to see. Rather than giving up or sticking with the same routine, she took matters into her own hands.
Smith opened Woodbury gym UrbanIRON Fitness with the intention of helping others who found themselves on a similar path. “For the past 13 years, I’ve been working with and training clients to master kettlebell technique and workouts. I started as a member at a previous kettlebell gym [and] became trainer and finally owner of UrbanIRON in 2015,” she says.
“Like many, I worked out three to five times a week but was left feeling frustrated that my body didn’t reflect all the hard work I was putting in. I was caught in the fitness fog,” Smith says. She kept this in the back of her mind as she formed her gym, hoping that UrbanIRON clients would get the results they were looking for.
“Bottom line, I was creating a gym that I wanted to be a part of,” Smith says. Her goal was to create a place where people would feel comfortable to learn and “work through limitations” to not only achieve the results they’re looking for, but to live healthier, more active lifestyles overall.
Using her experience teaching other kettlebell fitness classes, Smith was able to put together her vision of what she wanted her own gym to be. “A lot of the framework was established 10 years before UrbanIRON was even on the map,” she says. “However, the devil is in the details, so though I’m the sole owner of UrbanIRON Fitness, it took teamwork to make this dream work. Friends, family and clients all played a vital role in framing what the gym is like today.”
To make sure UrbanIRON is running as smoothly as possible, Smith still has her team chip in with important decisions in her quarterly “advisory tribe.” Smith says the team helps “keep us grounded and aligned to our core values as we move with the demands of the industry.”
Smith describes the space as having “a small group fitness studio feel” with a “non-intimidating environment.” But she attributes a large part of the environment to her members. “They are the first to reach out to new clients, the first to take them by the hand and say, ‘We all remember our first day. You will have fun, you will be sore, and you need to just be back tomorrow.’ Once those connections are made, you feel at home and then you are hooked.”
UrbanIRON offers a bunch of 45-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes each day, including TRX, kettlebell, boot camp and body weight. Smith says HIIT classes are “all you need to get a great workout and still achieve your desired results.”
“We design our workouts daily to be creative, innovative and flexible to challenge both seasoned athletes and those just starting or restarting their fitness journey,” Smith says. She says that the environment at UrbanIRON keeps workouts feeling fun—even when they’re tough.
While making plans to open her gym, Woodbury seemed like the obvious choice. “I love being a business owner in Woodbury,” Smith says. “There are many small businesses to interact with, collaborate with and learn from…Just recently [I] have had the pleasure of being a part of the Women Owners of Woodbury, which is an amazing way to help support other small businesses and women-owners.”
She adds, “I am fortunate enough to live in Woodbury. I love this community [and] I enjoy all the clients. It’s fun seeing them at the gym and then catching them out with their families during their weekend Target runs.” Then she says with a laugh, “Don’t worry—I’m not looking at what’s in your cart!”