Article by: Sallie Graziano – nj.com
When HealthQuest opened its doors 15 years ago, “people used to come and go for a workout,” General Manager Wade Williams said recently.
A lot has changed since then. A cafe now offers healthy food options. Athletes can develop their skills through programs including the Parisi Speed School, USA Gymnastics and USA Swim, the Jack Cust Baseball Academy and Jenny Finch Softball Academy.
There are more than 150 group fitness classes each week for adults and kids, and family-oriented programs. The facility itself just went through a major renovation.
One more expansion is in the planning stages. HealthQuest owner Jack Cust has presented plans to redevelop the Union Hotel area in Flemington, and “when we develop Main Street, we’ll probably have a HealthQuest annex there,” he said.
At the current facility, it’s not unusual for a family of grandparents, parents and kids to arrive at HealthQuest together, said Williams. “Then they all go their separate ways, and meet back up to eat.”
“There’s something for everyone,” said Faith Cust, Jack’s wife.
The Custs developed HealthQuest after seeing the need. “In the community, there wasn’t a place of this nature to go,” said Faith Cust. Their boys trained at Gold’s Gym in Flemington, and “as they got involved in fitness, I got involved,” she said. Jack did accounting work for the Newtown (Pa.) Athletic Club, and that gave them the idea of trying something like that in Hunterdon. “We had a model we could take ideas from,” Faith Cust said.
“So many things change in this industry,” said Assistant Manager Lisa Carlson. “But what’s remained steady is HealthQuest has always been a community place.”
As industry trends have changed, HealthQuest has adjusted. The Fitness Center now has “connected cardio” equipment, where people can pull up a TV program, different races, the internet, or training monitors.
“We’ve been able to do little boutique-type studios within the club,” added Carlson.
The Mind-Body studio offers yoga and mat Pilates classes in a sound-proofed room to limit distraction. Four types of martial arts are taught. The Integrated Medicine studio has services including acupuncture and massage. The Preva studio provides a personalized fitness experience complete with internet, on-demand video, program tracking and more.
Spinning is popular at HealthQuest, and its new MyRide studio features Keiser bikes and a forward-projection big screen that adds scenery to the rides. The Pilates Studio has Pilates Reformer equipment for individual training or small-group classes.
“Small-group training has been another change in the industry,” Carlson said. HealthQuest’s classes include GRIT 30-minute workouts, Booty Barre, and Women on Weights.
Staff training and enthusiasm make everything work, said Carlson. National programs like USA Swim “speak to quality of the training and the facility,” she said.
Kids haven’t been left out of the mix. The Sports Center has a KidZone for ages 7 to 13, and there’s a Monkey Place jungle gym maze for youngsters. In a Homework Helpers program from 4 to 7 p.m., “good students from the area serve as mentors and tutors,” said Williams. “They help them out, then get them to their programs. It’s part of our childcare package.”
There’s more to come. Planned programs include Mission Fit, hardcore functional training offered in a two-week blitz that Williams likens to an outdoor boot camp, and Sound off Yoga.
“It’s in Manhattan, in Hong Kong and now at HealthQuest,” said Carlson. People gather by the club’s outdoor pool and don headphones, through which they hear music and the instructor’s voice. Afterward there are adult cocktails and food.
HealthQuest draws members from as far away as Somerset, Bucks and Warren counties. It’s been named by the club industry as among the top 100 health clubs nationwide for the last eight years.
Jack Cust isn’t surprised. “That’s how we built it,” he said. “Great facilities, a great staff, and a great community.”