R&T: Keeping fit for 40 years

Family owned health and fitness club

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  • Shawn Benson, of Lincoln Park, uses R&T's Stepper Machine Photos provided by R&T

  • Vinney Franko, of Newton, feeling the burn

  • Rita Pecorello, of Newton, works out at R&T

  • Linda Zazalli, of Hampton, on the treadmill

by Laurie Gordon

— R&T Nautilus Fitness is the name to know around the Newton area for top-quality equipment, excellent personal training and superb information about nutrition. Constant attention to detail, keeping up on the latest equipment and classes, and really getting to know their clientele has kept R&T thriving for just shy of 40 years.

“Our full-service health and fitness club is family owned and operated,” said co-owner Robin Ball. “We are dedicated to helping you achieve the healthy body you always wanted by doing the right exercises in the right sequence to achieve your individual goals. Myself and my co-owner, Terri Dicks, have decades of fitness experience and are extremely knowledgeable about all the equipment supplied in our gym.”

The gym got its start in a strip mall on Route 206 about two minutes from its current location. It quickly outgrew that location and moved to the location it's been in since at 190 Halsey Road. Back then, racquet ball was all the rage, and its courts were a big draw. In the mid 80s, the gym merged with Olympus Gym, but when the larger conglomerate went bankrupt, Ball partnered with Dicks and they've had a booming 12-year alliance at the helm of R&T.

“We've had members that have been here for years and years,” Dicks said. “People get to know each other, and most come in around the same time, so if someone isn't there, a call or a text goes out from the group to make sure they're ok. It's a great gym community. We feel that we have a different. More down-to-earth environment than the big chains and such a great variety of people who are members. Our eldest member is 90 years old.”

“A good base and a lot of loyal members has been our cornerstone,” Ball said. “We are also the official gym of the Sussex County Miners and work with students from many of the local high schools. We also work with a number of local physical therapists and chiropractors so that when people are done with their care there or need augmented work, we can help.”

What R&T is not is a 24-hour gym.

“Relying on a skeleton staff or even worse, simply video cameras, isn't what we're all about,” Ball said. “Being open to us means being fully staffed and ready to assist our members. We feel our hours work into most people's schedules and we are here to accommodate our members' needs.”

Membership includes everything, including childcare. The only extra is the Pilates Reformers.

Said Dicks, “We stay the course and upgrade when needed. You know what you're getting here.”

Treadmills are always popular, as are the gym's Nautilus machines.

“We make sure that people are doing exercises and using the equipment properly," Ball said. "That's so important. The wrong position or the wrong sequence of exercises can be detrimental rather than beneficial.”

“We also accommodate our members,” Dicks said. “One example is that when we saw an influx of power lifters coming in, so we purchased the special equipment they needed.”

R&T is there for the community and is also very much a part of it. The gym does an annual tree lighting in memory of one of their dedicated trainers, Donna Lentini Scheibner, and donates to many local charities and tricky trays.

Said Ball, “We know our members and they know us and a lot of people have been with us for years. You can't ask for a better recommendation than that. We love serving this community.”

Hours are Monday through Thursday, 5 am to 11 pm; Friday, 5 am to 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 7 am to 4 pm. R&T Nautilus Fitness is located at 190 Halsey Road in Newton. For a full listing of membership packages and classes, visit: www.rtnautilus.com.

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