GENESEO — Linda Richards knows all about getting healthy.

Richards is a two-time winner of the Fit Club 24/7’s ‘Biggest Loser Challenge,’ a weight loss contest that the Geneseo club has hosted over the years.

In fact. Richards was so valuable to owner Mary Ann Reitano that she hired Richards as the GM to help others do the same.

And that has been a winning combination.

Geneseo Fit Club 24/7 will be hosting a little different version of their ‘get healthy challenge’ starting soon when members can sign up for an eight-week contest that concentrates on a healthy lifestyle with some daily accountability for a list of items that will lead to better health.

“We are focusing not only on exercise but veggie and water consumption, mindfulness of sugar and processed food, sleep and recovery,” Richards said.

But there is a neat twist to this challenge Richards says.

“It is $50 to join the challenge but the money is returned at the end of the challenge if you have completed the weekly tracking sheets and kept up with the challenge,” she said. “Points are given for each of the tasks on a daily/weekly basis and at the end of the challenge prizes will be given for the three leaders of the points tally. The hope of our challenge is for our participants to develop a holistic approach to their health and wellness as well as look at the big picture when it comes to their habits.”

Richards is hoping to get the challenge started Monday, Jan. 18, although they might push it back a week or so to get more members added.

BACK AT IT

After what was a 161-day hiatus, due to the coronavirus, Geneseo Fit Club 24/7 was allowed to finally re-open their doors back up in the fall and they are slowly getting back to normal, although things have been tough Richards says.

With the CDC and Livingston County Health Department having strict guidelines, Reitano, Richards and their staff spend a lot of their 15-hour weekdays (6 a.m. until 9 p.m.) and six-hour weekends (8 a.m. until 2 p.m.) making sure everything is in order for their members.

“Each member has their own disinfectant bottle and clean cloth when they enter that they use throughout their visit,” Richards says. “They clean things before and after they touch it. Staff also is constantly disinfecting the high touch areas such as doors and handles as well as periodic full disinfection of all areas throughout the day.”

All members are required to wear a mask the entire time in the club, no exceptions.

“A mask covering the mouth and nose is required at all times,” she said. “We are very strict with this and monitor it closely. We ask those who are not in compliance to leave for the day. We rarely have to ask someone to leave and thankfully our members are very diligent regarding the protocols.”

Respecting the social distancing protocols are a very high priority says Richards.

During their five-month hiatus, to prepare for the re-opening, the staff moved many of their machines around to ensure of the six-feet required spacing. There was no cutting corners when it came to ensuring the safety of their members says Richards.

“We have every other cardio machine chained off and all circuit machines have been moved to allow social distancing,” she said. “We currently do not have classes or personal training due to the logistics of the protocols. This has allowed us to temporarily transform our training/classroom into a light weight/stretching room. We have dumbbells up to 25 pounds, kettle bells, medicine balls and weighted bars along with a couple benches. Our stretching mats and stability balls are located in this room as well. This has opened up the workout options for all of our members during a time with so many restrictions. All members keep a distance of at least six feet unless they are acting as a spotter for another member. Currently, due to the rise of cases in surrounding areas, as well as our own, we are not doing any day passes but are welcoming new members.”

Reitano did say that her club received strong support from SUNY Geneseo students during the fall semester because their college weight room was not open.

Richards has noticed that some of the longtime club members who left after the start of the pandemic are slowly returning back.

“We have seen more and more members returning,” Richards said. “They know that we are very safe in here and that we have not had one single case of the virus. We do our part, the members do their part, and everyone is safe.”

Longtime member Tom LaGrou was one of those that returned when the doors re-opened.

“(Fit Club 24/7) does a tremendous job with their protocols and guidelines and all the members do as well making sure all the rules are followed,” LaGrou said. “I feel very safe during all my workouts.”

Richards said that Geneseo Fit Club 24/7 is currently running a special to join through the end of January.

“New members can purchase our ‘New Beginnings Package’ which includes a one month membership, the security fob and their choice of a water bottle or sport mask for $50 ($80 value). We have a’ Resolution Package’ that includes a three-month membership, security fob, sports mask and water bottle for $125 ($164.97 value).”

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