When Lonnie Wamsher and Jeff Ferris, owners of New York Fitness Clubs, were asked what their mission is, they simply stated “we’re here to help our members get results.”
“It’s plain and simple,” says Wamsher, “we’re a results-driven gym. We’ve got all the bells and whistles but at the end of the day, we’re here to focus on our members and help them improve their overall health and fitness.”
“For the six years I was with Gold’s prior to NYFC, the impression was that it was for muscle heads and ‘Barbies’. Every time I heard someone say to me that they needed to already be in shape before they would join, it drove me nuts! You don’t ‘fix your car’ before you take it the garage, you let them fix it.
That’s why we’re here. We want you to come to New York Fitness Clubs and let us help you get in shape. Our clubs are designed for everyone regardless of your fitness goals, not just the gym rats.”
And since New York Fitness Clubs was founded in 2004, Wamsher and Ferris have proven that their model works.
“We were two business-minded individuals with a passion for fitness,” said Ferris. “Lonnie was my personal trainer at Gold’s and we developed a friendship and we both had the skill set.” Wamsher was a manager with Gold’s and helped open several locations throughout Central Pennsylvania and Ferris had business management and operations experience and a background in construction, building and renovations.
When the two decided to partner up for New York Fitness Clubs, they had extensive resources between the two of them. “When we established New York Fitness Clubs, we developed the business plan and physically did the construction build out for our first location in Lebanon,” said Wamsher. Since Lebanon opened in 2005, Wamsher and Ferris have added additional locations in Palmyra and Elizabethtown and handled all the construction and renovations themselves.
“We poured our heart and soul into these gyms,” Ferris recalls. “We’re not scared to take risks, and we have the work ethic to back it up! If we had to work 18 hours a day 7 days a week at times to make it successful, we’ve done it.”
“We’re in our clubs every day. We talk and train with members every day, we’ll make shakes, we’ll clean the equipment, we’ll work the front desk and personally talk with prospective members. There’s nothing that we can’t or won’t do in our business. We truly care about the members and them getting the most of their fitness membership.”
After all of this time, their passion hasn’t faded. “Not one bit,” Lonnie says. “I’ve been training now for almost 25 years. I still get goosebumps when I help somebody make a change in their life. I didn’t initially get in this business to make money, but I’m thankful that my passion has enabled me to make a living as well. But our mission, and the real mission in the fitness industry is to help people make changes in their life. An improvement in your fitness can truly impact every area of your life in a positive way.”
Ferris agrees. “Fitness is a way of life for me.” And I have been able to help others develop the discipline to build strength and fitness. With eight years in the Marine Corps as a platoon sergeant, Ferris is an expert at Boot Camp Training and helping find experienced, motivated trainers for NYFC. “We make sure our trainers are actively engaged with each member they’re working with. Every trainer has a little bit different style, so our goal is to have a blend and match trainer strengths to member’s goals and help with members during any walk of life. We have ongoing trainer education, where the trainers do workshops together to maintain NYFC’s core structure while implementing fresh ideas.”
Wamsher invites prospective members to consider the options that New York Fitness Clubs offer. “The most important thing when considering joining a gym is to give us a call or come talk with us. We’re glad to offer you a free class or free workout session so you can get a feel for the atmosphere. It’s a non-threatening, clean environment and our membership plans are affordable. We have body builders, but we also have families that work out together, kids sports teams that come in for specialized training and off-season workout programs, and senior citizens that are want to stay healthy and active. We have the best of everybody!”
Ferris also believes how NYFC works with new members sets them apart from other fitness centers. “We offer every new member a personal one-hour fitness assessment and workshop. We take everyone, one-on-one, as an individual, through the facility, find out what your background is, how many days a week you want to come in and why you’re joining the gym. We don’t just have you sign something and forget about you. You join New York Fitness for a reason. You join for a result. We’re here to help you progress, improve your quality of life and get the results you’re looking for.”
The owners also participate with many insurance companies who will offset the cost of a fitness membership in the interest of having their members maintain good health. “Make sure you ask for our Insurance Partner Benefits flyer when you inquire about membership. With the size of our gym, our juice bar and training programs, we meet the criteria for several insurance companies.
New York Fitness has a lot of small groups that train together. It helps their motivation and they’re spending time with the people they care about. Friends and family work out together. There are co-workers that come in together and families that spend time together, where the husband, wife and all the kids that come in and train or take a class.
