Greg Watson is a longtime friend and colleague. We met early on in my fitness career and hit it off immediately. We pushed each other both personally and professionally, and I am happy to see him take the leap as a new gym owner. Throughout his life, he has displayed a razor-sharp mentality and discipline. During his time in the U.S. Army, he excelled in the fitness examination. The local gyms were his first stop at every base or duty station, and he was often the only one in his units who would use personal time to go work out. Everywhere he traveled he would not only look for a place to get a workout but also evaluate gym designs, equipment available and services offered at each facility. After collecting 30 years of observations on fitness, coaching, gyms and fitness facility design, Elite Life and Fitness Studio in New Rochelle was born. I took my first visit to his facility recently and sat down with Greg for this interview:
What Is Elite Life and Fitness?
“Elite Life and Fitness was created to design an experience in the fitness industry that is unparalleled in its entirety. Providing true fitness professionals, it’s a platform that offers service that excels in our industry. As a way of living, Elite Life and Fitness’ vision and mission is to provide the ultimate fitness experience to our staff, members, visitors and community at large.”
What does your facility offer?
“We offer a variety of personal training, small-group training, nutritional guidance and coaching. We are currently expanding our services, which will be announced beginning of the fourth quarter. We also offer services for fitness professionals — that is, independent contract trainers who need a space to train their clients.”
Statistics show that nine out of 10 fitness facilities will close after one year. What have you done, especially during a pandemic, to keep your business flourishing?
“From the onset of Covid-19, the pandemic exposed one of the most important factors of our lives. That would be, do not take (life) for granted. One of the most impactful ways to become stronger and more resilient physically and increase natural immunity, is better health, wellness and fitness.”
“To keep business flourishing, I decided to connect deeper with our community, giving people easier access to our facilities and professional network. Increasing the knowledge of health and wellness necessary for yourself can be a significant value to gain healthy longevity. Second, I have worked with my team to create an environment that is a community that invests in health and wellness. Covid-19 has disrupted our fitness community in positive ways, not just negative. From a fitness company’s perspective, it has given us new and more creative ways to help our community. It has shown how important individual health, fitness and wellness are.”
What makes your facility different than others?
“What makes Elite Life and Fitness different is summed up by saying: We do not take for granted the individual fitness professionals who are on the front line of quality service. We value them as much as we value each client and member. Elite Life and Fitness is a company designed to allow both fitness professionals and members or clients not only to survive but to thrive. It’s not about us but about you or, as we say in our motto, you being the best version of you.”
You are pound for pound one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. What advice would you give to the readers out there who are looking to improve their strength?
“Strength that is physical can be limited by emotions and doubts. Give it 100% without fear or limits, stay consistent, build mental resilience as you build physical strength. Rinse and repeat. Greater strength will come in many ways.”
As a proud father of five and given your career, how influential have health and fitness been on your children’s upbringing?
“I now know and understand that habits, environment and life lessons shape and mold my children to form a belief system of their own. I want to…exhibit constructive ways for them to have the healthiest lives possible. Giving stronger attention to proper nutrition, activities that are fitness-based and teaching them wellness and mindfulness are tools and wisdom that were missed as I grew up. I realize no matter how successful they become in life, it’s nothing without a healthy lifestyle and wellness of their minds and emotions to really live.”
What are your thoughts on the future of fitness facilities?
“Covid-19 brought about a change in fitness and fitness facilities. Now more than ever more people have some type of fitness equipment at home. There are also innovative ways to get a workout via apps on our smart devices. This begs the question: How do gyms and fitness facilities compete? My answer is having a hybrid model that allows flexibility and options for members and clients. The one-price model for big gyms is antiquated. We have a community that is not looking for a one stop shop any longer. They want options due to commute times, and crowded classes are not appealing when they have home equipment. Elite Life and Fitness has solutions to these issues. We are ready to move and change with new fitness trends.”
Elite Life and Fitness is in the Colonial Village Shopping Center at 1495 Weaver St., second floor, New Rochelle. For more, visit iameliteny.com.