Blink wants members to feel good as well as fit

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At the grand opening, Brandon Hall, the new East Village Blink Fitness club manager, presented Rosie Rodriguez, the Lower Eastside Girls Club’s director of philanthropy, with an oversized key fob representing 50 free annual memberships. photos by Peter Roessler

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Blink Fitness is looking to get East Villagers in the mood — that is, in a healthy, endorphin-boosted kind of way.

The value-based fitness club — whose trademarked mantra is “Mood Above Muscle” — celebrated the grand opening of its newest location at 98 Avenue A on Tuesday. That’s developer Ben Shaoul’s new residential building between E. Seventh and E. Sixth Sts.

As a part of the opening, Blink is giving 50 free one-year memberships, worth more than $10,000, to the Lower Eastside Girls Club.

“We are so pleased that Blink Fitness has chosen to donate these memberships to families and staff of the Lower Eastside Girls Club,” said Dr. Lyn Pentecost, the Girls Club’s executive director. “As an organization, we are committed to providing health and wellness programming for our community. We are glad to welcome the club to the neighborhood and look forward to future opportunities for collaboration.”

“We are excited to open our doors and welcome the East Village community,” said Brandon Hall, the new club’s manager. “We’re sure that Blink will become a healthy, happy hub of activity in the neighborhood.”

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Cutting the ribbon on the new Avenue A Blink gym.

The newest Blink gym will boast top-of-the-line strength equipment, including free weights, “plates” and machines for upper body, lower body and core, as well as a premium cardio machines and a multiuse space for exercises, stretching and functional training.

Certified personal trainers will be available for members who wish to create a custom workout experience tailored to their personal goals. Memberships are available for as low as $25 per month with a free start-up personal-training session.

Blink feels that exercise is not only about looking good but also feeling good, hence its “Mood Above Muscle” credo. This goal is achieved through the chain’s “five pillars”: respectful and friendly staff, bright and open gym design using colors scientifically proven to enhance mood, a clean facility, and music specifically selected to motivate members.

Todd Magazine, Blink’s president, in an interview with The Villager, noted that he has family roots in the neighborhood.

“My grandfather had a store in the East Village,” he said. “It was on Second Ave. between Ninth and Tenth Sts., an awning store called Biltwell. My grandma worked there, my dad did, too. The company actually did the awnings for a flashback scene in ‘The Godfather.’”

Magazine, who is from Long Island, now lives with his wife in the Village near Union Square. His daughter lives in the East Village. This Blink is the 48th one. His first one, opened just five years ago, was in the old Tower Records record store location, at E. Fourth St. and Broadway. The chain now boasts 300,000 members in the New York metro area.

Some of the new gym's cardio equipment.

Some of the new gym’s cardio equipment.

“Our whole philosophy is celebrating the emotional part of fitness above the physical,” he explained. “Our marketing showcases various body types — everyone we show isn’t in what we would say is the paradigm of fitness. It’s a journey — you don’t always have to show people at the end of that journey. We’re really inviting everybody to be part of our gym brand.

“There’s an emotional benefit of exercise — versus depression, boosting self-esteem,” Magazine noted. “Even the first time you exercise, you get that endorphin rush that you’re doing something good for your body and your mind. You don’t even have to be in a gym, it can be outside. You just need to get moving.”

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As for the Girls Club free memberships, Magazine said that, when opening a new location, he always likes to connect with a local organization that promotes healthy living. Blink also hires locally, he added.

The club’s hours are Monday to Thursday, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information about Blink Fitness, visit www.blinkfitness.com.

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