“We offer a “Kids Synergy” class that helps keep kids exercising properly and eating healthy. Truly, you shouldn’t be lifting a lot of weights when you’re younger than thirteen or while you’re still developing on certain levels…it can be harmful long-term,” Wamsher explains. New York Fitness also has sports teams utilize the Synergy program and specialized training programs to keep their players in shape and not get de-conditioned during the off season.
“Our trainers have years of experience working with seniors and are certified to work with members that have had hip/knee replacements, shoulder injuries and other mobility issues. Whether it’s injury-related, specific health problems of just maintaining a specific level of fitness appropriate to your age group, we customize well-balanced programs for any type of member. We have a specific “resistance band side for seniors that are low impact and very easy for seniors to use as well as a 21-circuit equipment group with two cardio decks.”
Ferris describes New York Fitness Clubs’ “Functional Training” Programs that allow members to involve multiple muscle groups at the same time. “These are natural movements that your body is going to do, perhaps for your job(lifting or repetitive motion), as part of a specific sport, or even during leisure activities. We develop a customized program that reduces strain and the risks tied to these motions by training proper techniques to minimize wear and tear, while providing extra strengthening and flexibility for specific areas of your body.
As everyday life changes, Jeff and Lonnie have also realized that members have less time on a daily basis. “We’ve really evaluated how long our members are able to spend in the gym. When most households are working long hours or multiple jobs, we need to help members get results in a short amount of time,” Wamsher adds.
That’s where New York Fitness has really developed the “Transformation Challenge” HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) program. “We developed an excellent 6- week diet and training program with top trainers. It helps our members achieve goals in a short amount of time. There are three half-hour workouts per week and following the diet helps increase your results. We tell them what to eat every single day, why they’re eating it, the health benefits and how it positively impacts their body.”
Jessica Leaton, one of the NYFC trainers, teaches Spin, Body Impact and Zumba classes, as well as providing one-on-one training. “This is a fun environment for someone new. We’re all really friendly and a lot of members work out with their friends, or make good friends while they’re here,” she says.
“I find out what my students goals are and if they have anything specific they’re concerned with “body wise.” Then, we work together to safely create achievable goals. As we go through the program, I keep an upbeat attitude and increase their workouts over time. I make sure they’re eating right, completing their journals and I encourage them any way I can to keep them on track. We give them all the tools. If they follow it, we guarantee 100% results!”
Starr Brubaker, a member at the Lebanon location, recently completed the Transformation Challenge. “At first, I was skeptical. I wanted to slim down for summer and lose a little around my belly. For the first four days, I couldn’t walk up and down my steps very well, but I pushed myself above and beyond and the results were incredible. Jess encouraged me and taught me how to eat better. Starr has brought friends in for a free visit and now has her brothers, cousins and other friends working out with her. That’s a big positive that keeps me motivated as well,” she says.
In addition to a full complement of treadmills, free weights, nautilus and specialized training equipment at each location, New York Fitness Clubs have recently overhauled their nutritional juice bar at each location with a complete line of truly organic shakes and nutritional supplement bars, explains Ferris. “We take our juice and smoothie bar very seriously, and it’s an integral part of our member’s fitness success. We recently converted them over to “DrinkFit TM Smoothie Bars.” A year ago, we had our 4 product lines of juices and smoothies independently tested to evaluate each drink and the proteins, supplements and vitamins that they ‘claimed’ to have. Only one, DrinkFit TM, came back as legitimate in the testing. The others were sugar based and didn’t have the proteins and nutrients they claimed to. So, we dropped the other three companies and moved forward knowing our juices’ and smoothies’ nutritional values are exactly as stated.”
Ferris also emphasizes that replenishing your body after a workout is critical. “Most people don’t know or understand that you have a magical half hour window after a workout to get protein back in your system. If you don’t have a predigestive protein shake or smoothie that hits your system right away, your body won’t get the full benefit of protein replenishment that helps restore your muscles and the effectiveness the workout you just completed diminishes. We have shakes with glutamine for sore muscles, multi-vitamins for overall nutrition and all natural energy shots that help with mental focus.”
We’ve also added new organic and vegan shakes in the last couple months and our protein bar is the “best” that you can put in your body,” says Ferris. Wamsher and Ferris employ nearly 50 people at their three locations in Lebanon, Palmyra and Elizabethtown. Their goals over the next couple years are “to refine, improve and provide more programs in our existing locations,” Lonnie says. “We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin…right now, Jeff and I can visit each of our clubs during the day, see members and spend quality time working out with them. We believe in our staff and programs at the locations, and have strong bonds with our members. We want to continue to strengthen that bond and grow.”
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