ALLENDALE, N.J. – Before Stephanie Pinto opened gyms in Orangeburg, N.Y. and Allendale, N.J. she taught children in inner city Brooklyn.
Before that, she was in sales. And before that, in human resources.
“I am the type of person where whatever I do, I have to have passion and purpose behind it … which is why I made a number of different career changes,” the Orangeburg resident said, while sitting at a table in her newly opened gym, Fit Body Boot Camp in Allendale.
“My purpose now is to be helping people who, like me, maybe feel helpless, how I felt at one point, feel hopeless, feel like I can never do this,” she said.
Pinto said about five years ago, at the age of 43, she found herself “in about the worst shape of my life.”
She was at her heaviest, and suffered aches and pains. As she was getting cortisone shots for her knees and back, she realized she needed to make a change.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God. As I get older, this is just going to get worse,’” she recalled.
Soon after, she started working out with a trainer. Her posture improved, and so did the pain in her knees and back. “I just felt amazing on so many levels. Mentally. Emotionally. I was just a totally different person,” she said.
It all got her thinking.
“I thought I have an opportunity to give back and to be able to do something, and so I started doing research,” she said.
Pinto came across Fit Body Boot Camp, and opened her first location in Orangeburg in 2015.
“It is a good fit for people that don’t have a lot of time. Our workouts are 30 minutes. We do cardio with resistance. We are here to make people succeed,” she explained.
Pinto said the most rewarding part of her job is empowering people to believe in themselves.
“Being able to empower another person, and giving them hope that they can do something, that’s what it’s all about,” she said.
She has seen a client drop 80 pounds in a year. She has seen others do pushups, pullups or burpies for the first time.
And she recently saw a woman with multiple sclerosis push herself to do a box jump.
“I held her hands and she was able to jump up on the box, and the look of accomplishment on her face … You could just see she felt so good about herself,” Pinto recalled.
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