At CAZ Training Club, exercise is all about giving back to the community.
By Justine Amodeo
On the back wall of CAZ Training Club, which opened an experiential fitness facility on the corner of Dover and PCH in November of 2019, there is a sign that reads: “The more we sweat the more we give.” Each month, the club sets a collective calorie burning goal for the studio, then partners with a charity focused on health and gives back a portion of its monthly revenue. Calling it “showing up for a CAZ,” members are pushed to burn more calories during classes, as they are sweating for something greater than themselves. Workouts are currently taking place outdoors on the roof.
The brainchild of three college business majors, Connor Burris, Anthony Puterman and Zac Walker, CAZ evolved as a result of wanting a workout experience that had the capability of impacting the health of others. After attending college together, Walker, Burris and Puterman went their separate ways, working in corporate finance, banking and for the founder of Kinko’s in Santa Barbara. But the three were all passionate about fitness and decided that together, they wanted to start a business within the fitness industry. CAZ is an acronym for their first names.
Alarmed by exploding obesity rates and related health care costs, donating to health-focused charities while giving people a place to impact their own wellness seemed to be the logical solution. “We decided if we could get people moving and create a platform that gives back to charities focused on health, we could create a dent in that problem,” says Walker, who spoke to Newport Beach Magazine about the purpose-driven workout experience.
How did COVID-19 affect the indoor studio environment at CAZ?
Zac Walker: Our studio was designed to make you feel you’re in a nightclub: colorful lights in the dark, loud hip-hop music targeted at millennials. We wanted to design a fitness experience, somewhere that is fun where you want to be. We took all the hard parts out and created a community that gives people a purpose, instead of just taking a 45-minute class. Due to the pandemic, we moved to our rooftop in July. We thought it was going to be temporary, but are waiting for the green light from the governor to move back inside. So, we just keep building our community outside.
Why did you choose a nightclublike environment for the gym?
We really want people to have fun here. The nightclub-inspired environment offered a full-body workout as members moved from station to station for a mix of cardio and strength training in three different classes, Blast, Build and Burn. We are all about getting people together and we are lucky to have customers who have all become friends. It’s become a community and we want people to feel included and find their community here. And we want to see the world get healthier. Our goal eventually is to really help people impact their health but also to help people realize how big of a problem this is. We want people to view their workout with us as something they want to do rather than something they have to do. We really want to see people get healthier, and that’s what drives us.
How do you decide which charity you’re giving to each month?
Every month we pick a different charity and they are all health-focused, all about improving mental and physical health, such as MaxLove Project, which helps children with cancer, or Audacious Foundation, which funds active, nonacademic programs at high-need schools. At the beginning of each month, we set a collective calorie-burning goal and once members hit that goal, we give back a portion of revenue to that charity.