As of the time of printing, Sport of Iron is providing online workouts.
If you want to get healthy in body and mind, the experts say strength training is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Better circulation, heart health, flexibility, and the reduction of life-threatening abdominal fat are among the benefits that you’d expect; and then there’s what happens to your mind when you earn the self-esteem that comes with accomplishment.
Brain health and bone strength are especially improved for older adults; it’s a life sport that’s known to be life-enhancing.
“Great,” you say, “but how would I start? And aren’t strength training gyms competitive places where a beginner will feel silly, maybe judged?” Not at Sport of Iron in Kingston, where an experienced competitor and trainer, who also happens to be a warm and friendly soul, is building a fitness center like no other in the area.
At 4,000 square feet, the group fitness space is the largest in the region.
“I try my best to nurture and cultivate everyone of every skill level who comes in looking to begin or continue. The environment is incredibly friendly and supportive of all people.”
–Matthew Santiago, owner
Matthew Santiago first fell in love with feats of strength and humming endorphins in his parents’ Kerhonkson basement at age 15, while hanging out with his friends. In his senior year at Rondout Valley High School, he was offered the opportunity to participate in the WISE Individualized Senior Experience Program. Students are encouraged to pursue their passions, and Matthew chose to get certified as a personal trainer, compete in a bodybuilding show, and do independent research on nutrition.
“We offer over 25 classes a week, and the number continues to grow—everything from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training, great for cardio and fat burn) to STRONG (weight-resistance training to help improve strength and muscle tone).”
WISE is all about helping kids get set for careers, and, in Matthew’s case, it worked like a charm. “I was catapulted into my first real job, at a gym, and I loved it,” he says. “I really never looked back.”
In 2009, he founded his own personal training business, Ataraxis Health and Fitness. (“Ataraxis” means a mental state free from anxiety, and that has always been a fundamental part of the goal.) Ten years later, in 2019, he discovered a Kingston gym that he absolutely loved.
“Sport of Iron had so much to offer beyond any other gym in the area,” Matthew says. “After I was working out there for about six months, the owners decided they were interested in selling, and it all just sort of fell into place after that.”
Sport of Iron specializes in two areas: group fitness and strength training. “We recently won 2019 Best Group Fitness in the Hudson Valley, and couldn’t be more psyched about that!” says Matthew.
“We offer over 25 classes a week, and the number continues to grow—everything from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training, great for cardio and fat burn) to STRONG (weight-resistance training to help improve strength and muscle tone).” At 4,000 square feet, the group fitness space is the largest in the region.
“We also have youth athletics programs,” says Matthew, “and we’re constantly running specialty programs for the members to target specific areas of fitness. Two recent specialty programs—Ataraxis Elite Athletics (an adult athletics program) and Uppercut (an upper body strengthening and toning program)—were a huge success.”
Sport of Iron’s strength training facilities and equipment are top-of-the-line, with esoteric barbells such as the Ohio Power Bar, Texas Squat Bar, and Texas Deadlift Bar. “We are the only gym in the area with this equipment,” Matthew says. “We have equipment for elite powerlifters, strongmen, bodybuilders, and Olympic weightlifters.”
“We are the only gym in the area with this equipment. We have equipment for elite powerlifters, strongmen, bodybuilders, and Olympic weightlifters.”
But even if you aren’t in one of those categories, you and your whole family will find a warm welcome at Sport of Iron. “We have people in their early- to mid-70s come in looking to get into group fitness to powerlifting,” Matthew says. “I try my best to nurture and cultivate everyone of every skill level who comes in looking to begin or continue. The environment is incredibly friendly and supportive of all people.”
If you want to get healthy and astonish yourself, stop in at Sport of Iron, where challenges are overcome on a daily basis. You never know what you can change until you try.
Becoming a business owner has put Matthew into an entirely different kind of strength training program, as he works on finding the right balance between his passion and generous heart and making Sport of Iron profitable—a struggle most businesses can relate to in one way or another. But in this, as in the sport he loves, he’s relentless. “I’m usually here between 8 to 14 hours every single day besides Sundays. I personal train, work the desk, and teach classes on occasion. I really do love being here and have trouble leaving at the end of the day.
The staff know ‘I’m leaving right now’ usually means I’ll be walking out the door in about an hour or two.” So if you want to get healthy and astonish yourself, stop in at Sport of Iron, where challenges are overcome on a daily basis. You never know what you can change until you try. “When I was younger, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder,” Matthew says, “and, although nowadays I question whether or not that’s actually true, back then it really made me extremely thankful to have what I did in regards to my body. I truly love helping people to use their bodies in ways they may have not even thought possible and being a part of that discovery process.”
sport of iron
120 Route 28, Kingston 845-853-8189