Dr. Kenneth Cooper said he has been changing the U.S. fitness landscape since the 1970s, and McKinney residents have been reaping the benefits for the past 10 years through the Cooper Fitness Center, a 76,000-square-foot fitness facility located on a 51-acre complex in Craig Ranch.
Approached by longtime friend David Craig about 10 years ago, Cooper said he was interested in partnering with the Craig Ranch development to establish a concept called Cooper Life, something he described as an experimental medical community.
With the decline in the housing market during the 2008 recession, Cooper had to abandon the project. However, since then things have started happening at the Craig Ranch fitness facility, which survived the economic downturn.
“Since the fitness center is truly one of the most beautiful in America, we knew we wanted to keep it alive,” Cooper said. “We hired a general manager, Roger Sargent, to focus on the fitness center to make it thrive.”
Cooper Fitness Center, which offers a variety of memberships, averages about 2,800 members in the center each week. One of the main draws for McKinney residents, Cooper said, is the center’s well-equipped, up-to-date amenities.
“The nutritional programs are phenomenal,” Cooper said. “In addition, the Craig Ranch site really excels with programs offered to the community. It’s very amenity-oriented, which is a big draw for anyone buying homes in the area.”
The facility features a children’s climbing wall, and the 50-meter, Olympic-size swimming pool is available to members year-round.
Other features of the Cooper Fitness Center include full-court basketball, an indoor running track, and an award-winning spa and massage therapy area.
“One unique thing about the Craig Ranch fitness center that has become a tradition is that when the moon is full, they offer a yoga class at the Millie Cooper Park, which also has a 1/2-mile track,” Cooper said.
The fitness center embraces Cooper’s concepts, which he has developed during the past 46 years.
“I developed the Cooper aerobic concept in 1970 because I saw the benefits of exercise,” Cooper said. “I made theoretical assumptions but didn’t have the data. I wanted [the Cooper aerobic concept] based on data, not faddism. Now we have a 120,000-patient database.”
Cooper said people were scared to exercise over the age of 40 because they thought it was bad for them.
“Now I have a 98-year-old patient who is breaking world running records for people over 90,” he said.
Cooper said he is not finished researching and wants to bridge the gap between trendy exercise fads and legitimate fitness programs based on scientific research.
“Although I’ve been doing it for 46 years, it’s ongoing and never stops,” he said. “I still study every day because I have an intense desire to learn.”
He is primarily based at his Dallas clinic, but Cooper makes routine visits to the McKinney site.
“You’ll find me in McKinney on Saturdays on the treadmill overlooking the swimming pool,” he said. “It has an outstanding ambiance.”
7910 Collin McKinney Parkway, McKinney
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sat. 5:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.