Chris Carlsen, Iron Lion Performance
by Benjamin Fang
Apr 27, 2020 | 4570 views | 0 0 comments | 618 618 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Five years ago, Astoria native Chris Carlsen opened a gym in the neighborhood called Iron Lion Performance.

The facility offers individualized training to members to meet their fitness needs. With a three-to-one member to coach ratio, Iron Lion has grown through the years to nearly 170 members.

“We’re able to build a great community and do personalized training for each member,” Carlsen said. “Everyone has their personalized program.”

For Carlsen, the gym’s members have become like a second family. One of the members, Jessica Sorensen-Blaney, works as a pediatric social worker at Mount Sinai Queens.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Queens, Carlsen and Sorensen-Blaney teamed up to organize a fundraiser to support her colleagues on the frontlines.

On April 18, Iron Lion hosted a “Bodyweight Bootcamp” streamed on Facebook Live. Forty people hopped on and joined the workout, and the event eventually garnered 500 views.

As of last week, they have raised $900 to support health care workers.

“That went to providing each unit with gift cards so the staff could purchase food,” Carlsen said.

Many of the gym’s members live in Queens, Carlsen said, so they hear the sirens of ambulances every night.

“It was a way for them to contribute,” he said. “Just giving them the avenue to do something physical too.”

Carlsen is thinking of new ways to have a positive impact on the community, including helping members who have small businesses. One idea is to purchase gift cards from local restaurants and raffle them off to people who follow future bootcamp workouts.

“That’s what I was thinking going forward,” he said.

Iron Lion, which closed in March, has now set up a virtual platform for members to train

“We also gave out our equipment to our members,” Carlsen said.
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