Full Selection of Work-out Opportunities Is Available at Renovated Retro Fitness
FEELING FIT: “We have a state-of-the-art fitness center and want to offer the best for our members. We build a relationship with people. We listen to them and find out what they like and what they might want to change.” Ralph Basile, owner and general manager of Retro Fitness in the Kingston Mall, is shown next to the popular AbSolo strengthening machine.
Working out at Retro Fitness is not only beneficial for your health and well-being, it can be fun too, says new owner Ralph Basile. “We make a point of getting to know our members,” he says. “I‘m a people person. I enjoy being able to meet all the people and bond with them.”
Mr. Basile and his partners Dan Pace and Peter Pace purchased the existing Retro Fitness located in the Kingston Mall at 4437 Route 27 last June, and proceeded to give it a new up-to-date look.
“We renovated and remodeled the space, and it’s all state-of-the-art. We added brand new flooring and more functional space,” he explains. “We have 15,000 square feet, with separate rooms for spinning and kick boxing, also a room for group classes, and another for tanning. The whole gym was transformed, including the men’s and women’s locker rooms.”
An independently-owned franchise, the Kingston Retro Fitness is part of a nationwide operation, with headquarters in Colts Neck. Ownership of the fitness center is a new adventure for Mr. Basile. Formerly in the fragrance and flavor industry, he spent more than 30 years in the corporate world. He was also a volunteer firefighter for 30 years, and has worked as a 911 dispatcher in South Brunswick.
“I felt it was time for a change, and my partners were interested in being involved in a gym,” he says. “One of the partners is my brother-in-law, and the other is his brother. We thought it was something we could do as a family.”
In addition to the challenges of moving into a new business operation, Mr. Basile is finding personal benefits, he notes. “I am not only the owner, I’m a client! After I work out, I feel energized. It really gives you new energy. Exercise is the number one benefit to health, and it’s great that I am able to get in shape right here.”
Mr. Basile is proud of the newly renovated facility. “We have all the cardio equipment — ellipticals, steppers, tread mills, rowing machines, etc. All the cardio equipment has TV screens, and all of our equipment is high quality, and features the Retro red and yellow color motif.”
The full range of strength equipment offers clients chest and leg press machines, free weights including kettle bells, bench presses, dead weights, and medicine balls, among other options.
In addition, members can take group classes in Zumba and PiYo (a Pilates/yoga-inspired exercise) with instructors. A special room is set aside for spinning and Retro Strike (the Retro Fitness version of kick boxing).
“We also have team training where groups of people can work out together,” reports Mr. Basile. “It is fun for them to use the equipment together in a team environment. They can blend exercises with camaraderie.”
Eight personal trainers are available to help members who range in age from 14 to 70-plus. “We offer a free assessment to people interested in becoming a member,” explains Mr. Basile. “They meet with the training manager, and we explain the program, ask about the client’s goals, etc.
“Also, it’s a good idea for a beginner to work with a personal trainer to get started. Then, they can come on their own as often as they want.”
In addition, he continues, “The program is customized to the needs of the members. If they have special considerations such as recovering from an injury, arthritis, or other conditions, we will set up a personalized plan.
“Another thing, core fitness and core strength are so important for the whole body. Whether someone is a firefighter or a mom picking up a baby, you need core strength. We can help you with that.”
Of course, a healthy diet and a healthy life-style work hand-in-hand with exercise for one’s over all health, and Mr. Basile notes that Retro Fitness can offer recommendations for their members.
“We are not nutritionists, but our trainers can certainly give guidance on heathy eating. In time, we hope to introduce seminars regarding a healthy diet — and for everyone to attend, not just Retro members.”
He points out that Retro Fitness is intent on participating in and giving back to the community as a whole. “We really want to give back and partner with the community. Recently, we were partners with the Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center. Those recovering from breast cancer were able to use our exercise room at no cost for their recovery work-outs. We hope to offer other programs and opportunities for the community at large.”
Retro Fitness is open seven days, starting at 5 a.m., and Mr. Basile notes that a surprising number of people arrive at that early hour. “Some of our members are very serious about their work-out program, and often come six days a week. Others are more relaxed and come two or three times or even once a week. To make a difference, we recommend that people try to come three times a week. I know time is tight for everyone, but remember, this is a benefit for your health, and you’ll feel good.”
Different programs, promotions, and cost packages are available, with the basic plan $19.99 per month for a year’s contract. With that arrangement, members can go to the gym as often as they wish. Other payment arrangements are made for personal trainers and additional options.
Retro Fitness also offers a substantial snack bar with a variety of beverages, energy bars, and healthy smoothies. An automated defibrillator is also on the premises in case of an emergency.
Mr. Basile is very encouraged with the member response since the renovation in June. “We are so pleased with our members’ reaction, and also that more and more people are joining. We look forward to improving all the time, getting to know our members, and responding to what they want.
“I think we are set apart because we are a family business, and the ownership is part of the day-to-day management. I’m always here, and I’m still learning. We want our gym to be the best it can be for our members. They’ll see me here, and I’m often working out right alongside them!”
Retro Fitness is open Monday through Tuesday 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 5 to 10, Saturday 7 to 6, Sunday 7 to 5. (609) 683-8960. Website: http://retrofitness.com/location/kingstonnj/.