New Kid on the Block: NYLO

Out of the pandemic ashes of Lyons Den, which was forced to close its Tribeca location in February, comes NYLO — a new gym for personal training and what I would call a pandemic innovation. (And at the risk of getting too biblical, the name is not a coincidence: its root is from ex nihilo, or from nothing.)

Partners in both life and business and also BPC residents, trainers Sean Cronin and Elena Sokina have taken the two floors at 279 Church to work with their own clients but also as a B-to-B space for other independent trainers, many of whom are now “gymless.” They open officially on Monday.

“When the pandemic hit, a lot of trainers took their business outside,” said Elena. “Now gyms are open but clients and trainers realize they liked working this way — they don’t want to separate. But they need indoor space.”

The second floor has NYLO’s training space that only Elena and Sean will use, as well as a lobby and women’s locker room; the third floor has the gym for the independent trainers and the men’s locker room. The max capacity in the third floor gym will be 12 — or six clients and six trainers. On their floor they will mostly work one-on-one or two-on-one.

The trainers will pay $50 a session to work there with their clients, and the clients will get full use of the locker rooms. They are hosting an open house tomorrow from 1 to 10p, which is mostly for trainers but neighborhood folks who work with a trainer are welcome to go check it out. (The gym will not be for use by individuals — it has been designed by trainers and for trainers, and only for that purpose and on a schedule so they can control capacity.)

They have had great feedback from trainers already, many of whom work with clients here in Tribeca but no longer have their home gyms like Exceed, which closed permanently. And a Tribeca location makes sense, not just because they live here but because, as Sean notes, there’s been an active independent trainer scene here for years — well before the pandemic.

For folks who want to work with Sean and Elena, their “ex nihilo” motto is part of their approach to training: they ask their clients: what does fitness mean to you? what do want to be fit enough to do? “We design your fitness routine from the ground up,” said Sean. They sell 60- and 90-minute sessions, and track each session with goals. (See Jimmy’s accountability chart below.) And they also work with their clients on nutrition, going as far as discussing the source of their food. The pair has a relationship with Lowland Farm, which produces pastured meats, and plan to build on that at the gym.

“The healthiest food makes the healthiest people makes the healthiest planet,” says Sean.

As for their meet cute, it took place here at Equinox on Murray, where they were both trainers. Elena left in 2018 to open her own gym in Jersey City; when the pandemic hit she designed a program in the local park, hauling all her equipment in a cart and working out a schedule with the city. Sean took his clients — he was an tier X trainer at Equinox and had 150 sessions a month — to West Thames Park. And when their May 2020 wedding was scuttled (they were married officially in February 2020 on Worth Street, in between training sessions) they took their wedding money (the plan was to gather their families in Croatia) and rented a two-bedroom so when things relaxed in the fall, they were able to use one room as a gym.

That scrappiness and flexibility got them through the pandemic in an industry that was nearly destroyed. And last week, they closed the second bedroom gym.

279 Church | White & Franklin | second floor



  1. Fantastic to see locals reopening small businesses in the neighborhood. Sean and Elena are amazing trainers and all around lovely people. Sean has helped me lose 23 pounds of pandemic weight over the last 6 months – I am 2 pounds from my goal weight. No small undertaking for trainer with an overextended Tribeca mom client – who is pushing 50(!). Can’t wait to workout in the new space – it’s beautiful. Wishing them all good things!

  2. So excited for Nylo’s grand opening, it will be an awesome addition to our neighborhood. I’ve had the privilege of working with Sean prior to and throughout the pandemic – from Thames Park to his apartment. Sean & Elena are the dream team! I am faster, fitter AND more flexible from following their unique approach. The proof – two two kids and one global pandemic later – I returned to racing with a new marathon PR just over a week ago. The new space is stunning and I can’t wait to continue training there.