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Inspiring Conversations with Gretchen Trasorras of 5th Gear Fitness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gretchen Trasorras.

Gretchen, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
This goes very far back. I remember being very competitive in the Presidential Physical Fitness Award program during my elementary school years which ignited an appreciation for fitness and its benefits. I also began a 12+ year course of study in dance, specifically ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics. Unfortunately, I grew up in the ‘thin is in’ culture of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I realized the powerful effects of calisthenics and cardio during my teen years, which resulted in regular home exercise in my bedroom and long walks outside. Consequently, I also discovered bulimia. This self-destructive behavior was a dominant part of my life for 30 years. The year 2010 marked the miraculous end of that dangerous obsession. It is important to know that I earned a BFA in Theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University, which landed me in upstate New York performing with a children’s theatre company. Our rehearsal space overlooked the YMCA. Because of my dance experience, I typically led the actors through warmups. I decided that I should learn more about teaching fitness and capitalize on what I was already doing. So, in 1988 I earned my first fitness certification with the YMCA in Auburn, NY. I brought that certification with me to Florida in 1991. I auditioned to teach at a local gym, where I began teaching water aerobics. I later earned my AFAA Primary Group Certification, which made me eligible to teach more classes.

In 1993, I earned my first AFAA Personal Training Certification, which qualified me to begin my personal training career. I stayed with that local gym for 21 years, during which time I was married, had two amazing daughters, survived breast cancer, and divorced in 2010. The two major life events of cancer (2007-2008) and separation/divorce (2009-2010) followed by three years of six family deaths (2011-2014) were very challenging personally; therefore, most of my energy and efforts were put toward surviving and subsequently thriving. It was in 2016, after a tumultuous two-year run with another local gym, which later went out of business, that my business partner, Jessica Adams, and I approached a third partner with the idea to open our own gym. It was after that first meeting that the prototype of 5th Gear Fitness was born.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Honestly, we had very little idea of what was involved in starting, running, and maintaining a robust small business. We had to learn with the unparalleled help of our third partner Angie and Layne Williams, how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of payroll & unemployment taxes; business licenses & loans; liability, property & unemployment insurances; lease negotiations; fire inspections; payroll, interviewing, hiring, discipling, and firing. In 2017, our generous third partner stepped out of the picture, yet they have been friends and advisors only a phone call away.

What Jessica and I knew very well was fitness programming, class formats, personal training, nutrition guidance, show prep, building a brand, client relationships, fitness family culture, and community outreach. We have taken everything we learned from Angie & Layne, plus what we have been exceptional at and have successfully navigated the unprecedented challenges of the CCP Virus pandemic, lockdown, and re-opening phases. Through it all, with the cooperation of our staff, training team, and generous and understanding client-base, we have, in my opinion, made it beyond the worst of times. Truthfully, there were days when Jessica and I looked at each other in the eyes and questioned how we were going to get through this rough period. I am truly grateful we stuck it out and have remained transparent to our clients. I believe our honesty has galvanized our relationships with our clients. By the way, we were extremely fortunate to own and run a small business in Florida with Gov. Ron DeSantis covering our backs.

As you know, we’re big fans of 5th Gear Fitness. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
At 5th Gear Fitness, we strive to educate each person about biohacking to optimize fitness and health from the inside out through training, consultation, and motivation. We specialize in group classes and small group and one-on-one personal training, with an emphasis on cardio, strength training, Reformer Pilates, and mind-body classes. Springing from this foundation, we offer an exceptionally successful six-week body and lifestyle transformation program designed to help clients develop sustainable nutritional and exercise habits for life. We are immensely proud of the relationships we have built with our clients, our community outreach efforts, our transformation program, the high caliber of our instructors and class content as well as the dedication of our staff.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Regarding finding a mentor, follow someone you admire, learn how they achieved success and do what they did. A mentor can be any person you know and can share a meal with or someone more abstract whose books you can read, or videos you can watch, or podcasts you can listen to. Remain a student always, which means KEEP LEARNING! The evolution of technology has rapidly changed the way we interact with each other, but virtual connections will never replace the importance of real, substantive relationships. EVERY person you meet is an important addition to your network as you are to theirs. Exchange names and numbers. When you are authentic, fair, and honest, you will be remembered and called upon sooner or later. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Promotional Offers:

  • 5 Free Classes On Us!
  • $64.50 – Half off first month unlimited classes

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Image Credits
Jessica Adams, Donna Cuic

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