Hourglass Women’s Wellness is fitness by women for women. The 15,000-square-foot center, which opened six months ago in downtown White Plains, includes a gourmet café; a lounge; concierge services; body, age and metabolic testing; energy analysis; personal training; a medical spa; acupuncture; Thai hot stone massage; hot yoga; full-strength stretching and loads of cardio equipment along with a variety of programs and a boot camp. And that’s just the beginning.
“It’s not just a basic gym,” says Shpresa Villani, the center’s founder and creator. “Here it’s more than that. It’s an extreme makeover internally and externally. It’s a one-stop shop for women only, creating change from the inside out.”
Villani has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years, opening her first gym in the Bronx at age 18. But she knew that women needed more than just a gym of their own.
With the help of her husband, Jerry, she sought out a space to take fitness to the next plane. The center, which draws clients from Westchester County, Connecticut and New Jersey, is Villani’s dream come true, which she credits to her husband.
Since establishing Hourglass, Villani has brought in two partners, Lisa Avellino and Tracy Tellian, who is also a trainer at the center. Recently, we sat down with Avellino and Tellian as they described the ways you can customize your membership and talked about the professionalism of the staff, which includes male as well as female instructors with 10 years or more of professional experience.
Avellino says people who come to the center are looking for community, customizations and the highest motivation, along with energy and balance in their lives. Women are more educated to the importance of fitness and health, so it’s not just about weight loss anymore.
To this end, spinning continues to be popular. Spin class benefits everything from your legs to your core and is a significant low-impact cardio workout. Because of this intense workout, you’ll burn a ton of calories, too. Tellian loves teaching her spin classes.
“Here, it’s not only the regular spinning like in classes but 10 steps above what the boutique studios are offering in terms of experience,” she says. “It’s a workout that you will come out of those classes completely drenched in sweat and feeling exhilarated at your accomplishments. You will get the results you need not only to feel good but continue to increase your fitness levels and beyond.”
As with all the services, the spin classes remain for women only.
“I love doing this exercise but I hate having someone watching me do it” is what most of the women who join say, Tellian says. Not worrying about others watching you work out — that means you, guys — or feeling intimated to do your workouts is a great relief. In the #MeToo age, Hourglass has tapped into the zeitgeist.
Having everything all under one roof comes in handy, too. If you need the support of a licensed chiropractor, nutritionist or a medical doctor, the system works synergistically, because “we can speak to the doctor and show you how to use a piece of equipment,” Avellino says. “It’s kind of like a dream team that you have the ability to go to a fitness space and nutrition and mindfulness. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I have my workout.’ But it’s a wellness wheel.”
As far as nutrition goes, the new Haas Juice bar is in the lobby of the gym and can also make recommendations as to what’s right for you. (See related story.)
The wellness center — which is considering other locations in Greenwich, New York City and Florida — also offers day care and a full service salon.
“It’s a real time saver and people can get to where they need to go right from the gym,” Tellian says. “Instead of doing an hour at the gym and another hour leaving to get the next thing done, it is all here for you to access.”
The partners are passionate about helping women achieve their best selves.
“It’s the little moments when a client tells you how much you’ve changed their life, that make us continue to do it no matter the day we’ve had,” Tellian says. “Tomorrow if I hit the Lotto, I’d still teach.”
This fall, the center will begin a “Fit Kids” program. “Years ago, I launched a teen obesity campaign that helped over 60,000 teenagers across the country,” Villani says. “I believe in keeping your kids active and fit, while making it fun for them.”
But she is just as dedicated to helping the whole community get fit and stay strong. Villani is working on creating a nonprofit for people like her father, who has Parkinson’s disease, so they can come into the center to keep themselves active.
“You don’t realize how difficult it is for them to walk or hold a ball at the same time. Being patient with them and giving them love makes a big change. I don’t see enough efforts to help them, so I’m going to.”
Shpresa Villani offers everyone reading this article a tour and a free class of her choice. Stay tuned for new and upcoming events. For more, visit hourglasswomenswellness.com.