Livingston's first full-service gym opens, raising hope of greater focus on health

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comApril 2, 2013 

— Many residents accustomed to driving as much as a half-hour for a workout now have a local alternative when they want to hit the gym.

Livingston Fitness, a full-service gym that opened recently, is viewed as a welcome addition to the city's health and recreation options.

City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez said this is the first gym to locate in Livingston.

"Really, there wasn't anything in town," he said. "Everybody in town is pretty stoked, the fact that there's a full-service gym here."

City management networked with the owner's family to help bring the gym to the area. Ramirez said the project fits well with Livingston's push for healthier, more active living. He thinks residents will be receptive to the addition.

"I think it's going to be used quite a bit," Ramirez said.

Sargon Bahrami, who owns Livingston Fitness with his wife, Nina, said the gym has about 80 machines, including treadmills, ellipticals and strength equipment. There's also cardio equipment, but no aerobics. Bahrami hopes to expand to include those types of workouts as well.

The gym is about a month into its soft opening, he said. A grand opening is anticipated in a few weeks. As of Monday, the gym had 166 members.

"I think health is on the rise," Bahrami said. "A lot more people are taking care of themselves."

Bahrami, a 37-year-old fitness broker who supplies equipment to gyms, said he thought Livingston would be receptive to the business when he found out there wasn't a fitness center in the city and that many

residents were going out of town to exercise in Merced, Atwater and Turlock.

He thinks Livingston is a good fit for his business.

"With a gym like this, you just want to provide a little something for everybody," Bahrami said.

Al Heisler, 75, said he had a home gym, but sold all of his equipment and joined Livingston Fitness when it opened. Heisler said he's been going to gyms for 50 years, but found that it was too far of a drive to the nearest fitness center when he moved to Livingston about seven years ago.

"Livingston needed this," he said, adding that Livingston Fitness has "top-notch equipment."

"They have up-to-date equipment and plenty of it," he said. "You don't have to wait around for anything."

Councilman Arturo Sicairos said he thinks having a local fitness option will be conducive to a healthier city because it will be much easier to access.

"I'm hoping people that commute to other gyms will consider coming to this one," he said.

Rates for Livingston Fitness are $29 per month with a two-year contract, $39 on a one-year contract and $49 for month-to-month patrons. The gym's address is 1471 B St., Suite D.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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