Pretty soon after launching Little Hoboken, Melissa and I started working out at different gyms around town together. We both quickly fell in love with the classes at Work it Out and have made it part of our morning routines (morning rush, get to spin class with 2 min to spare, sweat like a beast, get coffee & a sorta healthy snack, rush home for lunch, naptime, etc). As new-ish moms, we had previously found it hard juggle it all and fit exercise into our daily lives. Work it Out has been a really welcoming, encouraging and motivating place for us get back into it! The energy is positive and fun! The camaraderie among the instructors and other members has made the workouts more enjoyable. The studio itself feels like a spa, and every detail is welcoming and home-ey. Plus, the Kids GAP childcare option is great and our kids love seeing their favorite ladies when we walk in the door.
As our love of the studio grew, so did our interest in the girls behind one of the most successful fitness studios in Hoboken. Part of our LH mission is to bring you the best information from the best resources around town, so we knew we had to tap into the brains of these two beauties.
As two friends who started a business together and understand both the challenges and also the fun aspects of that dynamic, we are always intrigued by others with that same relationship. What inspired you two to join forces and create Work it Out?
Noel: It's no secret that running a business is no walk in the park. It takes passion, dedication and commitment. When I was developing the concept for Work it Out, I was completely on my own. It didn't matter who I shared my business ideas with, no one was overly enthusiastic about what I was propositioning with the exception of my husband (who is a silent partner). After the first couple years of running WiO alone, I started to feel that I had hit my ceiling with what I had learned in college and from previous work experiences. I felt finding a partner would push me past my rut and help bring the business to a new level. It's funny because before I met Lisa, I would talk about qualities I was looking for in a partner and actually described her to a tee. My criteria was that I wanted a female, who was educated, a few years older than me, someone who had corporate experience, was loyal, who loved the idea of Work it Out and wanted to help me take it to the next level. Finding Lisa was the most serendipitous "meet cute" of my life thus far. We scheduled a random meeting about partnering on nutrition projects and needless to say, we hit it off. She brought everything I was looking for to the table and we dove into our partnership head first. Lisa has helped elevate the business, and our passion for what we do keeps us moving forward. Having a business partner is like a marriage. If you want it to work then you have to take care of the relationship. We don't always see eye-to-eye and I would be lying if I said we didn't struggle with communication at times, but Lisa loves Work it Out as much as I do and that's our common ground. We get better and better as the years go by and it's nice to know that someone has my back. Work it Out would not be where it is today without Lisa Bruno.
Lisa: Well the funny thing is, we weren't friends. Noel had the business for about a year and a half before we met. I was at a transition in my life, questioning my career in public relations and already back in school for foods and nutrition. I casually emailed her because I was living close to the Willow Studio about teaching gymnastics, ironically. I thought it could bring my back to my youth and be a nice hobby. Oddly enough, Work it Out became a major part of my life within three months of meeting each other. We both had similar upbringings, shared similar passions and saw strengths in each other that we maybe didn't innately have in ourselves. I saw something special in Work it Out and knew there was potential for us to grow a formidable brand so I took a leap of faith and left my job. Now we're here, going on almost five years together. As much as we took risks of faith on each other, I'm forever grateful to Noel for sharing her brainchild of Work it Out with me. It takes a lot to decide to bring in a partner, I'm honored by that.
There are a lot of fitness options in town, yet Work it Out always has full classes and often wait-listed classes. What sets you apart from the rest?
Noel: (Best question!) Besides the fact that WiO is incredibly diverse in class offerings, there are two major reasons we stand out among the rest. (And the best part is neither can be bought!)
First of all, as a whole, every single person employed at WiO believes in good, positive energy. No judgments, just encouragement. It does not matter where you're from, or what you're background is, if you were an all-star athlete or if it's your first time setting foot in a gym, you get the same treatment from us. Kindness and a smile. A warm welcome in class. A friendly hello and good bye at the desk. No high horses at WiO. If you are a member, we consider you family. We believe energy is transferable from person to person and when you walk into our studios, you can feel that. Ask anyone who comes to Work it Out, they'll vouch for us.
Second is that we are one of a kind. Authentic. You have to understand Work it Out is a product of the Hoboken community. When we first opened our doors back in 2010, I was inexperienced to say the least and didn't exactly stick to the rule book in terms of starting a business. To be honest, I'd never even really read the rule book in it's entirety. I won't bore you with the whole story but let's just say the concept for WiO was loose and we went through lots of changes early on. However I was hungry for guidance and had a burning desire to make improvements but wasn't quite sure how. This left me with one option, I had to LISTEN. And I did. To every single person that came through the door. And I read. Every single complaining email that came through the inbox. I cared about each persons experience and desperately wanted to make it better. I wanted to know what people thought regardless of how it affected me personally. I made it my missions to keep the community happy and intrigued. Then, after Lisa came on board, we understood what had to improve to really gain momentum and did it. We managed to take every piece of advice, and every ounce of criticism with a grain of salt. Then we applied the feedback in a constructive, efficient way to the best of our abilities. Our offerings, pricing, staff, and studios were all shaped by the wants and needs of the women of Hoboken. The city molded us, made us stronger, and I don't know another fitness option in town (or anywhere for that matter) that will admit to conceptualizing every detail of their business model based on the people of their community. Ya know, all businesses start as a version of something else, but it's how you continuously evolve it and make it your own that makes it genuine.
