This story appears in the Spring 2013 issue of Eidé Magazine. Read it here, or click to read it in the issue below.
Atlanta native Missi Wolf was known as the “cute, round girl with a really good personality,” throughout most of her life. But after a lifetime of inactivity (Wolf wasn’t even allowed to participate in physical education classes growing up due to a childhood asthma diagnosis) and significant weight gain from two pregnancies, Wolf weighed in at over 200 pounds and was declared morbidly obese with 34 percent body fat on her 5’0” frame. That was 1999. Two years later, Wolf had shed 100 pounds and 14 percent body fat. Seven years after that she opened the first BLAST900 fitness studio, and today, with three corporate locations, the first franchise location in Athens, GA (that just opened Feb. 18), and plans to open 50 to 75 more in the next 5 years, Wolf is using her own experiences from her journey to a healthy lifestyle to help others achieve theirs.
BLAST 900 may sound like the name for an extreme exercise craze that boasts the potential to burn 900 calories in one hour, but it is actually an acronym for “Balanced Level of Aerobic and Strength Training,” representing the ideals of a sensible, yet extremely effective fitness regime conceived of by Ms. Wolf (while yes, referencing its ability to eliminate 900 calories in a single class). Wolf explained that she arrived at the proprietary concept during her personal path to health and fitness. With the combination of a personal trainer, kickboxing classes, weight training classes and numerous other exercise she found herself working out up to four hours a day in order to maintain her level of fitness, leaving less time to spend with her two children. She wanted to find a place where she could achieve a high intensity workout, incorporating everything she was already doing, but within an hour or less — and she couldn’t.
So at 36 years old, Wolf decided to go back to school to study kinesiology and physiology at Georgia State University. “I was 36 years old in classes with 18 year olds!” Wolf exclaimed, “but I wanted to learn everything I could about the human body.” With the knowledge she gained, combined with her own experience, the expertise from a team of specialists in fitness and nutrition, and the business know-how of her then husband Chuck Wolf (founder of Wolf Camera), she formulated a plan for the ultimate workout and opened the first BLAST900 studio in 2008. Its cutting edge fitness concept utilizes the muscle confusion theory and interval training, combining treadmills, weights, and motivational trainers, all in a one-hour session. Over the years, Wolf and her team have refined their process and created a comprehensive program that includes nutrition consultations (“for real people, with real food and real behavior modification,” Wolf asserts) and heart rate monitoring (which helps one learn to workout smarter, not harder) so clients can not only achieve weight loss results, but meet their overall health and wellness goals, too.
Some of those goals that Wolf ’s clients have achieved: clients with high cholesterol have come off their medication; diabetic patients have cut their insulin dosages in half; and one 42-year old client who suffered a major heart attack is now in better shape than ever, and her cardiologist is sending his patients to BLAST after seeing the results of the program through her. “We’re changing lives one hour at a time. It’s so much more than I need to lose weight,” Wolf remarked. “The most satisfying thing is somebody coming up to you and saying ‘You changed my life’.”
And while BLAST900’s workouts are structured around group exercise, they are still personalized to an individual’s fitness level, allowing each person to work out at their own pace and reach their own maximum effort. As Wolf made clear, “I wanted someplace where that girl that I was, I could have walked into class, and the girl that I am now, having done boot camps and triathlons, either one of those girls can walk into the studio and get the same results.”