Starting FIRE

(First published in the August 2, 2018 issue of City Pages)

FIRE Fitness Camp Weston is built around the concept of short, intense workouts


Coach and co-owner Sheldon Wendler leads short, intense workouts at FIRE Fitness Camp Weston.

Sheldon Wendler has a motivational enthusiasm that’s hard to resist— that’s apparent just watching one of his intense fitness classes. It’s with that enthusiasm that he, along with his wife, Morgan, started FIRE Fitness Camp Weston in June.

“We get one body. It’s our home,” says Sheldon Wendler. “Let’s take care of it. If you don’t… it’s going to fall apart.”

FIRE is an acronym for functional, intensive, resistance, exercise. The 30 minute workouts can be described as an intense boot camp group class with the goal of torching calories and building muscle. A monitor perched high on the gym wall shows members’ burn rates and caloric output via a chest strap. The data is a real-time reminder to keep your heart rate in a specific range.

The camp consists of a short warm-up followed by the workout and then a last chance “burn” to get the heart rate up, says Wendler. “Depending on the day, I burn around 500 to 600 calories in 30 minutes,” says Wendler. “Morgan burns anywhere between the 300 to 500 calorie range. The workouts are designed to spike your metabolism.”

FIRE Fitness started in Plover in 2014 by Hans Hartleben with the concept of getting a maximum workout in a short period of time. FIRE then spread to other cities in Wisconsin and one facility in Minnesota. The Wendlers, both Wausau East graduates, trained as health coaches in Appleton and after trying FIRE, decided to become an affiliate to bring this concept back to their hometown. “I love changing people’s lives and being a positive role model for 30 minutes of their day,” Wendler says.

FIRE is in the building once occupied by Burn Fitness Studio and then Limitless Bootcamp, at 5705 Memorial Court in Weston. The site had been vacant for about a year when they found it, Wendler says, and its prior use as a fitness facility was a huge plus. “It’s already set up,” he says. “It didn’t need any build-up.”

On weekdays, FIRE Fitness Camp Weston offers six different 30 minute workout time slots, and two morning classes on Saturdays. “No two workouts are ever the same and we focus on different body parts throughout the week,” says Wendler. The workouts incorporate weights, body weight training and high intensity interval training.

Classes never have more than 20 people, he says. “It is important that we have smaller class sizes or we lose the personal aspect of it,” he says. “With 50 people, for instance, it would be too hard to run around and make sure everyone is lifting with correct form or pushing themselves the whole time… We work on cranking up the intensity.”

Any level of fitness and age (15 and up) can attend. Amber Kempf of Rothschild has been attending FIRE for just over a week and likes the element of change that FIRE offers. “Every day is something different and you are working different muscles each day. It’s only 30 minutes but it’s a hard workout in 30 minutes which I love,” says Kempf.

Clients can opt for a free 30 day trial before deciding to join, says Wendler. In the beginning of the trial, they will have before photos taken along with weight, body fat and measurements to be tracked down the road. “Weight is not all that matters,” he says. “We monitor muscles and how you look in the mirror and if you feel comfortable.”

Visit or call 715-298-2969.