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Brookdale's Gym Is Open for You

Want to get healthy in the New Year? Comment on this story and you will get a free pass to Brookdale's new fitness center.

Our apologies to Rosemary Molten, of Colts Neck. She asked us not to tell you this Monmouth County fitness secret so her Pilates class would remain small and intimate, but we just can't keep it to ourselves.

The fitness center at (BCC) is bright, airy, state-of-the art and packed with trainers better educated than us. And membership is a steal - we're talking less than $25 a month.

When Patch visited the gym recently on a Monday morning, there were less than 20 people using the rows of cardio equipment that line a wall banked with floor to ceiling windows. In the adjacent weight room the handful of folks making use of the weight machines, were bathed in light streaming through the soaring windows on three sides. Outside students of the college walked to class through freezing temperatures. Inside, it was a mix of students and community members getting their workout on, with not a meathead in sight.

"It's a well kept secret," said trainer Beth Tarantino, of Jackson, who has been with the gym for 21 years and teaches cardio-kick and Molten's beloved Pilates class.

About a year ago Molten moved back from Texas, where she belonged to a large gym with classes of 40-50 people. "No one really knew you," she said. "Beth knows each and every one of us, and our ailments, and what we're good at."

At her fitness evaluation (a requirement for joining BCC's fitness center), Tarantino learned about Molten's back pain and tailored an exercise program to strengthen her core.

Now Molten's physique is tight and her back doesn't hurt anymore. With the class size of averaging about eight, she is free to ask Tarantino for pointers and nutrition advice at no extra charge. And when her trainer takes some time off this week, Molten and her classmates, who by now have become friends, will meet at the gym for a video Pilates class that Tarantino has put together for them featuring each of their favorite moves.

According to Joyce Cosentino, of West Allenhurst, supervisor of the fitness center, Molten's experience is common around the gym.

"It's very comfortable. It's not an intimidating gym," she said. "People come here just for the camaraderie." 

Cosentino said that the majority of people who join the gym end up staying for decades, not just because of the education component, but because of the relationships they build with other members and their trainers. One such example is the Bagel Boys, a group of older men who have been working out together here for 20 years.

The facility is located in the Brookdale Recreation and Events Center (BREC) at the Robert J. Collins arena near the back of BCC's main campus. The fitness center moved into the brand new building last summer after years languishing in a basement and then in temporary spaces with trailers as locker rooms. Now the his and hers locker rooms are clean and spacious.

In addition to the large main space, there is a room for workout classes with gleaming hardwood floors, mirrors, ballet bars and a flat screen television. Here members and visitors can take Zumba, Pilates, cardio kick, yoga, body sculpting and strength training.

Classes cost members about an additional $10 a month and non-members about $25 a month. Visitors can try a single class for $10 (or for free if they read on).

What hasn't changed from the old space is the people who run the place. The staff at the fitness center have been working here for longer than some of the members have been alive. In addition to Tarantino, Greg Mahadeen, of Tinton Falls, and Carleen Kierce, of Middletown, have both been working here for over 20 years. All three, known as learning specialists, have a masters in exercise science, which means that besides showing you the correct form for a shoulder press they are qualified to teach credit courses in health and fitness or even help you get your certification as a personal trainer.

Maybe it's the academic setting, that makes the vibe at Brookdale's fitness center is unique. Maybe it's that members are a mix young and old, from 14 to 95 years old.

"People see the biggest loser and see people throwing up and in your face trainers and they think that's how they have to work out," Mahadeen said. "That's not what this is about."

To find more about rates and classes, which are available to members and non-members, visit the Brookdale Fitness Center.

Kathy Z December 28, 2011 at 03:12 PM
The Brookdale Fitness Center sounds like a great place to take a Zumba class.
Jacqueline DeBrown December 28, 2011 at 03:47 PM
sounds like what I need
Jay Mill December 28, 2011 at 04:28 PM
where do I sign up
Dominick Palermo December 28, 2011 at 04:35 PM
The county should buy the Fitness center on Ft monmouth and charge a resonable fee for its use --------It has a 7 lane 25 yd lap pool --------- 6 indoor basket ball couts 2 professional handball couts (indoors) and a huge gym area
Melanie (Reed) Woods December 28, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Perhaps I can begin 2012 on the right track - literally!
Barbara December 28, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I knew about it but had never checked it out. Now I need to.
Laraine Villapiano December 28, 2011 at 05:24 PM
I am interested in joining with my 14 year old son, but I have to find out first if he is too young to have an evaluation and an exercise program designed for him.
Dominick Palermo December 28, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Run outside -----your body burns more calories -- in the cold ----------and ya run faster lolololol
marylou jennings December 28, 2011 at 06:22 PM
No excuses...I pass BCC to and from work every day! I would love to feel healthy ...again!
Marci December 28, 2011 at 07:02 PM
I'm ready to try it out!
Lishma Anikow December 28, 2011 at 07:06 PM
kudos to brookdale fitness center. bcc is such a great institution and as usual it continues to show it by providing great services to the community!
Melanie (Reed) Woods December 28, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Are Brookdale Community College Students able to use this gym for free, as part of their Tuition package? Seems it may be too crowded.....
Shannon K. Winning December 28, 2011 at 08:51 PM
Melanie - Students pay a reduced rate to become a member of the fitness center. In my unscientific opinion, judging from my visit and comments by the staff, crowds are not a problem here.
Michael December 28, 2011 at 10:34 PM
I would love to try this gym for a week as it's right by my house! Thanks!
Jon S. December 29, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Please sign me up! Thanks!
Linda Fernand December 29, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Sounds like a welcoming place to get back on the fitness routine. Thanks for offering a free week. Count me in!
Jeanie Granata December 29, 2011 at 02:11 AM
I'm looking for a new gym that's not crowded. This sounds really great
Paul December 29, 2011 at 05:57 AM
I would love to check the gym out and with a free pass it makes it too good to pass up. Thanks Paul
dawn lasko December 29, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Sounds great! Would love to try it! Any place for child care??????
Vincent Light December 29, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Never knew BCC had a state of the art facility!
Barbara Fehrs December 29, 2011 at 01:27 PM
I used to belong when the fitness center was across campus but it was a bit shabby. This new center looks well worth trying
Maria December 29, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Sounds like a great place to finally do something about getting healthier. Would love to try it out.
S Talarico December 29, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Everyone stay home! Go to WOW! Go to the Atlantic Club! Join Cross-Fit! (oy, the secret is out....)
Dominick Palermo December 29, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Hey -------Dont knock my WOW lolololool
Carol December 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM
didn' know- worth trying
Tj Brustowicz December 30, 2011 at 01:34 AM
Got on the scale at the doctor's office today - yikes! Bring on the healthy, BCC!
Christine Anderson December 30, 2011 at 01:49 AM
Sounds great!
Margaret J. Rose April 06, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Sounds like a great fitness place!
Paul April 07, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I tried to use the "Pass" and the guy behind the counter didn't know anything about it. He even took it a step further by saying he didn't know who or what the Patch is. He even went inside to ask some other guy about the pass. I was so angry that I wasted a trip out there. Anyone else experience this? Was anybody else able to use their pass?
Shannon Ventre April 17, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Hi Paul, I am sorry to hear of your troubles cashing in on your free pass. I met with the fitness center supervisor, who in turn spoke with all of her employees again about honoring the Patch's free week pass. (It has no expiration date, but only first-time members may use the pass.) Please contact me directly to work something out. I can be reached at: sventre@brookdalecc.edu. Thank you.

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