Hercules Xpress is located at 79-43 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village. The gym opened in October 2005, at first meant to be a men-only gym. Because women were calling and asking about memberships for themselves, Hercules became a co-ed gym on January 1, 2007. Within 8 months, almost 30% of its membership consisted of women who were looking for a workout which is a little different than those offered at other gyms that cater only to women.

Sal Candela, owner of Hercules Xpress, told me that he has been in the fitness industry for 30 years, working full time at New York Health and Racquet Club. About four years ago, he had to a have stent placed in his heart. This motivated him to develop a workout that combined cardio with strength training. He also saw a tremendous need for men 35 and older who want to work out but “didn't have the time”. Hence, the 30-minute workout.

Sal’s two sons, Sal, Jr. and Patrick, are an integral part of Hercules. Both are certified trainers. Sal, Jr. handles all the marketing work and Patrick handles the personal training work. Patrick will work with a new member, helping them figure out how much weight they can work with at each machine. He teaches form and monitors machine usage. All you have to do is show up!

Dominic Tolipani, the morning manager, is a marathon runner who gets up at 4:00 a.m. every day to run, then goes to the gym to open up, doing his own workout early in the morning.

I belong to Hercules. I joined in May of this year. I can say that Sal Sr. and Patrick are very attentive and helpful. They know their stuff and can help you learn quickly how to use the machines to your best advantage.

The gym itself is clean and upbeat. It is professionally run. The workout is geared toward men and women who lead busy lives and can only fit in 30 minutes work out. All you need to do is go at least three days a week and you will feel a difference.

The bulk of Hercules’ membership consists of men and women aged 35-55. Sal tells me he has two members in their 80’s and several who are between 15-17 years old. He also has some husband and wife teams who work out together!

Sal and his family have lived in Middle Village for 25 years. His kids all attended local schools, including his daughter, Sophia.

I suggest giving Hercules a try. You can have a one-week free trial with no obligation to join. Hercules makes it very easy to get healthy. They are open on Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They are only closed four days a year. For the other 361 days, they are there for you, to help you take your first steps toward better health.