Peter San Nicolas had a passion for fitness at the age of 11 and parlayed that passion into bodybuilding as a teenager, where he competed in ten different events, winning most of them. In 1995, he started working at the Ramona Fitness Center in Ramona, CA. By the time he was 22 – he owned the place.
“I knew at 16 that I wanted to own my own gym and even wrote numerous business plans in advance,” recalls Peter, twelve years later. But, he did more than just think about owning his own club. He sought the professional guidance of industry pros such as Todd Durkin and Thomas Plummer. He also became certified as a NASM personal trainer and has continued to add to his education and credentials by becoming a DotFit Nutrition Coach, a Titlest Golf Fitness Pro, and K Vest 3D Coach .
Peter is not an "armchair" quarterback – he is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of his club including training clients himself and leading bootcamps and sports conditioning classes . His sister, Nikki, serves as his general manager and has worked with him since 2004, including three years as co-owner of their separate women’s-only club.
Ramona (pop. 20,292) is an unincorporated community 30 miles east of San Diego, where several fitness facilities have come and gone over the years, but Ramona Fitness Center continues to flourish. What makes the difference?
“We treat it like a business - not just our passion,” explains Peter. “We work hard to program, promote, and perform at our best every day, and we spend a lot of time with our staff and our members with weekly training and daily coaching.”
Built in 1989, the original facility was fairly nondescript but looks nothing today like it did back then. “We did a complete tear down and million-dollar remodel a few years ago,” says Peter, “and we have installed new equipment three different times.”
The “new” 12,000 square foot facility includes the addition of a second story to accommodate a large group exercise studio, a kickboxing studio, and a complete line of cardio and FreeMotion strength training equipment. The main level was expanded to include new locker rooms, massage services, City Blends Cafe, childcare, and a retail lounge in addition to the already-impressive free weight area, TRX training, trainng area, and even more selectorized FreeMotion strength-training machines.
Ramona Fitness Center also offers both one-on-one personal training and small group training. “We are the only club in Southern California to offer an ongoing personal training program through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Our last class graduated12 new trainers - all of whom passed their exam and are now certified. We have been able to offer employment to many people in Ramona over the years and currently have 30 fitness professionals on our staff.”
RFC also promotes an extremely successful “Biggest Winner” weight loss program that has helped local residents lost more than 10,000 lbs. in recent years, and the club has been active in the community including promoting fitness in the local schools.
For more than 24 years Ramona Fitness Center has been helping local residents get in shape with a winning formula of passion and integrity. What’s next for the club? “We have plans for a ‘training only’ facility in the near future,” says Peter. And, why not? He already has a formula that works.