More than Just a Gym–Bridge Athletics is Back and Bigger than Ever

Bridge Athletics Cross Fit // Photo by Lila Taylor

In 2014, Montclair residents were introduced to Greg Lawley and the Bridge Athletics team, who brought a new Cross Fit community to the town. Now, two years into their run, Bridge Athletics has opened up a bigger and better space, and its talented trainers are ready to get more people moving. 

On March 16th, amid the beginning of the pandemic, and shortly after moving into its new location at 130 Valley Road, Bridge Athletics was forced to close its doors.  The gym was merely weeks away from its planned April 1st grand opening event, preparing to showcase its new 3,000 square foot space to its community of clients. But despite the initial setback, Greg and his team have carried the same passion and energy for strength and health into this new COVID-19 era. The Montclair Dispatch had the pleasure to speak with Greg Lawley about the new gym. 

Gregory Lawley and His Proud Parents // Photo Courtesy of Greg Lawley
Gregory Lawley and his proud parents // Photo Courtesy of Greg Lawley

The bigger location brought new opportunities for Bridge Athletics. Greg explained that his Cross Fit coaching team has also welcomed new in-house partners, whose offices and workspaces are located within the 180 Valley building. 

“Our new partners include Eric Rosenberger of Synthesis Wealth Planning, who offers guidance regarding financial wellness. We have a new health movement coach, Jen Gabel, whose studio is located in the annex of the gym, as well as Patrick Barcenilla of Ache 78, who provides massage and sports therapy.” 

Bridge Athletics’ Beautiful Client Lounge Space // Photo by Lila Taylor

With the current health crisis, the team remains cautious, abiding by all government mandated guidelines. Greg emphasized that the Bridge Athletics’ safety measures are “above and beyond, with constant sanitizing and washing of equipment”

As businesses are starting to reopen, Greg is eager to have some sense of normality in his gym.

Bridge Athletics Strength and Conditioning Space // Photo by Lila Taylor

“We are open six days a week, and we are there to help clients with strength and conditioning, challenging themselves, and building a better version of you.”

Greg finds that the bigger gym space has provided a higher quality workout experience for clients, without sacrificing the authentic sense of community that Bridge Athletics has fostered. And despite the pandemic’s fallout, the gym has maintained its strong base, whether clients choose to participate in one on one workouts, smaller group sessions, or zoom workouts. And, as of the beginning of July, Bridge Athletics has been holding open-air classes in the mornings and evenings in the parking lot of The George Hotel, at 37 North Mountain Ave. Prior to this, outdoor courses were being offered in the parking lot of Tierney’s Tavern, next door to the gym. These uneasy times have certainly taught us that it does in fact, take a village.

In light of the pandemic, Montclair businesses are truly banding together in the face of extraordinary changes. The Montclair Dispatch spoke with Scott Kennedy, CEO of Studio042, about Greg, Bridges Athletics, and their place in the community. “Greg certainly is right for Montclair, he has the energy and commitment to run a small business and has the charisma to be inspiring in the personal training arena. I will be supporting him where I can and I encourage my community to stand shoulder to shoulder with me as we should in support of every new business venture, it’s not easy.”  

Great new spaces at Bridge Athletics // Photo by Lila Taylor

While membership stalled in the months of March and April, Greg was delighted to see an uptick in June and July, as restrictions in New Jersey began to ease. 

“There is such a strong connection between strength and conditioning, and overall health and immunity. In this time of uncertainty, people are craving any sort of sense of strength and control over their life and their health.”

The Montclair Dispatch also had the opportunity to speak with Fernando Sempe, who serves as one of the co-managers at Bridge Athletics, alongside Greg, and fellow co-manager Annie Miller. Along with training the gym’s athletes, Fernando holds many administrative roles, such as client recruitment, scheduling, and gym maintenance. 

Fernando explained that with the unprecedented circumstances that pandemic presented, he has had to quickly adapt to the ins and outs of social media marketing. 

“It was something that I sort of had to learn on the go. With more of a presence on social media, we started a YouTube channel, so that the athletes who are unable to attend our group classes outside still have access to our workouts at home.”

For Fernando, Bridge Athletics has allowed him to continue his love for Cross Fit, while also granting him the ability to share that passion through his coaching and recruitment. 

It is clear that passion and focus drive the Bridge Athletics team. Greg articulated this sentiment through a specific life analogy.

“At our gym, we use a countdown clock to begin our exercises. By starting a workout with ‘3, 2, 1, go,’ we are creating a sense of commitment. A person knows that the clock forces them to remain committed to what they are doing. I maintain that same mentality in business, and in a lot of avenues of my life. I carried that into this new project and this new gym.”

The author of the article is a Montclair native class of 2017, currently a student at McGill University, studying history and communications within the Faculty of Arts.

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