Philly is a city of entrepreneurs, college students, families – in other words, a city of people who might not have a whole lot of extra time for fitness on top of everything else on their plates. One local business owner is looking to change that with a series of fitness classes, offered live and online, that clients can join from anywhere.
We spoke with Serena Scanzillo, owner of SerenaFit, to learn more about her innovative approach to bringing exercise into the lives of busy Philadelphians (and others outside town!) And we got a few tips for better living – and even for better lifting on moving day!
Can you tell me about your background – how did you get started in fitness?
Yes! When I was pretty young, I was involved in all the kids’ sports: soccer, basketball, swimming. My parents had me playing outside and staying active all throughout my adolescence, so that kind of pushed me into my passion for health.
I was actually on track to be a news anchor! But I quickly fell in love with fitness, weight loss, nutrition and helping others understand that you have the power to change your life.
Why go virtual with your classes?
When I moved to Philly from DC, I wanted to retain my current in-person client base, so I launched the virtual component of SerenaFit. This opened doors once we all saw how beneficial these types of online sessions were. I got requests to create small group classes, which later turned into what you now see as the Virtual Training Studio. It’s been super convenient for my clients who travel and are tight on time.
Can you tell me how signing up with SerenaFit works?
The Virtual Training Studio is a monthly membership that features live and interactive workouts via video conference. So in brief, you’d go to www.serenafit.com, purchase your membership, and then have access to our membership portal that lists all our upcoming classes! Members sign in to our classes that are hosted on Zoom, using their laptops or cell phones. Members receive perks as well, like access to our private Facebook group, the on-demand library, and discounts on products.
Tell me a bit about your team and what people can expect from your classes.
My team rocks! Coach Brit is out of Pittsburgh and is a strength coach who brings the heat to our Lower Body and Total Body classes. Coach Saba is our international gem who leads two Power Yoga classes each week from Pakistan. Coach Tesha is a wellness coach down in Arlington, VA who leads Total Body classes. And then we have a few trainers on retainer who lead pop-up sessions, like Coach Tracy who teaches circuits and HIIT sessions. Between our great team of professional coaches and the awesome variety of classes we offer every week, members have a great experience.
Do you ever do in-person training?
Yes, I do. I have a handful of private clients I see around town every week. I enjoy keeping a few on the calendar to stay connected with the community. I value those relationships.
What do you like about being a business owner in Philly?
Entrepreneurship is a special energy that I love sharing with other small business owners around town. I actually run a small Facebook group of 200 solopreneurs where we exchange ideas, thoughts, and support on running a company. We are all following our dream and working hard at making it come true. It’s really hard sometimes and you have to constantly encourage yourself to keep pushing, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’re a special group of people and work tirelessly at our craft. I’m humbled to be a part of it.
One of the toughest days for our clients is moving day – and all the heavy lifting that entails. Can you give some advice for our home buyers and sellers to help with the big move? Safe lifting techniques, power foods, good warm-ups or stretches to do that morning?
Oh I can only imagine! Well, first things first and that’s core strength. My clients and members know I’m a broken record on the importance of core training. It’s at the center of all movement so if it’s weak then you’ll find yourself slouching, compensating and pulling where you shouldn’t be. Always bend with your legs, engage the core, and stand with power. Consider taking time to stretch your back, shoulders, hamstrings, ankles and feet. When you move heavy objects you will undoubtedly feel it the next day. Take breaks and stay hydrated too. It’ll all come together, so don’t stress!
What about staying fit year round? What’s your best advice to stay healthy?
- I’d encourage people to really hone their nutrition and mental health, to be honest.
- Understand that gut health is everything. Eat fermented foods like pickles; drink super greens and bone broth; consume 5-6 servings of organic veggies everyday.
- Sit in stillness at least once a day.
- Share your struggles with a trusted source.
- Clean your house so it supports healthy living.
- Stay active most days of the week, weight train at least 3 of those days.
- Meditate for 10 minutes a day.
- Cook at home.
- Limit drinking; limit wheat and dairy consumption.
- Ask yourself what you want to do every day. Maintain high levels of happiness and say no to people and things who don’t genuinely make you love life. We are in a constant state of transition, so becoming your biggest support system will make you resilient during the hard times.
Do you have a favorite Philly store you’d love to see featured here? Tell me about it and we might do a story! Contact Christina Briglia, Realtor: 267-231-5484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All images courtesy of Serena Scanzillo of SerenaFit.