Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

PITTSFIELD — Have you skipped leg day?

You're not alone. Most of us have. Pandemics are like that, interrupting workouts everywhere.

No matter your exercise of choice at the gym, be it Pilates, cycling class, weights or some combination of the above, all of us have taken a hit.

Jim Ramondetta, owner of Berkshire Nautilus, wants you to know that his downtown gym, serving the Berkshires since the mid-1980s, is open and ready to meet your exercise needs, with classes, personal training and a wide array of machines all cleaned and maintained to keep you healthy and performing at your maximum.

The difference between Berkshire Nautilus and cookie-cutter mega-gyms is the people, says Ramondetta, who runs the family business with his wife, Jamie, and daughter, Rebecca, and a small team of dedicated employees.

"We like to bring more of a personal or community feel to the club. Many of the people who are members have been members for years, and we invite newcomers to check us out, too," says Ramondetta.

Slimmed down, squeaky clean and ready to go

The gym has been open just over a month, and Ramondetta and his team have redesigned the facility around strict COVID-19 prevention guidelines, says Ramondetta.

Social distancing requirements have machines now at least 6 feet apart, says Ramondetta, and masks are required for staff and members alike. Treadmills and other cardio equipment on the first floor are partitioned off for a no-mask cardio exercise area.

For disinfection, Berkshire Nautilus has put into place a system that begins with its employees, who clean before opening, throughout the day and after closing.

Next, the gym issues a towel to each gym user as they prepare to begin their workout; that towel stays with them, and they use it to clean and wipe down the exercise machines before and after every use. Each workout station is equipped with its own disinfectant spray bottle, and staff will be reminding members to pre- and post-clean.

"From start to finish, the equipment is totally disinfected," says Ramondetta. If a cleaning bottle is on top of a machine, that's the cue that it's been cleaned, he says.

These are requirements designed to keep everyone safe and healthy, says Ramondetta.

"If we see someone not doing it, we advise them of it, and it's the same with masks. Most people are respectful of that," says Ramondetta.

Classes and personal training are on

Post-reopening, Berkshire Nautilus is offering personal trainers — albeit at 6-foot distances, except for a quick spot for a weightlifter — and there are about 15 different classes available across the weekly schedule.

Recognizing the need to ease people back into their former or new exercise routines, the gym is adjusting the cost for membership, with a "Welcome Back" special of three months for $99; or a "no commitment" automatic withdrawal, at $30 monthly, with a one-time-only $49 enrollment fee. There are memberships for longer periods, if customers prefer, and the gym does per-use punch cards and walk-ins, too.

Sure, it's a fair price, but why pay that when there are gyms that offer $10-a-month memberships? At Berkshire Nautilus, there are no hidden fees. All memberships include full use of the gym's current facilities. "We're not a single-dimension club. We offer classes, personal training and a 16,000-square-foot facility, which offers space for everybody."

So, who is "everybody" anyway? What kind of clientele are we talking about? Businessmen and women? Moms and dads? High school and college kids? Bodybuilders and lifters? Runners? Senior citizens?

"You will not walk into Berkshire Nautilus and feel intimidated because `everybody' is a combination of all the above and more. All fitness levels. We are a gym for all people," says Ramondetta.

All walks of life

He says people from all walks of life are members or regular users, and they've come to expect a certain level of professional service from Berkshire Nautilus. No problem, says Ramondetta, who not only knows working out, but understands the human body and movement, with a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's in exercise science.

"That's the expertise you get here. We get members who are post-op, cardiac rehab, as well as athletes. We want all people to feel welcome and safe, and productive in terms of getting them where they want to be," says Ramondetta.

Diversity has long existed in the membership and staff, says Ramondetta.

"We welcome all makes and models, all fitness levels, all sizes and all ages."

To help reach members' physical fitness goals, Berkshire Nautilus offers a variety of classes including Serious Cycle (temporarily down from 30 bikes to 10 bikes to meet COVID-19 regulations), Yoga, Boot Camp, Basic Weights, Mixed Interval Training and Pilates. These are scheduled at optimum times for busy people, such as before work hours and during lunch.

Hours are curtailed but still convenient, too, open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Feeling good while helping others feel good

At 63, Ramondetta continues his own daily workouts without fail. He continues to do personal training, helping others in all walks of life to achieve their own individual goals.

Though this is the toughest business environment he's seen since the 1980s, Ramondetta already is watching his gym population return — first the younger folks and gradually the older. He knows members and newcomers soon will feel comfortable enough to go out and hit the weights or treadmill.

Moreover, as the weather gets less hospitable, Berkshirites will be pining for a good sweat indoors, instead of a cold sweat outside in fall winds.

Although training on one's own can be an option for some, says Ramondetta, decades of experience has shown him the remarkable value of training at Berkshire Nautilus, with its professional staff and encouraging community of members and friends.

To meet the Berkshire Nautilus family, call 413-499-1217 or email contact@berkshirenautilus.com.


TALK TO US

If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us.
We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.