NISKAYUNA – For nearly a decade, Vent Fitness has offered not only a place to work out, but also a space for mental relaxation.
Owned by local car sales entrepreneur Bill Li, Vent has four locations in the Capital Region — Niskayuna, Guilderland, Latham and Clifton Park — with plans to add more in the future.
Gyms offer classic weightlifting and cardio equipment. But Bryan Lupian, Vent’s regional manager, said where the company really excels is its programming. The locations offer a wide range of classes, from kickboxing and cycling to high-intensity interval training.
“We’re trying to provide the diversity that we know our members demand because we have a lot of diversity in member demographics,” he said.
Vent has even expanded its cycling offerings, allowing users to ride whenever the gym is open by providing virtual classes as well as live options.
“We understand that people’s schedules are unique and we want to be able to offer them something during those off-peak times,” Lupian said.
He said that approximately 20% of members use one of the group exercises.
Vent also has an E3 Training Studio. Instead of a class of 50 people, the studio allows more than 18 students along with a personal trainer to train them and can provide more individual attention.
And if the customer wants more traditional one-on-one training, Vent offers that as well.
“That personal attention you get is much more valuable than going to an app and looking at an exercise you want to do and then just doing the exercise you see on the app,” Lupian said.
Lupian said people can make it a little easier when starting or getting back into a fitness routine by choosing a time and day once a week, then sticking to it and gradually increasing the difficulty of the exercise. They can then gradually add more exercise days to their schedule. Lupian also suggested going with a friend who can hold you accountable.
Perhaps what sets Vent apart from other locations the most are the additional benefits that members can access. The Guilderland and Latham locations have basketball courts, as well as a three-lane pool and hot tub. The Guilderland location also offers a climbing wall.
Gyms also focus on more than just physical fitness. We offer hydromassage beds for water massages, as well as traditional massage chairs, saunas and tanning cabins.
“I know so many members who come here and don’t even work out,” Lupian said. “They’ll sit in the hot tub for 20 minutes, they’ll sit in the steam room, and then they’ll sit in the massage chair. It’s not just about physical health, it’s also about mental health and finding time to relax, talk to friends and socialize.”
Each location also has an Energy Bar area – featuring shakes, energy cups and bowls, among other snacks – to help customers maintain a nutritious diet when they leave the gym.
“You can run five miles on the treadmill five days a week, but if you go home and eat Doritos and chicken wings all day, you’re not going to see results. So we provide energy bars to make sure you get at least one highly nutritious, high-calorie smoothie or product into your body after your workout,” said Lupian.
Lupiano’s favorite shake is the Elvis, which contains water, peanut butter, banana and organic chocolate. He also throws in some coconut.
What particularly struck me about Vent was the idea of rediscovering yourself, venting your frustrations at the gym instead of through unhealthy habits or embarking on fitness programs. The place is motivating – from the staff who are excited to hear about your new exploits to the messages on the walls, it really is a great place to work out.
I’ve been going for a little over two weeks now, and to say that I’ve been excited to see three squat/deadlift racks open almost every time I’ve visited…that’s a lifter’s dream.
From racks to a wide range of equipment, Vent offers many ways to train and have fun. I find myself checking out different gear and seeing how it might fit into my routines to keep them fresh.
What also made me switch to Vent from my previous gym was the ability to ride the bike whenever I wanted. Because I sometimes have a busy schedule, getting to a personal spin class is sometimes impossible. But I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute bike ride about once a week because of the virtual classes.
The other aspect of Vent Fitness that really made me want to change gyms after living in Schenectady County for almost three years was the amenities.
As someone who has been lifting since college, I know that part of your fitness journey is recovery, and that’s what makes the Vent special to me. The ability to sit in a massage chair or bed and recover — and turn off my mind — is absolutely necessary for me to continue exercising, but also for my mental health.
I work out in the morning, so a massage chair or bed not only helps me recover before I go to work, but also relieves some of the stress I feel before work.
As for shakes, I’m a big fan of a peanut butter cup, especially after a leg workout. This shake contains water, organic chocolate and peanut butter, and chocolate whey protein.
After being at the Niskayuna location for a few weeks, I’m excited to try some of the other locations in the near future to see what they’re like.