WHEN THIS YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR BECAME ILL, FITNESS HELPED HER HEAL. NOW SHE’S BRINGING THAT SAME POSITIVITY TO OTHERS
BY JESSICA JONES-GORMAN • PHOTOS BY ROBERT NUZZIE
After being diagnosed with renal carcinoma in 2016 (in which malignant cancer cells form in the
kidney), 24-year-old Rachel Rusi suffered from a range of emotional and physical effects. Plagued by panic attacks and pain, she had difficulty coming to terms with the notion of her sickness and the lengthy recovery period that was going to be required. So, for a variety of reasons, she turned to a structured fitness and nutrition regimen to help the process.
“Athletics was always an integral part of my life,” Rusi explained, detailing a past filled with basketball, soccer, and cross country track accolades. “I started working out at a fitness center occasionally when I was in college, but it wasn’t until I got sick that I really delved into the gym realm, looking at health and wellness as a whole.”
An occupational therapist, Rusi took medical leave from her job at Mount Sinai Hospital to recover, and after treatment found solace in cycling and in the support of her personal trainer.
“I took these classes to clear my head, and was amazed at how these training sessions healed me,” she explained.
So, as the cancer slipped into remission, Rusi changed lanes and opened a health club.
“I gathered everything that healed me and put it into this place, Goal Mine Health Club,” Rusi said of her five-monthold fitness center, which took more than a year to conceptualize and plan. The comprehensive and medically-integrated club combines day-to-day health maintenance with special clinical programs, and features a staff of healthcare professionals and fitness experts.
“I also wanted to create a place that was full of serenity,” Rusi said. “A lot of people embrace fitness to lose weight, but they don’t take into mind the effect it has on your mental
health. That’s why Goal Mine is not just a gym, it’s not just a fitness center—it’s a sanctuary that promotes health and well-being in every aspect of life.”
The center is broken down into sections: There’s the typical fitness portion, which features racks of typical gym equipment like punching bags, slam balls, free weights, and cardio machines; then there’s a cycling and group class studio, cryrotherapy room, an infrared sauna, an occupational therapy section, and an in-house meeting area for nutrition education and assessment.
“We’ve also partnered with TechnoGym, which offers the latest and greatest in fitness equipment,” Rusi said. “Members can link to the brand’s app to track their calories and progression, and we are one of the only gyms in Staten Island to use this health and wellness brand. Our classes are a complete mind/body experience, too; during cycling, the lights are shut off and a projector screen displays beautiful landscape images. And our instructors, many of whom hail from Manhattan, teach uniqueclasses like BodyPump, Les Mills Sprint, and BodyFlow
Also within Goal Mine is Juice Mine, where Rusi’s team blends fresh fruits and vegetables
“We serve juices, shots, smoothies, and Acai bowls,” Rusi said. “I wanted this to be a one-stop shop for health, and nutrition is a big part of that. We create everything fresh, and
utilize resources from our local farmers and community.”
Since the center’s grand opening in January, Rusi has felt a spirited response.
“It was almost shocking to me…how much of an interest we generated during our build-out and pre-sale,” she said.
“There have been so many positive reactions and responses. I’m truly humbled by how many people believe in this vision.”
In the future, Rusi, who is now in remission, hopes to franchise the business.
“I never thought I would do this at all,” she concluded. “I was happy in my career, working in a hospital setting, but it took this illness to identify my passion. And if I could bring this idea of healing and wellness through fitness and nutrition to others all over the country I would be thrilled. I’m so happy that my life has taken this turn, and my main goal is to pass this positivity onto others.”
Goal Mine Health Club
4 Minthorne Street / 917.397.9394 / goalminenyc.com