JANUARY 2021 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 43
NEW YEAR’S GYM RUSH
STAYING FIT AND SAFE
BY BRIANA BONFIGLIO
Gyms and fitness centers are typically
hot spots at the start of the new year,
with many Long Islanders setting out
to fulfill resolutions to be healthier.
But in an atypical year, when social
distancing and masks are essential
to public health, will local gyms still
have that new year’s rush this January?
They hope so — and they’re ready for it.
“At this point, almost a year into the
Covid-19 pandemic, we have all our
bases covered,” says Christina Boccio,
who is a trainer at and owns Beach Fit
Training in Oceanside with her husband,
Mike Boccio. “We’ve been clean
before ‘clean’ was a thing, so a lot of our
members feel very comfortable.”
Gyms on Long Island began reopening
at 33 percent capacity at the end of
August. In the past four months, Boccio
says her fitness studio has slowly
gained its members back, and then
some, once people saw all the precautions
the gym was taking.
Beach Fit, which specializes in total
body resistance training (TRX), has
spaced out its schedule, allowing staff
members time to thoroughly disinfect
and clean the facility between
workout sessions. All are required to
wear masks and social distance, as is
required at every gym across the state.
The owners also added an outdoor tent
for workouts in person, which they
also livestream for members to follow
along with from home, and they rented
out equipment to them, so more people
can participate than ever before.
“The business actually has done
slightly better than we were doing
last year when it comes to our member
base,” Boccio says, “which I attribute to
our outdoor sessions.”
To prepare for 2021, Boccio has been
posting social media videos of members
working out and speaking about
going to the gym post shutdown.
“Doing those helps people see what it’s
going to be like,” she says.
Meanwhile, the Sid Jacobson Jewish
Community Center in Greenvale, a
much larger facility offering a variety
of fitness activities, is still seeing lower
With the new year upon us, gyms are ensuring that patrons can safely fulfill resolutions to be fit and active.
membership than usual, despite members
gradually returning, says Audrey
Kurland, the SJJCC’s health + wellness
and membership director. She’s hoping
to see that change in the new year.
“January is traditionally a busy time,”
she says. “Last year I even saw an uptick
in December — people didn’t want
The SJJCC takes all proper precautions
and tries to educate the community
about the benefits of returning to
the gym, which has an indoor track,
swimming pool, basketball courts, and
Kurland says it’s been difficult, though,
to get as many members as possible involved
in their favorite activities. Right
now, they need to reserve a time slot for
any room or equipment they use, and
there is limited space.
“We want everyone back, ” she says.
“We count a lot on word of mouth — our
members are our best ambassadors.
That’s how we keep our doors open.”
Several Long Islanders in a Facebook
group for Nassau and Suffolk moms
reported feeling comfortable at their
local gyms and attributed their gym
visits to keeping them sane and healthy
in these stressful times.
“Of course we wear masks, although
it is not easy to breathe with them at
times” says G. Murray, who frequents
Better Body Bootcamp in New Hyde
Park, “but the alternative, which is
not going at all, is not an option for
me. I feel that exercise builds up your
immune system so I feel I have to go.”
There are also virtual gyms popping
up. Bethann Bark Wolfe, a communications
professor at Nassau and Suffolk
community colleges, specializes in
interpersonal relationships. She owns
My Place Pilates, which offers virtual
Pilates classes on Zoom.
“This is a really hard time for everybody
socially,” she says. “Exercising in
real time makes them feel like they’re
doing something with a group. When
you’re looking into each other’s houses
and you see their plants, their pets, or
kids, you feel like you’re spending time
with people in their homes and that is
very comforting to most people.”
We’ve been clean before ‘clean’ was a thing, so a
lot of our members feel very comfortable,”
says Christina Boccio.