What’s in a name? When the name is Bev Francis, the answer is every- thing. Steve Weinberger couldn’t have known 30 years ago that the gym he named after his wife would one day match the legend she had built as a competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder. As impressive as Bev’s career was, Bev Francis powerhouse gym (or, simply, Bev’s) in Syosset, NY, has indeed taken on a life of its own, now recognized as the East Coast’s “Mecca,” a reference to the title long held by Venice, Ca’s gold’s gym.

What started as a mere 5,000-square-foot space purchased with a home equity loan has sprawled into a 30,000-square-foot lifter’s palace complete with five squat racks, seven bench press units, dumbbells that go up to 220, a full boxing ring, and a field of cardio machines vast enough to satisfy all members even in prime-time hours.

“Bev’s name was synonymous with hard- core training,” Weinberger says, “and that’s how we captured that market and grew.”

A lot of hardcore trainees make a pilgrimage to the East Coast Mecca. Kai Greene, Jay Cutler, the Rock, and Triple H are just a few who have trained there. When Dorian Yates was in the midst of his Olympia title run, he’d spend the month before the competition training at Bev Francis. The craziest training story, though, belongs to Ronnie Coleman, who once took a pair of 125s outside to do walking lunges from the door of the gym to the street—a distance slightly longer than a football field—and made the return trip without ever breaking stride.

“He’s not even human,” Weinberger says. But beneath the firmly cemented hardcore MO, Bev Francis is still a place for those of us who are from this planet and who are simply striving to improve. “No one’s here to be social, but everyone’s friendly and everyone helps one another out,” Weinberger says. “Bev always gave help to anyone that needed it, and that lasted through the years.”

Bev Francis, 235- C Robbins ln., Syosset, NY 11791