I don’t think most people have the same relationship with their gym as I have had for the past three years. It was truly one of the highlights of being in New York City. Yeah, that probably sounds weird. New York Health and Racquet Club (at least the Cooper Square location near me, don’t know about the others) is a very different sort of gym.
While everyone else I know in New York joined New York Sports Club or Crunch, I wanted something nicer. At the end of the day, NYHRC was MUCH CHEAPER than the other gyms, and a better experience. It pays to shop around. I’m guessing most people don’t even walk into this gym, thinking it’s too fancy for them. But since I joined, Gary joined though his company discount, and then Kate, Joe, and Tim joined.
There are some great things about NYHRC. I got a great deal signing up. They own a yacht which you can go out on in the summers (booze cruise!), I got unlimited shakes at the juice bar, and it was literally across the street from me so even on the coldest winter days, I could run there and be inside in 30 seconds.
But the biggest difference was the people. Most gyms hire high school students to swipe your card and other employees who don’t want to be there. No one sticks around long. You never see the same person for more than a few weeks. Not here. Everyone at the gym was super nice, and I became friends with many of them. I would walk from my apartment to the subway, and more often than not I would at least say high to someone walking in or out of the gym, sometimes resulting in a long conversation.
While most people dread going to the gym, I loved it. I felt incredibly comfortable there. When you’re going somewhere people know your name and you are comfortable, you will go more. And that’s very important when talking about gyms.
And then there’s Ron (above). “Ronny Love.” My personal trainer. I trained with him off and on for 2 years. It was one of the best things I did in New York. It changed everything I know about health and fitness. It made me stronger and healthier than I have ever been before. I’ll say it really changed who I am. At first I trained to learn how to lift weights. Then I continued to get more comfortable, stronger, have a spotter. But by the end I didn’t need Ron. By the end I did it because Ron is awesome, and I really enjoyed the time we trained together. It was like serious “bro time” at the gym.
The amazing thing about Ron is you might see him and think he’s a gym meathead. The guy is totally ripped. But he’s also one of the smartest people I met in New York, an amazing people person. He trains more people at NYHRC than anyone else (and makes boatloads of money doing it). He remembers everyone’s schedule in his head. Not just when he’s training each person, but when you’ll be busy, when you’ll be on vacation, what body part you trained last time and what you are doing next time. Amazing. I can’t even track my own gym routine, and he does it for 50+ people. I kept telling him to get an iPhone for calendar and SMS, and he would always laugh at me. He didn’t need it.
When I joined NYHRC 3 years ago, it had only been open a few months. It was nearly brand new. Over time people have come and gone, but they have consistently been an incredible group and it’s been a great experience going there. If you live around the Cooper Square NYHRC, you should go and check it out. Why would someone write a whole blog post about a gym? Because it really is that great.