Jeff Halevy, the handsome, muscled trainer who dishes out fitness advice alongside Joy Bauer’s nutrition know-how on the Today Show, is really confident in his approach to getting people fit.
So confident, in fact, that he has a new policy at his gym, Halevy Life: If you don’t get in shape in three months, he’ll refund your membership. “We’re, at least as far as I know, the only gym on earth that has a money-back guarantee,” he says.
Halevy launched the policy when he opened his sleek new gym on 57th Street at the end of 2014. The impressive space, a former art gallery, has 17-foot ceilings and marble floors, and houses Olympic lifting platforms, lots of other functional training equipment, a pretty yoga space, and chic private bathrooms with showers.
He was inspired to create the policy, he says, because when people don’t meet their fitness goals, they’re often made to think it was their fault, when it might have been the fault of an unskilled trainer or poorly designed workout program. “It’s always thrown back on the client,” he says.
Here’s how it works: You’re required to commit to training three times a week for three months, and have to make your sessions at least 85 percent of the time. When you start, you’re evaluated on five measures: lean mass, fat mass, cardiopulmonary fitness, movement capacity (mobility and flexibility), and strength. “We do thorough testing in all five of those areas,” Halevy explains. “After 90 days, if you haven’t improved in at least three out of five of those areas, I’ll write you a check on the spot and give you your money back.”
And no, he’s not worried that you’ll only eat pizza between training sessions. Because even if you do, he says, his highly trained “coaches” (they’re all required to have a BS in exercise science and at least one internship or job working with a collegiate or pro sports team) and carefully designed program will still ensure you improve in three areas (just maybe not pizza-influenced fat mass), he says.
It definitely felt like that would be the case in my training session, which included sprints on a treadmill, corrective exercises to help with core strength and movement patterns, serious strength training with dead lifts and pull-ups, and a metabolic conditioning circuit that left me completely spent. (The trainers’ education was obvious, too. I’ve never experienced so many carefully explained corrections to form and references to things like glycogen and scapulas in a first workout.)
So, sure, the promise of a refund is gimmicky. But it doesn’t seem like Halevy will be going bankrupt writing his clients checks anytime soon, either. —Lisa Elaine Held
Halevy Life, 212 E. 57th St., between Second and Third Aves., Midtown East, www.halevylife.com