After being diagnosed with a rare kidney disease early last year, most people would have expected Matthew Greco to slow down. But he did just the opposite.
When he heard that Jesse Swenk was going to sell his gym, Defined Health and Fitness, Mr. Greco approached his wife, Christina, about possibly purchasing it and their journey from gym members to owners began.
“We actually spent a couple of months praying about it, just seeing if it was God’s direction and will for us and as we prayed about it, over those couple of months, we had a real peace about it and felt it was the right thing for us,” Mr. Greco said.
Defined Health and Fitness is located in the lower level of the East Wind Hotel in Wading River. It is open Monday through Friday from 6 .am to 9 pm, Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm and Sundays 8 am to 3 pm The gym was formally located in the King Kullen shopping center.
The final decision for the purchase had been made in November and by early December the new location for the gym had been selected. However, the work was just beginning for the family who has lived in Wading River since 2019. They started tearing down walls, removing carpets and painting. One month later, by Jan. 24, the gym was open. ms. Greco credits her husband for building the gym from the ground up.
“He built it with his own two hands,” she said.
mr. Greco said his disease was an important factor in the decision to purchase the gym and the work he did there helped him get through difficult moments.
“It became an escape of sorts, to kind of reset my mind and do something else,” he said. “It was really cool and a huge dream fulfilled.”
The gym has over 65 machines, including treadmills and spin bikes. They offer classes every day of the week, sometimes up to three classes a day. They have various membership options with the pricing varying by contract or month to month. For more information, visit mydefinedfitness.com.
mr. Greco has been a pastor at Real Life Church in Wading River for 10 years and Ms. Greco has been a regional administrative assistant at The Arbors Assisted Living Communities for 16 years. They view their work at the gym as a continuation of the work they do in the community, according to Mr. Greco.
“It was really just going to continue to be an extension of who we already are in this community, and allow us to do what we love doing, which is impacting people’s lives, doing life with people, building relationships, that’s the heartbeat of what we do,” he said.
As both have full-time jobs outside of owning the gym, keeping the gym operational was also a family affair. The couple’s children, Skye, Matthew and Cali, all help out at the gym.
“It’s a job for us right now,” Ms. Greco said. “Yes, it’s a lot, but when you find something that you’re passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work … so I’m grateful for that.”
Skye, 18, balances college and helping at the gym. Although it can be very long hours, she enjoys working there because she likes getting to know the community better.
“All the people that come to our gym, all of the new members that come into our gym, they’re all so welcoming, so nice, so sweet,” she said. “Running it and being there most of the day is so nice.”
That warmth from the community is what differentiates Defined Health and Fitness from any other gym, Mr. Greco said.
“You can go to Planet Fitness, and you’ll get more equipment, you’ll get better equipment, because there’s more money in their business,” Mr. Greco said. “But you’re not going to get the people that care for you and the community that cares for you the way that you’ll find here at Defined.”