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At Oakhurst’s newest gym, fitness is about intense classes with a focus on fun

Matt Hamlett, owner of new Oakhurst gym Yosemite Urban Box Fitness, with his daughter Emma, 7. Hamlett said his gym, which focuses on high-intensity, interval body training classes is open to all, young and old. The computer behind him allows members to easily input and track their progress to further meet their fitness goals.
Matt Hamlett, owner of new Oakhurst gym Yosemite Urban Box Fitness, with his daughter Emma, 7. Hamlett said his gym, which focuses on high-intensity, interval body training classes is open to all, young and old. The computer behind him allows members to easily input and track their progress to further meet their fitness goals. Sierra Star

Yosemite Urban Box Fitness, the newest gym in Oakhurst, is more than a typical fitness center.

It’s an experience.

From the moment you walk through its doors on 40843 Highway 41, to the moment you finish your first free class, you will feel a mixture of inspiration and exhaustion, likely to the point where you’ll need at least a day or two to recover.

But that’s the point, said owner Matt Hamlett, a veteran of the U.S. Navy twice deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. With daily classes focused on high-intensity, interval body training, Hamlett said Yosemite Fitness is meant to take you past your limits and find new ones, all while regular members cheer you on.

“To put it in simple terms, this is a place where you’re going to do a little bit of everything to become more balanced, well rounded, and in really good health,” Hamlett said. “It’s not going to be easy, but anyone can do it, and it’s going to make you feel great.”

Yosemite Fitness is built all around classes, which last around 30 minutes to an hour, with Hamlett or another trainer leading the charge. Classes are styled similarly to CrossFit, a kind of competitive athletic regimen that focuses on exercises like tractor tire lifts, kettlebell swings, box jumps, overhead lunges, and use of the gym’s built-in climbing rope or Olympic-style rings.

After warmups and simple stretches, a timer counts down above a large screen where members input and track their results from each class into a modern fitness system called Wodify, which Hamlett said helps further their desire for personal growth.

Once that timer buzzes, a mix of up tempo, family friendly music beings to play, and the jokes among members during warmups quickly shift into gazes of intensity.

Maggie McBride, a regular member, said that energy, as well as how classes switch between muscle groups for optimized growth patterns, makes everything an enjoyable experience.

“It’s awesome here,” McBride said. “The energy is high, it’s a lot of fun, and it’s helpful because some people are stronger in some things you might not be, so they can help you, and vice versa. You really feel great. And another important thing for me is how men and women can compete together, equally.”

It’s evident the idea of Yosemite Fitness is to rely on others to push you forward. As one member struggles, another who has finished their set quickly cheers them on, pushing them to take each step, leading to roars of exertion as they find their second wind.

“This place is meant to be a fun, functional, community experience focused on fitness,” Hamlett said. “Everybody here kind of pushes each other, so it’s not really an individual thing, though there are individual goals like personal records that you want to meet. But we want to keep things focused on working as a team, to motivate each other, to make each other work hard, and really meet those goals.”

Hamlett has high ambitions. One day, with enough success he’d like to add an outdoor rock climbing wall - “I’m surprised there isn’t one up here already,” he said - and an “American Ninja” style obstacle course for those with more adventurous spirits.

The building, which over the years has housed everything from a gas station to a used car lot, is a work in progress, Hamlett said, with improvements made nearly every day. He’s working to add murals and other artwork on the walls alongside additional weights and other workout equipment.

Classes are scheduled at Yosemite Urban Box Fitness Monday through Saturday, around 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. most days.

Everyone’s first class is free, Hamlett said, and prices vary. For beginners, the initial charge is $125 for an “on-ramp” class, which includes a one-on-one training session with a trainer, five classes, and a month of unlimited classes at the gym.

From there, it’s $75 a month for unlimited classes, $40 a month for unlimited classes for those up to age 19, three classes a week for $50, and $15 for drop-ins, or people who are experienced in high-intensity workouts possibly visiting the area on holiday.

Family discounts are 30% off any class price, and 20% discounts are available for all members of the military as well as first responders such as law enforcement or firefighters.

Details: (209) 628-0437.

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