Women who want to let their hair down while building their muscles up are finding their way to FemmeFitness in Hackensack. “It’s a safe place for women to be themselves,” says Director Nina Setia. “Women can get away from everything they deal with—kids, work, stress—and be real here.”
The goals women have when they enter to work out are printed in large type on the wall, visible from all areas of the fitness center’s open floor. It’s a good motivational force. If you forget for a moment why you’re running, biking or lifting, you can glance at the wall and remember. I want to keep up with my kids. I want to feel good again. I want to fit into that dress.
FemmeFitness is like the proverbial phoenix that rose from the ashes. Setia was a Zumba instructor under the previous owner of the business, then called Feminine Fitness, when it closed abruptly in 2015. “It was always a happy place, but I used to think about what I would do differently if I was in charge,” she said. Then she got her chance. Setia took over last May and began to renovate and revitalize under a new brand called FemmeFitness.
To create the kind of facility women wanted, she surveyed the members who had been active when the business closed. “We found that about 60 percent came to the gym three times a week or more, and 75 percent wanted classes. We built a schedule and environment around that, designed to help women achieve the results they want.” Nina brought back several of the former instructors and classes. “We built on what was here so that half of what we do had existed and the other half is new.”
The new equipment and programming are based on the latest trends in technology and technique. The Queenax functional training system is like an exercise playground in the middle of the fitness floor, where Setia said women can get fast results with guided and personalized training programs. Treadmills, mats and cycles hug the walls. Two group exercise rooms, a power studio and a flex studio host about 40 classes a week. You can even exercise yourself to one of FemmeFitness’s many video workouts.
LaTonya Baruc, lead fitness coach, has a military background and has been a certified trainer for 16 years. “I’m a life-long learner, always taking classes, staying abreast of what’s new in health, wellness and exercise,” she said. She’s often the first person a newcomer will meet for a tour and assessment.
Setia comes from a family of physicians and feels strongly about incorporating the science of fitness and wellness into her programs. She is getting out to physicians’ offices, educating them to encourage their patients to get moving. “It’s in our physicians’ best interest to keep patients healthy,” she said. Setia gives physicians a “Wellness Prescription pad” to write a prescription for their patients to exercise with a free trial at FemmeFitness. “A woman who came to us with a physician’s prescription told me she lost 23 pounds since joining FemmeFitness three months ago,” she said. “Our programming works and our women are feeling healthier and happier!”
Setia brings to FemmeFitness the skills she learned from her career as a healthcare executive and consultant. She coached administrators in hospitals and other healthcare organizations on how to improve patient experiences and how to keep patients, physicians and employees happy and engaged. At FemmeFitness this means a very strong focus on customer service and personalized attention.
At FemmeFitness, Setia adds in entertaining activities. “We try to do fun things each month to keep women connected and motivated, so they look forward to coming,” she said. Recently, FemmeFitness had a ‘no housework’ day with women bringing in empty laundry baskets for a special workout. “That’s another advantage to being in an all-women’s environment,” Setia added. “Women feel safe and supported. You feel good being here. We empower women through health and fitness to feel stronger both mentally and physically. Women have the hardest job in life. They’ll tell me they are better with their children after coming here and they have more stamina.” It’s all about the goal on the wall: I want to be happy with myself.
Visit www.myfemmefit.com for more information and to register for a free three-day trial.
By Bracha Schwartz