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Pumping up for healthy hearts at AB Fitness Center

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Weights smacked to the ground, loud workout music filled the air and people dropped into push-ups at the first annual Great American Heart Charity Workout.

AB Fitness Center on East Meadow Avenue hosted four back-to-back 30-minute workout sessions to raise funds for The American Heart Association on Feb. 16, honoring National Heart Month. Every $50-session contributed to raising awareness of heart disease. Nearly 610,000 people die from heart disease in the United States every year – that's one in every four deaths.

“Heart disease is one of the leading killers in America so we just wanted to fight back and do our part to help the community,” explained AB Fitness Center owner Anthony Bevilacqua. “Overall [workouts] help you lose body fat, gain some muscle, get your life back, and help prevent any of these diseases. Especially for women, osteoporosis is one of the leading causes for a lot of aches and pains, so this is something that combats that as well as coronary heart disease.”

Cryo Health, Bite My Cookies, and Bagelicious all volunteered their services for the event.

The weightlifters started at 10 a.m. and went on until noon. Some stayed for 30 minutes, and some pushed through for the full hour. The trainers encouraged everyone to put in their best effort by saying things like, “Come on, guys, this is for charity. Give me five more push-ups.”

The plan was to have everyone work out, raise funds and then relax with a bagel, a cookie and some physical therapy. Cryo Health volunteered its nitrogen gas treatment for anyone working out to alleviate pain. They would target areas of the body where there was inflammation or injury from working out all in a matter of three to seven minutes. This was helpful for everyone taking part in the intense workouts.

Michael Rotondo, a representative from Cryotherapy, explained how its treatment could benefit athletes. “The machine we brought today is used for specific areas of your body, so if your shoulder or your elbow is hurting we just target it specifically with this,” he said.

His associate, Anthony Galeotafiore, broke down the scientific side of he treatment. “So, basically, it’s liquid nitrogen in the tank. A heating element heats the liquid and turns into a gas,” Galeotafiore explained. “Nitrogen vapor comes out, and you use it to replace an ice pack. The temperature is -150 degrees, where an ice pack is 32.”

Originally the goal was to raise $2,500, but through the help of their community, they raised $4,372 towards charity.

Louie Galeotafiore, one of the participants, wanted to lose some body fat and do cryotheraphy. “They had another even like this for New Years for the community to kind of get everyone together and talk about fitness and health,” he said. “It was great.”