Sharon Gentry is dedicated to spreading the wealth of health to Federal Way.
The Mirror is recognizing Gentry, the owner of Curves Federal Way, as April’s Citizen of the Month.
“My vision for having this club is helping women be stronger mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually so that they can help their families, their community, and the world,” she said.
Through her Curves franchise and her countless volunteer efforts in the community, Gentry said health goes beyond fitness.
“I really believe that health is more than just physical,” Gentry said, who has lived in Federal Way for nearly 32 years. “There’s a health in generosity, and giving and thinking of others.”
Last month, Gentry hosted a food drive at her Curves location in Twin Lakes Village to collect donations for the Federal Way Senior Center food bank.
“She has a heart of gold and is often seen out supporting community events,” said Shelley Pauls, who nominated Gentry as Citizen of the Month. “She donates for raffles, she promotes and supports everyone. She is also passionate about assisting her clients at Curves, helping them be healthy and strong, and cheering them on as they reach their goals.”
In collaboration with World Vision next month, Gentry will be collecting donations for hygiene kits to be given to local women experiencing homelessness, trafficking, or recovering from domestic violence situations.
Through donations and an enrollment fee special, Gentry said she hopes to raise enough funds for 50 kits at $18 a piece.
Curves’s overarching idea is giving back, she said, which gives franchise owners the option to engage with causes of their own choosing. Gentry said she’s lucky to be in an area where so many do-good organizations reside, such as Young Life, FWCAT, World Vision and many more.
Curves Federal Way also has a team participating in the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking Break the Chains of Human Trafficking 5K run/walk.
Whether locally or internationally, Gentry said she loves giving back when she can.
Nearly four years ago, Gentry took over the Curves Federal Way franchise, which is the only location in the city.
“I realized how much I needed it and how much other women needed it,” she said.
Women want to take care of everyone else and they’re not good at taking care of themselves, she said. But she hopes to spark a change in this idea, one Curves circuit at a time.
Knowing she gets to help women improve the quality of their lives, and hearing their personal victories, is what motivates her to reach out to more women in the community.
Gentry does everything at Curves from the scrubbing and cleaning to marketing and finances to ensure each client receive the highest quality experience possible while earning results, she said.
Four years ago at age 45, Gentry’s doctor called and asked which pharmacy she’d like to pick up her high cholesterol medicine from.
“That was a shock,” she said. “I felt like that was too young to be on medication for the rest of my life. I didn’t like that idea.”
Gentry researched and found some studies that showed exercise and diet could possible reverse her high cholesterol. Along this same time, a good friend invited Gentry to come visit and workout at the local Curves. Three separate times, Gentry said no — until the day she decided to say yes.
The 30 minute, high intensity interval styled circuit workouts focus on strength training and over the next year, she finally found a place of progress, both physically, mentally and emotionally, she said.
It worked for Gentry, so she’s passing along the goodness to others.
Today, Gentry coaches nearly 300 clients at Curves offering encouraging words and form corrections as women power through their circuit training.
“I don’t know if I ever see a woman walk out with the same level of stress or grumble as when she walked in,” she said. “And that’s in just thirty minutes.”
Her diverse pool of clients range from ages 15 to 93 years old and all sorts of backgrounds. In this safe space, she said, all women can find common ground in taking time for themselves.
One of her clients, a cancer survivor, was able to get off of all her medications and live a healthy life, she said.
“It’s women like that that you think ‘I want to be like them.’”
Last month’s Curves fitness challenge comprised 16 participants and combined, the women lost nearly 70 pounds. Being healthy and living a healthy life is a gift to everyone you care for, Gentry said. It’s the one and only body you’re given so it must be taken care of.
“I really think Sharon does a great job keeping people motivated,” said Evelyn Castellar, a Curves member.
“Sharon takes time to go to each one of us to make sure we’re all doing great,” said Tammy Bladow, another Curves client. “She made me feel welcome. I like the fact that for someone my age and for what I wanted to come here for, she made it clear to me that I’d be comfortable. There’s no discrimination here.”
Bladow added when you walk into Curves, regardless of what kind of day you’ve had, you’re going to leave in a good mood because of Gentry’s ever-present smile and positive energy.