A crowd gathers Wednesday in Hilltop Plaza to hear an announcement about two new Defined Fitness locations in Rio Rancho. Photo by Gary Herron.

There hadn’t been a “blue light special” in Hilltop Plaza since December 2014, but last Wednesday was a red-letter day for Defined Fitness.

That’s when gym representatives made the official announcement: the one-time K-Mart site at 1640 NM 528, which closed its doors in late 2014, will be remodeled and Defined Fitness will move its Ridgerock Road operation there sometime in the first quarter of 2020.

But, wait – there’s more: The long-rumored Defined Fitness site in Enchanted Hills will become a reality, opening in February 2020 at 4400 Jager Drive, according to the company.

“It’s good to finally get this space occupied again – it’s been an eyesore,” said Jerry Schalow, Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.

“We know you needed more in your fitness needs,” Defined Fitness’s director of marketing, Maria Lamar, told the gathering. “We had a vision.”

The current site, on the west side of NM 528 and a bit north of High Resort Blvd., has served city residents for more than 20 years. Defined Fitness itself began in 1988 as a gym serving families of an Albuquerque preschool, and the company’s five current locations in the metro area total more than 179,000 square feet.

Each of the “new” Rio Rancho locations will boast about 40,000 square feet, with outdoor space for mixed-martial arts, boxing and power lifting, Lamar noted. The Hilltop Plaza’s outdoor area will be the largest of any Defined Fitness location.

When Lamar introduced two shareholders, Larry Lujan and Paul Blanchard, Blanchard was quick to shout, “We’re New Mexicans.”

The new Defined Fitness locations will feature the newest trends in fitness, including HydroMassage beds with dedicated recovery rooms, indoor and outdoor areas for functional training and new aesthetic layout to “elevate the overall member experience and feature the best in health club design,” a press release noted.

A floor plan for the Jager location on the company website shows a pool. The website didn’t have a floor plan for the Hilltop location.

“(This) is a great redevelopment project,” Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull said, telling Defined Fitness officials he appreciated their investment. “They have really met the needs for fitness in Rio Rancho (and will have) 200 employees.”

Rio Rancho City Councilor Bob Tyler, a Defined Fitness member for 20 years, said, “This is an awesome opportunity for Rio Rancho. … As the mayor said, it’s a great partnership.”

Hilltop Plaza already has a small handful of fitness centers: The UFC Gym is literally next door to the old K-Mart, and further south on the sidewalk, adjacent to Big Lots, is Elite Physique; across the parking lot is a karate studio.

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