Head to the Shed: One of the toughest workout businesses in the industry opens in Oxford

Inside Shed’s spacious gym. Photo By Jane Anne Darken.

Jane Anne Darken
Oxford Stories

S marks the spot.

Shed Fitness will open its doors Saturday, Oct. 13, to the Oxford community. Although its focus is about getting stronger and leaner at a high pace, the owners also want to grow a fitness community.

Amzie Williams founded Shed in 2014. The former Ole Miss linebacker said he felt like no one offered a workout that focused on specific muscle groups daily. He wanted a workout that offered something different, but still maintained athletic-based movement in a safe way.

Williams said he “got a group of people together and took an educated guess on how much it would be to start with all of the equipment.” Shed has taken off since its first location in Nashville. Williams was encouraged to open Shed in Oxford because he “went to Ole Miss, always loved it, and it’s a great opportunity because there are so many people in Oxford that can help grow a fitness community here.”

When finding the right equipment for Shed, Williams knew he wanted a specific type of treadmill called Woodway Treadmills. These differ from traditional treadmills because they are a self-propelled machine, meaning you have to use your motion to keep it moving.

Williams said the classes are 40 percent cardio, 40 percent strength, and 20 percent anaerobic strength. The anaerobic power is what separates Shed from other workout classes that generally push your aerobic heart rate. He describes anaerobic strength as “what you can push through at your threshold. When you’re struggling, we try to push you and see how much you can get done.”

Shed’s Oxford Director Britt McLaughlin said the workouts are no more than 50 minutes. Each class begins with a quick warm up, then your work time is from 35-40 minutes. “It’s hard work, but the stations are short,” she said. “One day, there could be six stations for six minutes. The next could be seven stations for five minutes.”

McLaughlin said every day is something different at Shed, and no workout is repeated. “But we’re not re-inventing the wheel,” McLaughlin said. “A bicep curl is a bicep curl, but the way you’re working that muscle can be different.”

Mondays are upper body days focused on muscles from the waist up, fatiguing the muscles through cardio and more upper body emphasis. Tuesdays are legs and lower body.

Wednesdays are arms and abs, which are different than Monday’s upper body, because it is more dynamic and focuses more on minor muscle groups, McLaughlin said. She said on Wednesdays, you’d be doing bicep curls, hammer rows, shoulder shrugs, Arnold press, triceps, basically every different way you can move your arm.

Thursday’s are called “Shredders,” which is a high cardio, full body workout. McLaughlin said it’s different than a regular Shed. The trainer runs a warm-up and goes through each station – which is timed in two, 17-minute stations. Williams said Shredders are his favorites because they push you and force you to test your skills.

“You go at your own pace, but when the time’s up for that station, you switch,” McLaughlin said. “This allows you to get your maximum work in.”

She said one partner is doing something for half of the 17 minutes, while the other partner is doing something different. Then you switch to do something completely different. For example, one partner would be running a ¼ mile while the other partner is doing 25 tricep dips on the bench.

McLaughlin said Shed is for anyone, not just athletes. You can go at your own pace and weight. “We practice great form,” Williams joked. “We won’t let you do a quick squat. We try to use a good range of motion and keep you safe and make it hard.”

Shed’s located in prime real estate in South Lamar Court, McLaughlin said. “You can get there from Taylor, Lamar, or Highway 7,” she said, adding that Shed is focused and committed to catering to the student demographic in Oxford because it is such a big part of the community.

“Classes that are best attended are mid-morning and afternoon . . . because students don’t want to get up early, then have class, and after class may want to take a nap or have another class, but they can work out at 4:30 p.m. and still have time to shower, and go to chapter, or go out,” McLaughlin said. “That was part of it – structuring class times in a way that is beneficial to Oxford.”

Williams won’t deny that its intense fitness, but the best part about it is you’re with friends every day.

“What I wanted and missed out with when I was done playing football is seeing your friends every day,” he said, “and the gym is a great way to see your friends.”

Shed’s first class is free. You can sign up online through the Shed Group Fitness app.

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