New Haven's mActivity: For Mind, Body And Soul
Walk through the doors of mActivity and you might ask, “Where’s the gym?”
In the sun-drenched front area of this Valhalla of wellness in the East Rock section of New Haven, you might see people curled up with a book in a leather sofa in its living room-like setting, or seated in a pair of chairs chatting, or hunched over their laptops at a work table. Look to the left and there might be a group in the conference area planning a community event. Feeling peckish? There’s a cafe and a wooden bar area, too – open to the public – that serves wraps, salads and snacks. There might even be musicians performing out front.
Sure, there are rows of treadmills, stair-climbers, ellipticals, rowing machines and cross-trainers, too, way off in the distance. But visitors first walk past the curated art exhibit, a physical therapy area, an office for nutritional coaching, and banquettes designed for tête-à-têtes.
Once in the gym area, open a few doors and find yoga or Zumba classes, Pilates sessions and cycling rooms with screens that offer virtual landscapes. Changing rooms feature both sauna and steam relief.
For nearly three years now, mActivity’s 18,000 square feet of converted light industrial space at 285 Nicoll St. has become a holistic wellness center for mind, body and spirit.
“It’s the whole package,” says member Ian Huelke, a personal trainer from New London who has clients in New Haven. “You have everything you need. But it’s also the atmosphere. It has a kind of charisma.”
Research to Reality
The idea of a different kind of fitness center began six years ago when Burch Valldejuli and Pablo Perez, who both grew up in the area, started talking about combining their skills, experience and vision.