“Great workout! Watch your head!” Romeo Gousse yells at one of his clients as she exits his brand-new fitness studio. He’s not worried about careless kettlebell swingers; he’s addressing the fact that his clients have to get used to ducking their heads as they descend or ascend the concrete stairs to his (literally) underground space.
Gousse opened Right Fit NY on the same block as Blue Ribbon in the West Village, underneath a glowing psychic sign, last month. He was a longtime trainer at the Printing House, and one of his loyal clients of 10 years, investment banker Diane Wright, agreed to back his business.
“People love the secret, hidden aspect in New York,” she says. “You get the feeling that you’re getting a more personal experience.”
Despite being subterranean, Right Fit is actually spacious, with two rooms full of functional training equipment like the aforementioned kettlebells, plus battle ropes, medicine balls, and boxing gear—with gloves stored in an oven leftover from a former bakery.
There’s also a small bodywork table for a physical therapist who’s on site three times a week, and a backyard that just got decked out with a pull-up bar and a giant tire (use TBD).
Right Fit offers personal training and two small group classes: Core-Fit, a full-body interval training class, and Core-Boxing. After trying out a Core-Fit class, it was easy to see why people would follow Gousse—he’s a smart, supportive, and fun trainer, with creative, unexpected exercises built into a functional approach. (Think throwing a medicine ball while standing on a Bosu or “skating” on a slide board in fabric booties.)
In addition to his tight-knit following, the low-level space serves another purpose. “Trainers from larger gyms usually aren’t allowed to teach within a few miles of their gyms,” he says, smiling. “But his place is so hidden, it’s not like anyone’s going to be walking by and noticing them.” —Lisa Elaine Held