Steve Cusack had a vision for a different kind of gym – which he's opened in the very same commercial space once occupied by On the Go Fitness, which closed a few months ago.
The result is Long Island Strength and Conditioning, a new fitness center that focuses on personalizing each workout for each individual. Cusack said he believes that philosophy will help his gym succeed in the same spot where another recently failed.
"They had people coming here and it was always closed," Cusack says of the former occupant. "You can’t run a business as a sideline. We’re always here."
Cusack will retire from his position as an electrical engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory in time for the gym's Dec. 5 grand opening so as to be at the forefront of the operation.
The idea started when he succeeded in using diet and exercise to keep his diabetes in check. From there, he decided to go back to school to follow a more fulfilling career path. Once he settled on attaining a Master’s degree in exercise physiology from Adelphi, all that was left was to open his gym.
A key component to his philosophy is variety.
"Others do high-intensity training. One size fits all," Cusack said. "People come in there and it's what they do, it's all they’re trained to do. Maybe that's great for you, but maybe it's not. When you train people one size does not fit all. The programs are designed individually for people."
As an example of mixing up workouts, Cusack pointed to an outdoor session when the weather permits. Sessions using atlas stones and pulling boat anchors can be used to end burnout and boredom with routines, factors that Cusack said derail many people.
In terms of financial strength, Cusack stated that the gym is in good shape to survive and will endure the long term. He also claimed that no loans were taken to open it.
Currently, the gym staffs six personal trainers, three men and three women. Cusack said that variety is also a key to success as there’s more of a chance of finding a trainer that an individual is comfortable with. He strongly believes that being comfortable with a trainer is what leads to the best results.
Even though they’re competitors, local gyms were not unwelcoming of the new center.
Michael DeNicola, owner of , said, “Another gym is good. It’s competition for me, but what we do at CrossFit is different. It’s another choice, and more choices are good for people.”
Julie Watterson, owner of in East Setauket, agreed.
"Since only about half of Americans exercise regularly – at least three times a week for 30 minutes at a time – and only 14 percent of Americans go to a gym, there is room for all of us fitness centers," she said.