When everyone was stuck inside during the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Stephane Rony Casseus made sure his fellow Elmont residents had access to physical fitness training by opening a gym in his garage on May 26.
He was inspired to do so, he said, because he saw people try to “transform their bodies” and make themselves healthier at a gym across the street from his house when he was a child living in Haiti. He was never able to attend the gym, however, Casseus recounted, because his mother thought it was “too dangerous.”
So, after he moved to Elmont and worked for Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages for seven years, he decided it was time to open up a gym of his own for Elmont residents to improve their health during the pandemic.
Casseus, 23, now has more than 50 clients who visit the gym in his garage on a regular basis for personal training sessions, which cost $35 per hour or $100 per month.
“A lot of people started training” during the pandemic because they had the time and opportunity, Casseus said, and knew they had to maintain their health.
As part of the personal training sessions, Casseus conditions his clients in activities such as boxing lessons, weights, running and push-ups. Over the summers, he also uses his entire backyard for strength training programs, like pushing a tire around, and teaches personal nutrition classes.
“It was good to work out in the winter,” said Marvin Mondesir, who had a training session with his brother, Kevin, on Feb. 24,, during which Casseus turned on some music and coached the Mondesirs in their push-ups, before starting their boxing lessons.
“I’m trying to find a good system,” Casseus, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said, but added that he has enjoyed running his own gym over the past year.