Lisa: Because we are so fun, obvi! No, kidding (sort of). We tapped into the female psyche. No one wants the same thing day in and day out. You also want to be entertained. We offer diverse classes that appeal to all fitness levels and really pride ourselves on the environment they take place in. Everything from music in each class, to amenities in the bathrooms and apparel we sell is all geared towards a woman that enjoys fitness, and enjoys all of life's little treats.
We know from experience that our children love Kids GAP. How did you come up with the idea for a different style of a childcare option?
Lisa: It was a natural extension for us because of the gymnastics program. We have an expertise in children and physical movement. Gymnastics, by nature, is organized and structured and focused on progression. Kids GAP takes the concept of organized physical activity and brings it to a new age group that can span 12-months to 3 years and beyond.
We make sure all of our child care providers have previous experience and learn our curriculum. We value that mothers trust us to care for their children. At times we are the first people to ever watch their children! We want to make sure the experience we create for the moms, is just as engaging for the children as well.
Noel: All of our class offerings are elevated when you compare them to a big box gym and Kids GAP is no different.
Of all of your amazing options, which is your favorite class that you'd recommend to a mom just getting back into working out?
Lisa: Definitely any of our Blended Ride classes at River. They are the perfect hybrid of what your body at that time needs - a little bit of everything. You'll get fun cardio in the Ride portion of class and then hit all your major muscle groups in the toning portion of class off the bike.
The best advice for getting back into working out is to just do it! Don't think too hard, don't think you can't do it. You can and there is no better place to do it then with us. We'll entertain you ;)
Noel: Working out is so personal so I would have to know more about the particular mom and what her goals are before answering this question. Here are some questions returning moms should ask themselves;
What are my goals?
Are they realistic and in line with the work I am willing to put into it?
What can you commit to and for how long?
What is your favorite thing about Hoboken?
Lisa: Hoboken is unique. It's small enough to make local connections that are substantial between other businesses and clients, but it is also big enough to trial new trends, have a healthy competitiveness between businesses (there's enough customers to go around!).
Noel: Hoboken has given us a platform to truly build and grow Work it Out. For that I am forever grateful.
Noel, teaching the gymnastics programs must take you back to your own childhood as a gymnast. What are some things you see your students doing in your classes that make your heart smile?
Noel: Being that we are up and running for almost 6 years now, I've really had a chance to watch certain students grow. This past June we completed our 4th Annual WiOlympics at the multi-service center, which is our end-of-year recital. This year more than any other I was over come with emotion watching my kids. My kids for me is two fold. My coaches are all a few years younger than me and I feel like a mentor to them. They've all grown so much and improved as coaches and adults over the last few seasons - it's heartwarming to watch. My sister, "Miss Devon," took the lead with the gymnastics program this year and for the first time she executed the WiOlympics with little to none of my input. Our students are the other half of this course. I was so impressed with what each child accomplished and how excited and proud of themselves they were. My favorite part was watching the older girls scream and cheer each other on before their big routines. They supported one another and I literally had to walk away because I had tears running down my face. The fact that this gymnastics program started in a small room on Willow Street and turned into this big impressive program blows my mind. My history with the sport shaped who I am as a person, which ultimately shaped this business. I can proudly say, our gymnastics program is the heart of our studios. Again, authenticity cannot be bought.
Lisa, every time we diet, we get grumpy. You are such a happy and bubbly person...and super healthy, what's your secret?
Lisa: Drum roll please....I'm happy because I don't diet. Insert eye roll from everyone reading this.
It has been a road of trial and error to figure out a healthy eating lifestyle. Sure in college I tried my hand in Atkins, grapefruit only diet, and also thought that whole concept of not eating was the gateway to skinny too (I'm eye rolling to myself about that one). I cheered throughout college at a competitive level, where skinny was the holy grail and how high you could be tossed was the epitome of success. In my early 20's living in Hoboken and working, I could not even hard boil an egg properly. It was a sin for a girl that was raised Italian in a household whose mother cooked every night.
So I know diet grumpiness, and I also know how unhealthy it inevitably makes you feel. It's counterproductive.
My philosophy is that no one should diet. Diets are temporary. But your health is not temporary, how you eat should be something you can manage forever and be happy with. So really the secret is learning to slow down, learn what hungry feels like, learn what full feels like, and which foods satisfy us, while nourishing us.
I found what works for me was a diet that included consistently three meals, and two snacks throughout the day. I learned I cannot function on an empty stomach, and that I need water with me at all times. These are basics for everyone. The personalized formula of what goes into your meals and snacks comes from you. I don't restrict myself, I know I love cream in my coffee every morning, so I do it. I know I like something sweet at night, so I do that too. I practice the 80/20 rule. Choose healthy 80% of the time and 20% of the time, I treat myself. That's how I lessen my grumpiness!
For more information about WiO, visit their website or stop in at one of their 2 locations
603 Willow Avenue
5 Marine View Plaza
**Work it Out is a participant of the Little Hoboken HookUp program. See details here