Astoria gym fosters healthy lifestyle

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Astoria native Yanna Darilis is very connected to her Greek heritage, especially when it comes to exercise.

She said that in ancient times, people who were ill would go to a special hospital where they would meet with doctors, take long walks around the facility, spend time at a spa and watch a Greek theater performance.

"It's the mind, body and soul that lead you to who you want to be," she said.

Darilis has used this mantra to help create and run Club Fitness NY, an upscale health center in the heart of Astoria. Located at 31-11 Broadway, the 3-1/2 story center sports everything a person needs to live a healthier lifestyle.

From nearly 90 state-of-the-art cardio machines and a full floor of weight machines to his and her spas and an on-site nutritionist, the club charges members a monthly $79 fee for a large choice of exercise options. The equipment is complemented by experienced, hands-on trainers who tend to every member's personal needs.

"The problem with other gyms is that when you come into a facility, you don't know what to do first. That's where we come in," she said. "Sometimes our trainers will call our members to see how they're doing and if they liked the workout."

That welcoming attitude is also reflected in the health center's atmosphere. As soon as one enters, they will see a large, marble, water wall and hear the rhythmic sounds of techno and exercise music. Workout rooms are designed to have a mystical feel to them, especially in the spin classroom, which has paintings of constellations across a clear night sky.

The friendly accommodations are nothing new for the area, since the facility is at the landmarked site of the Crystal Palace catering hall. After nearly 50 years of hosting banquets for dignitaries, Paul Calamaras, the longtime owner of the 40,000-square-foot building, decided to change venues but stick to something that would help the community.

"First we fed them and now we have to make them fit," said Calamaras, who owns the site with his sons John, Steve and Tommy.

He said he hired Darilis to be the center's general manager because of her years of experience as a physical trainer in Queens and Europe and willingness to help others. Darilis, a former gym teacher at St. Demetrius Elementary School in Astoria, said she loves helping children stay fit and is currently planning a special low-cost class at the center for teenagers.

"A lot of kids don't like sports and we want to get them to be active and have fun," she said.

For more information on Club Fitness NY, log on to www.clubfitnessny.com.

Posted 6:39 pm, October 10, 2011
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