For Brandie Smeltzer-Folkerts, the recent opening of her fitness and workout studio on Woodward’s Main Street was another step in her "life-long passion" for exercise.

And now…she’s bringing HEAT. HEAT, in this case, stands for High Energy Athletic Training. Think of it as the Ferrari of aerobics. The idea behind HEAT, Smeltzer-Folkerts explains, uses high intensity interval training to elevate the heart rate and burn more body fat and tone muscles. HEAT is, in fact, a "hot" methodology nationwide. At the time of The Record’s visit, Smeltzer-Folkerts and students were using Swiss exercise balls and hand weights to develop both abdominal and arm strength.

Her methods seem to be catching on, says Smeltzer-Folkerts. Since opening her studio in late November, she says she has more than doubled her client roster. Students, she says, come from as far away as Perry for her classes, which also include traditional aerobics and yoga. Among her students are two Woodward-Granger high school athletes trying to get a jump on their upcoming sports.

The increase in clients is all the more remarkable since Smeltzer-Folkerts still has a "daylight" job as an operations manager and business banking specialist for a Clive bank. That status is likely to change in the future, says Smeltzer-Folkerts, who adds that her desire to become a full-time personal trainer is well known by her employers. "I don’t have a timetable, but I do have goals," she says.

But for now, HEAT classes meet at 5 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday with yoga and aerobics available by appointment Saturdays. Tanning bed appointments are also available weekdays from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.

The classes are amazing says Woodward’s Adrienne Fuson, who says she lost 30 pounds in 10 weeks working with Smeltzer-Folkert.

"She’s a great motivator and has a genuine want for her students to succeed," she said.

But in addition to Fuson’s own motivation, both women point to the feeling of "teamwork" that develops in small personally-led classes. "It’s a group dynamic," says Fuson. "I have always wanted to work out, but being a mother of four with a full time job, I didn’t have to time to drive to another town, work out for an hour, and then drive back home.

Opening the fitness center in our town, has really saved me in many ways… it gave me an opportunity to not just work out, but to fall in love with it. "It gave me an opportunity to make myself proud." So how does Smeltzer-Folkerts balance her banking career, a husband, two children and her fitness studio? "It’s complicated," she says with a grin, "but my family is very supportive."

Fitness by Brandie is located at 1913 S. Main St., Woodward. Phone 515-490-9113.