In the early 2000’s, Mahwah resident Vinny Galanti was working for the parking authority in his hometown, Jersey City. He had started exploring a passion, fitness, as a high school student in the 1980’s. For himself, he started competing in amateur bodybuilding events, and he started taking side jobs as a personal trainer.
“The more I did it, the more I loved it,” Galanti said. “9/11 actually inspired me to change my life and to turn my passion into my profession. 9/11 helped me realize that you never know what tomorrow will bring. So, if I failed, I would owe some money, but I had to take the chance.”
In 2002, Galanti opened , then on Miller Road in Mahwah. The gym offers one-on-one personal training to clients who Galanti says are from every walk of life. “My youngest client right now is 16 years old, and my oldest is 71. I have husbands, wives, moms, dads, kids, grandparents – literally all types of people. And, they all have individual motivations for wanting to live a more healthy lifestyle.”
Galanti said people of all different fitness levels choose to work with a personal trainer, as well. “One hour, I may have a high powered business executive who trains hard and works out a lot. The next, I may have someone who has never worked out, who has never eaten well, and who, for whatever reason, wants to change her life.”
Having worked with hundreds of clients over the past 10 years, Galanti said he has learned that personal training is as much about “the emotional” as it is about “the physical.” The trainer said he has worked not only as a fitness counselor, but a nutritional advisor, friend, and in some cases, shoulder to cry on, for many of his clients over the years.
Having a special connection with his clientele is only part of what has allowed him to stay in business for a decade, Galanti said. He has also had to rely on creativity and ingenuity, he said.
Four years ago, “we started hitting a really rough patch. When the economy went bad, people lost their good jobs, and personal training is a luxury,” Galanti said. “I wasn’t getting any new clients. I actually went about a year-and-a-half without cutting myself a paycheck. That was really hard.”
To come out of the rough patch, Galanti said he changed the entire structure of his business. “I started offering half hour sessions in addition to full hour sessions, and I now have other trainers renting out time in the gym to train their clients, instead of having other trainers on my staff.” Galanti said the four trainers he has renting space in his gym now are lifetime trainers. “You need a good team in your gym. I wouldn’t trade any of the trainers I have now,” he said.
After implementing the changes, and moving to a new location inside the Mahwah Business Park on Ramapo Valley Road, Galanti has seen the business start to turn around. Since September, he has added about 20 new clients.
Personally, too, Galanti has been making big strides, In 2008, he became a professional bodybuilder. He has captured both the Mr. New Jersey and Mr. USA titles, and is an endorsed athlete, working as a spokesperson for Universal Nutrition supplements for the past 15 years.
“I don’t train bodybuilders, it is a totally separate part of my life. But, I do think the fact that I am a bodybuilder is inspiring to some of my clients. And, I feel very fortunate that I am able to pursue my passion in these two different ways.”
In the next ten years, Galanti said he will “just keep doing what I’m doing. Sure, I’d love to open another studio one day, that would definitely be a goal of mine. But the nice thing about this is that it doesn’t matter how old you are. I can keep doing what I love forever.”