GLENS FALLS -- Core Fitness, a gym recently opened on Washington Street, hopes to improve more than just the shape of its members.
The owners also hope to improve the shape of the planet by using green materials and workout equipment that generates clean energy.
Core is the first fitness facility in upstate New York to utilize technology created by The Green Revolution that captures energy from cycling classes and converts it to electricity that helps power the studio.
When members pedal any one of the 26 exercise bicycles in the studio, the "human electricity" generated by their workouts is sent to the building's electrical grid to power everything from the lights to the air conditioning.
"Core believes that a fit body and a fit planet can contribute to the health of our environment and our community," said co-owner Sonja Balcom. "And now, our cycling enthusiasts will have an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution by energizing their workouts."
James Whelan is the owner of The Green Revolution, the company that creates the inverters that are attached to the bikes. He said a typical rider can generate 100 watts of electricity per spinning class.
With full classes, the studio has the potential to produce more than three megawatts of energy a year, enough to power about 72 average-sized homes for a month. The bikes would also reduce carbon emissions by more than 5,000 pounds.
Each bike has its own resistance control panel so the rider can adjust the intensity of his or her workout - and the amount of energy produced. During classes, a large display shows participants how much energy they have produced, a number instructors have found to be a good motivator.
"Thursday's class made 500 watts; let's crush that," said instructor Jerry Hicks to his class.
Members of the gym agree that trying to make as much energy as possible helps keep them motivated.
"It is the most motivational thing you can find," said gym member Michelle Goglia. "I get the workout I need at my age, with the low impact, and I'm helping the environment. It's perfect."
Core's owners said the spin classes work for almost all fitness levels, a statement that 65-year-old Goglia agreed with. But the gym does offer six other classes to help members reach fitness goals.
The classes are just part of the gym's broader mission of combining both healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyles to improve the community.
The gym was built under the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council, using recycled materials whenever possible. The owners also sought out gym equipment locally to reduce the impact of long-distance shipping.
"This has just always been a dream of ours," said co-owner Joanne DeTore. "We really have met our goal of providing physical fitness and helping with the health of our planet.