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A peek at the Gronkowski clan's new fitness studio downtown

A peek at the Gronkowski clan's new fitness studio downtown

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 The Gronkowski brothers flung open the doors Saturday on the very fitness center they think a post-pandemic Buffalo needs.

It’s an installment of NexGen Fitness, the Texas-based chain of fitness centers that emphasizes personal service and isolation for those who want it. NexGen’s Buffalo clients will be able to work out in one of two well-equipped rooms reserved just for them, under the guidance of a trainer devoted just to them – usually for 45 minutes.

A 65-inch television will display the heart rate and calories burned for the client of the moment and for anyone else wearing a heart-rate monitor in the facility at the time. Customers can look up their performance during past workouts, too, to gauge their progress.

The Gronkowskis’ NexGen site occupies about 4,000 square feet on the first floor of Fountain Plaza in downtown Buffalo. The clan is not new to the fitness business. Its 13 G&G Fitness stores sell equipment in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Much of the equipment ready for use at the new Buffalo facility bears the brand name “Gronk Fitness.”

“We liked how the city was making a big comeback,” said Dan Gronkowski, who like three of his four Amherst-raised brothers played in the NFL.

He and his brother Gordie, formerly a professional baseball player, towered over the curious invitees having a look-see on Saturday, a few hours before the ribbon-cutting attended by perhaps the most famous Gronkowski, Rob of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

While Buffalo’s revival helped with the decision to put a NexGen downtown, Dan Gronkowski, who still lives in the area, said he expects the brothers will open perhaps a few more in Greater Buffalo.

“A lot of people are starting to look for this kind of training, and taking care of themselves more, with everything going on,” he said. “In Buffalo, we could see about three or four.”

Depending on how things go, they might open some in other cities, they said.

“We just wanted to start here in our hometown,” said Gordie Gronkowski. “I mean, this is where we really learned values.”

Their first NexGen site contains a post-exercise recovery area – NexGen Recovery – with infrared saunas and a “Himalayan salt room” featuring soft lighting, zero-gravity recliners and a floor carpeted with salt. The salt ions are good for the skin, respiration and recovery, said Bryan Whatley, NexGen’s founder and CEO.

Time in the recovery area can be booked separately even by folks not there to work out, Whatley said. He sees it as a place where, say, a company’s leadership team might want to relax and strategize.

Whatley opened the first NexGen Fitness in Frisco, Texas, about 10 years ago. Now that franchises are offered, 18 are either open or in development in four states, according to the company’s website.

Whatley said he has known the Gronkowskis for years and has a 20% stake in the Buffalo studio. The brothers hold the remaining 80%. When it opens for good sometime before June 1, it will not sell memberships but instead sell private training sessions in the neighborhood of $50 each.

While there are just two private-training rooms, anyone with unused sessions can drop in to use the cardio room – small when compared to a typical gym floor – without an appointment or an extra fee.

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