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Fitness Clubs: Providing Strength, in Sandy’s Aftermath

My most recent article was about Mantras, and The Power of Positive Thinking, which posted  in the midst of Hurricane Sandy. Ironically, our mantras were really put to the test here in the Northeast. On the bright side, there’s been a shift in collective awareness through the wake of Sandy’s wrath. People are bonding into stronger communities, and in many cases, gyms have become  a refuge, shelter and home-away-from-home, for those who’ve been devastated by the natural disaster.

In NY, NJ, and CT, gyms and fitness studios have been actively helping their communities like never before. According to Renee Pesante, willPower & grace® Teacher Trainer and Group Fitness Manager at Equinox, Summit, NJ , “In true Equinox fashion, we’ve provided our members and community a comforting and familiar place to work out, socialize, and take a much appreciated hot shower.  Members and their entire families were camped out all over the club even after their work outs, showering, charging electronics and just connecting with other people. It wasn’t unusual for me to be stopped, thanked and hugged by members who were beyond appreciative of the safe haven in the aftermath of Sandy’s destruction. I’m so proud to be a part of this.”

This weekend, nearly 60 Equinox locations worldwide, will participate in “Show Your Strength Saturday”; a benefit for Sandy victims, in which 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.  Equinox is  also selling limited “Strength” t-shirts (shown above) to benefit relief efforts.

Plenty of smaller studios are stepping up, as well. For example, VIRAYOGA, NYC is offering a full one-day fundraiser called: OM: to Heal Our Home, on November 15, in which all proceeds will benefit relief effort.  In NJ, Abigail Soto, willPower & grace® instructor and owner of Dancetuary LLC. in Rutherford, (who lives in Hoboken; a town which was devestated by Sandy) offered free classes in exchange for non-persihable food items.  BeEvolution Hot Yoga in Montclair, NJ has become a drop-off location for clothes, blankets and other needed items. Jagadisha Peter Petrovic, the owner of this studio has also offered his space to the public for hot showers.  Hala Ghanem, owner of Boone Studio in Montclair is offering similar services. Mark Cohen, owner of 3Sixty Cycling & Fitness Studio in Montclair, NJ, donated all proceeds from every class on Thursday, November 8th to the American Red Cross for Sandy victims.  I was to be a part of that effort this week: my Cycle Flow Yoga class took on a whole new meaning for me, knowing that it would be serving more than caloric burn.

Sandy’s wrath upon the once beautiful Ortley Beach, NJ

Giving back and serving my community  is just one reason that I love my career in fitness, and am glad I made the change from magazine publishing ten years ago.  I’m proud to be part of something much bigger than just earning a salary.

Even in “good times”, gyms have become an important meeting place, retreat, and sanctuary that people need to be strong, healthy and whole. So to all you gym owners, instructors & trainers out there, especially in the Northeast, keep on changing lives and we will recover and rebuild together.