Forest Hills gym offers more than just muscle

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For Jigar Jamindar, going to a gym in Forest Hills keeps him out of a wheelchair.

“If I stop training, I’ll go back to being handicapped,” Jamindar said last week, while working on his biceps.

Genetics by Geno, a sports facility at 70-15Austin St., recently expanded its gym, adding a second floor filled with cycling machines to the complex. Unlike regular gyms, Genetics members all train personally with founder Geno Sylvain, who has been a trainer for 33 years and has built a following during that time. And for many people like Jamindar, working with Sylvain is an essential part of his well-being.

In 2007, Jamindar began working in construction after completing two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a Marine. But after a few weeks he fell 40 feet to the ground. His spine shattered and the back of his skull ripped open, exposing his brain.

“The doctors told me that I survived because my body was in really top shape, having just been in the Marines,” Jamindar, 36, said. “They told me that I would never walk again and I would spend the rest of my life in jail.”

Jamindar works out vigorously with Sylvain because if he stops training for too long his body quickly degenerates, sending him back to the wheelchair. As he gets older his body is weakening and he is not sure how much longer he will be able to walk. Even though Jamindar has a better physique than most people, the act of walking is difficult and he has a limp.

“It takes everything in me just to get from point A to point B,” he said.

Sylvain also trains people for bodybuilding competitions and was himself a muscle-packed competitor throughout the years. As he continues to expand the business, Sylvain hopes to use the gym as a jumping off point for his other products like the travel-sized abs workout, called the Abster, and a health snack that he makes himself.

Sylvain’s members are all given unique diets and eating advice based on their own bodies and metabolism.

“I know their bodies better then they know themselves,” Sylvain said. The diets emphasize nutrition and muscle building over weight loss because, Sylvain said, concentrating on just losing weight can be dangerous and unhealthy.

Sylvain’s own success as a body builder and track record of training others to compete in shows have attracted many aspiring competitors. And his therapeutic work with Jamindar has also made him sought out by people with similar problems. Aside from Jamindar, there are three other members who have turned to Sylvain for physical therapy.

Jamindar said that for people like himself, Sylvain is a better solution than going to a medical physical therapy center. At these centers, he said, workers just followed a checklist when instructing Jamindar. But Sylvain’s process is much more intimate and centered on developing a regiment that is designed for individual needs. In Jamindar’s case, that means concentrating more on his legs, which are the weakest, and constantly pushing his body to develop more muscle.

The machines in the gym have all been designed by Sylvain to accommodate the needs of clients like Jamindar and other gym members. Aside from a workout regiment, Jamindar has a strict diet schedule that he follows to help his body stay as healthy as possible.

“We have a whole unique setup with the capability to help people like Jamindar,” Sylvain said. “It’s a great feeling to help people through working out.”

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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