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New Greenpoint Gym to Offer Triathlon Training and Rooftop Yoga

By Gustavo Solis | April 3, 2014 8:25am
  Slated to open in July, Brooklyn Athletic Club will have a yoga studio, triathlon training center and babysitters.
Brooklyn Athletic Club
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GREENPOINT— Larry Betz's path to his soon-to-open Greenpoint training center has been a marathon, not a sprint.

Betz, a physical trainer who's been getting people healthy for more than a decade, owned part of the former Maxim Health and Fitness space (now Chalk Gym) at North Ninth Street and Driggs Avenue before selling his share in 2009.

He next set his sights on a new space at 8 Berry St., which he began converting from an abandoned warehouse into a workout space in 2011. This summer he's going to open the Brooklyn Athletic Club, a 17,000-square-foot, four-story training center located next door to the warehouse — which will offer a host of amenities, including a triathlon training center, yoga and Pilates.

The opening was first reported on Bedford + Bowery.

“There’s been some doubts along the way, but we’re at the last 10-yard mark,” said Betz, 50, who expects the center to open in July. “People say that when one door closes another one opens. They don’t tell you how long the hallway is.”

When completed, Brooklyn Athletic Club will combine the best aspects of gyms throughout the city, he said.

People will be able to train for triathlons using specialized pools that mimic currents, take an outdoor yoga class on the third-floor patio that overlooks McCarren Park and rejuvenate in an infrared sauna that improves blood circulation and helps with joint pain, Betz said.

“Because I’m an exercise geek, the equipment we are putting in is the most biomechanically correct equipment made,” Betz said.

He added that he cares more about functional fitness than he does about helping clients get a six-pack. He regularly attends lectures on new training techniques and posts links to articles about nutrition advice and workout tips on BAC’s Facebook page.

He tried to tackle some of the most frustrating hurdles of the workout experience, from pricey memberships to "hot and sticky" cardio machine rooms to a lack of childcare.

To prevent the heat pouring off joggers on treadmills and gymgoers on elliptical machines from warming up the free weights section of the gym, Betz installed a high-tech ventilation system that allows him to control the temperature in different sections of the same room.

To help parents who can’t book babysitters to free them up for the gym, Betz set up a babysitting room on the third floor where parents taking a spin class or yoga lesson can see their kids through a two-way mirror.

Babysitters will be available by appointment, Betz said.

There is a wide range of membership options, including monthly passes for $79, group passes for $180 and semi-private training for about $350. The gym will also have various package deals, Betz said.

Memberships will go on sale in the summer, he said.

Betz has lived in Greenpoint for 10 years and plans to make the Brooklyn Athletic Club as much a part of the community as he is. The training center hopes to contribute to local causes and represent Greenpoint by entering teams in marathons, bike races, triathlons and other endurance events.

The training center has partnered with local restaurants like Urban Rustic to provide healthy food to its members.