New Gym Opens in Gayborhood

Optimal Fitness opens its doors today. Plus: Three tips for getting in shape for summer

Today, the new Optimal Health and Sport Clubs officially opens its newest downtown location at the former Broad Street Fitness (1315 Walnut Street) in the Philadelphia Building in the heart of the Gayborhood. The doors open today with a grand opening event planned for March 8 (5:30 – 8:30 p.m.).

The new full-service facility boasts a personal training program and a weight loss management and preventative care program with the Rossi Wellness Center, as well as studio sessions – everything from yoga and Tai Chi to Zumba, spinning and other high-energy group classes.

“Optimal Sport 1315 will cater to the LGBT community a couple of ways,” says Jeffrey Shablin, CEO. “First, we have established the Optimal Community Fund where new members can choose the charity of their choice. Two dollars from their membership enrollment fee will go to two different charities each quarter – one of which will always be for the benefit of the LGBT community.” He says the management team of Optimal is also active with several organizations, including Sapphire Fund and Mazzoni Center.

Jo-Ellen Marks, Optimal’s program development and special projects manager, tells us how we can get in shape for summer in three ways:

1. Start now. “Most people wait until mid-April to begin a summer shape up, but by then you only have six weeks at most to get the results you’re looking for,” says Marks. “Pull out your calender today and commit to the four times a week you can to fit fitness into your life.” She says by starting sooner, you will get real results by the time you’re ready to show some skin.

2. Try interval training. “If you want the most effective way to burn fat fast – and in the shortest amount of time – then interval training is for you,” she says. “Forget the long, boring cardio sessions of your past – they only teach your body to conserve calories. Highly intensive training will blast the fat three-times faster and in a fraction of the training time.” She says this style of training also reduces injury thanks to a greater variety of movements. “You can sprint, jump rope, run stairs, do jumping jacks and squat thrusts and box,” says Marks. “Really any cardiovascular move can be an interval.”

3. Keep a food journal. “You cannot out-train a bad diet,” she admits. “But keeping a food journal will help you be accountable for what you are putting in your mouth. And you will know quickly where you can make improvements to your diet if you are writing it all down.” Three ways to drop the pounds starts with eating breakfast. Marks also recommends increasing fiber intake by six grams each day. “Fruits and veggies are the best way to do this,” she says. “And drink more water and less alcohol. Save your adult beverages for one night out a week and you will look amazing.”

Optimal Sport 1315 Grand Opening, March 8, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., 1315 Walnut Street, 215-735-1114.