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raw2Whether you are a gym addict or a first-timer, South Trinidad’s newest gym facility has something to offer for everyone.

Opened in late June 2015 and located just off the Solomon Hochoy Highway on the same compound as the Gasparillo Mall, Raw Fitness Health Club boasts a wide variety of indoor and outdoor classes, state-of-the-art equipment, and qualified instructors; and is open 24/7 for your convenience.

“Historically, South Trinidad has had only a handful of gyms, and we wanted to give more options in the area for people to lead a healthy lifestyle,” explains Nyal Khan, who is part of the management team of real estate development company Edan K Properties Ltd., the parent company of Raw Fitness, Gasparillo Mall and the Express Grill Restaurant in Marabella.

“From ensuring there is ample parking, to having the facility operational around the clock, to its location right next to a mall, clients can easily fit fitness into their daily routines.”

The Business of Gym

Nyal Khan, owner of Raw Fitness

Nyal Khan, owner of Raw Fitness

Raw Fitness began as a business opportunity as the Gasparillo Mall project was winding to a close.

“We had an opportunity to acquire the building next door to the mall, and thought a gym would complement the mall, giving the people a service as well as the products they come to buy,” explains Nyal.

“Nowadays, quite a few malls have gyms on the compound, and it is a good business model that brings something positive to a community; in our case, it also helped to expand our brand of healthy living.”

After toying with the idea for awhile, the project was green-lit in February 2015, and renovation of the building began.

Its name, Raw Fitness, emerged as a happy accident later in April, when the lion on the Sri Lankan flag spurred his girlfriend to suggest ‘Roar’, and Nyal mistook it for ‘Raw’.

“It suits the look and feel we were going for, a kind of bare-bones, industrial, minimalist, let’s-get-to-business attitude,” explains Nyal.

“From that point, we began marketing the new gym in quite a cheap, simple way: through flyers via TTPost in the South communities.”

Amenities of Raw Fitness


State of the art cardio equipment

By the time the gym opened its doors on June 27th, the community was pumped for its arrival and the response was overwhelming.

“We knew there would be a fairly large clientele including staff from Petrotrin (Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago) and Gasparillo residents, but as we were new to the business we didn’t really know what to expect at first, and were a little overwhelmed by its initial success,” says Nyal.

raw4To date, over 3000 persons are registered on the client system, and the gym averages around 800 monthly members, with many drop-in clients as well.

As the owners of the property, some of gym’s amenities came naturally: the mall has 24 hour security, which bodes nicely for the gym’s 24/7 availability; and the compound has 150 parking spaces — which fits in well with the peak hours of the gym, as the gym’s busiest hours occur right around the mall’s closing times.

“As we were competing with a couple of other gyms in the general vicinity, we knew we had to do some things better,” he adds. “We also bought brand new equipment, and laboured over the schedule to ensure it was tailored to the clientele.”

At Raw Fitness

Supervisor Kenny Lindsay behind the smoothie bar

Gym supervisor Kenny Lindsay at the smoothie bar

At present, the gym rates at Raw Fitness are TT$300 for the Gold Package, which allows access to the gym equipment only, and TT$350 for the Diamond Package, which allows access to gym equipment as well as all the classes. There are also special packages for Petrotrin staff, and student packages.

The classes offered include:

  • Spinn
  • Zumba
  • Aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Abs
  • Raw Pump
  • Outdoor Boot Camp/Cross Fit

Nyal notes that, amidst the planning phase, they did not visit other gyms for inspiration; while it may have been a hindrance to ‘build from scratch’, at the same time this allowed the team to emerge with fresh ideas rather than copy an existing model.

“At the end of the day, we want to give customers what they want, and learning from our customers is very important to us,” he says. “Our staff also has a big part to play in implementing different ideas, and everyone can suggest something new.”

Also, a suggestion box sits atop the gym’s smoothie bar, welcoming inspiration from its members.

In looking to the future, expansion plans and innovative ideas may be in the cards.

“We are already looking beyond the gym, and developing ideas to attract people who might not really go to a gym,” adds Nyal. “Fitness and health should not be out of reach to anyone, and we intend to be the premier facility in the area that truly promotes and facilitates a healthy lifestyle.”

Time alone will reveal the gym’s future in the community, but the outlook already looks bright for Raw Fitness.

“We honestly didn’t expect the gym to do so well, but it is heartening to see the response from the community,” Nyal says. “It seems that this is exactly what they wanted and needed, and we are happy to be giving it to them.”

For more information, you can contact Raw Fitness Gym at 1 (868) 225-8817 or visit their Facebook page.