Transformative wellness center opens in Glen Head

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Sam Balooch has had a fascination with fitness since he was four years old. Before moving to the U.S. from Iran at age nine, he would have his father buy him stacks of health and wellness magazines. He would tear out clippings of bodybuilders and arrange them on his dining room table to study the complexity of each muscle group and stare in wonder at the amply built athletes.

“I was just in awe of what these guys looked like and how they would do this,” said Balooch, of Sea Cliff. “Fitness and health has been a lifelong obsession for me.”

Balooch has worked in the health and wellness field for nearly 20 years, both with personal clients and in high-end fitness centers like Equinox. He has a business degree from Hofstra University and is a certified personal trainer. Prompted by his childhood interests, he once trained as a bodybuilder, and earned a pro card from the International Natural Bodybuilding Association.

His passions inspired him to found Helix & Gene, a genomics company that provides patients with a personalized workout and nutrition regiment based on their DNA. In the past five years Balooch and his team have trained over 3,000 patients in the program. Last month, the group opened a center in Glen Head to offer all its services under one roof.

“What we do here fits such a need that does not really exist,” he said. “I’m proud to say nobody does what we do.”

Below the courts of the Glen Head Racquet Club is the Helix & Gene wellness center, predicated on the slogan “train your mind, change your body.” Here, the company’s program comes to life. Patients engage in a three-month-long wellness routine that includes a three-week detox, personalized fitness training, custom meal plans and supplements and nutritional coaching. Over 10 people have already signed up.

“It’s a concierge service that allows the patient to feel they’re being guided and taught how to eat and train the right way,” Balooch said.

Helix & Gene’s director of nutrition, Lori Graham, said the company’s DNA collection kit “connects the dots,” by providing patients with vital information that helps them make smarter fitness and nutrition choices and ensure a more sustainable wellness lifestyle.

“People are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,” Graham said, “and because we work so closely and personally with our patients, that relationship will get them to be open to working more naturally with [us].”

Jon Siskind, of Old Westbury, was looking for an effective regiment to help him slim down before his 50th birthday. “I’ve done various things to get in to better shape, and was recommended to Sam and his team for a different approach,” he said.

Siskind explained that he underwent a “mentality adjustment” during his first month at the Helix & Gene wellness center. He was assigned a fitness coach, Denise, and a nutritionist, Melinda, to keep him on track with his diet and workout plans. They keep in touch with him via text multiple times a day.

Since the program is food-based, Graham said, it enables patients to reconnect with and trust foods they’re eating to ultimately feel in control of their bodies. “When we personalize it for people, they exercise with purpose,” she said. “They exercise in a way that doesn’t thwart the diet [itself].”

In a month and a half, Siskind lost 30 pounds. He attributes his success to the program’s life coach approach, which prioritizes wellness over weight-loss. “Every day you wake up you feel like a different person,” he said.

Patients who enroll in the Helix & Gene wellness center get a DNA kit, scale, heart rate monitor, personalized supplements, 12-week fitness and nutrition coaching and weekly nutrition and training consultations for a cost of $2,000. Siskind said, “It’s a very inexpensive thing to do with priceless returns.”

“This is a real method that you can learn and get empowered by to really transform yourself,” Balooch said. And as their slogan indicates, “we teach you to train your mind so you can change your body.” For more information, visit www.hgwellnessgroup.com.