Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Gaining Momentum: Tracey Wakeen shares her passion for fitness.

Tracey Wakeen

Tracey Wakeen says that everything she does revolves around her mission statement, written in marker at the top of her office’s dry erase board: “Unlocking true potential by strengthening all women in body, mind and spirit.”

And it doesn’t end there.

“I try to let our core values guide me too—dignity, compassion and fun,” she said. “Oh, but I need to add ‘grace’ to that list.”

The 51-year-old entrepreneur is co-owner, with her husband Jeffrey, of Mechanicsburg’s Momentum Female Health and Fitness Club, which employs 50 women (four full-time), offers more than 80 weekly fitness classes and has nearly 1,200 women as members.

“I describe it as a community of women of all ages,” Wakeen said. “It’s a place of well-being and friendship. And it’s a safe environment where women can feel comfortable and accepted. We have a talented, well-educated staff—most of us have at least 10 years of experience.”

That includes Wakeen, who became a fitness instructor and personal trainer in 2008. She worked under Momentum’s previous two owners before becoming co-owner in 2014.

“I felt like, if I could become certified, if I could do that, what could other women do?” she said. “I feel like this business is a way for me to share my passion [for fitness].”

Momentum offers about 20 different types of classes, many of them developed and trademarked by former Olympian Les Mills. They range broadly from flexibility and strength routines to cardio, Pilates and yoga. Many blend different styles and forms.

“Les Mills’ programs do a really good job at staying up with the trends,” Wakeen said. “They recognize that HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is trending for example, so they developed a HIIT program called GRIT. I also love that it’s an international program, so that people all over the world, from London to Australia, the French and Japanese. We’re all doing the same programs.”

The largest of Momentum’s three main studios features neon lights that spell out the phrase, “The motivation to move you,” and, below that, the words, “Body, Mind, Spirit.” Large television screens rotate between studio announcements and motivational phrases programmed by Denise Chappell, Momentum’s marketing director.

“People really do read them, and I like to make them feel inspired,” said Chappell. “My favorite one is: ‘You can throw in the towel—use it to wipe the sweat off your face.’”

Chappell has been coming to Momentum for more than seven years—first as a member, now as an instructor who also handles the marketing role. She regularly starts her workdays at 5:30 a.m.—the first time slot in Momentum’s class schedule.

“I feel like, if you can come in and do classes at 5:30 in the morning, you can do anything during the rest of your day,” Chappell said.

Momentum’s fitness schedule also accommodates women seeking mid-morning and afternoon/evening classes. Nutrition services from a registered dietician on staff are available, as are customized personal training services.

Up the Ladder
Helena Train, 68, of Mechanicsburg, is recovering from surgery to repair her meniscus. Fitness Director Carol Bruce leads her through a series of Pilates exercises designed for knee stabilization.

“I’m a nurse, but Carol knows more about the body and different muscle groups,” Train said.

Train said that she became a member three years ago and lost 30 pounds as a result.

“It’s motivated my entire family to get fit,” she said. “There is camaraderie here—women supporting women 100 percent, from 20-something women to 60-something women.”

Bruce has worked at Momentum a total of 15 years.

“The growth of the people we work with is the best part of the job,” she said. “We’re building confidence, and they’re seeing a progression in themselves, physically and mentally.”

She also speaks highly of Wakeen.

“I never feel like I’m working for Tracey; I’m working alongside her,” she said. “She has confidence in her team, she has expectations for her business and she wants you to come along. It’s a team, and these women help each other go up the ladder.”

Wakeen has additional goals in mind for Momentum’s future—she says it’s her dream to reach the overweight population to combat obesity and help those with diabetes.

Her advice to fellow female entrepreneurs?

“Listen to the people around you—that’s why you hired them—and listen to your members.”

Momentum Female Health & Fitness Club is located at 5103 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg. For more information, visit or call 717-737-6362.

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