Meet Noël Fiorentinos of Work It Out
Happy Feminist Wednesday!
This we chatted with kick-ass entrepreneur Noël Fiorentinos, the CEO of Work it Out Fitness Studios. I met Noël about four years ago and was immediately struck by Noël's passion for the fitness game. She is a woman who exudes the confidence and clarity only a #GIRLBOSS on a mission can have. Two summers ago when we launched the Dream, Girl kickstarter Noël organized and opened up the WiO studio to the #dreamteam to film a group of charismatic young gymnasts to be in our Kickstarter video. Her passion for women and supporting their dreams is palpable in her interview. Read more about what inspired Noël to join the fitness industry and how feminism shaped its growth below.
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Hi Noël! Can you introduce yourself to the Feminist Wednesday gang?
Hi! My name is Noël Fiorentinos and I am the Founder and CEO of Work it Out Fitness Studios in New Jersey. Work it Out is the safe haven for female fitness in Hoboken. We are for women, run by women who are ready to inspire you! Our studios are super cute with no detail spared. Our motto is to MOVE. SWEAT. WORK. on the regular.
I love the idea of a “safe haven” for your workout! How has feminism played a role in your decision to start WiO, and how does it shape your community?
Feminism played a big role in opening the studios. I didn't realize it was feminism at the time but looking back, that would be the perfect way to describe it. Basically, I was on a mission to open up a studio that focused on female camaraderie and good energy. I wanted to motivate women to work out and show them it was attainable at any stage of life. That's really all that mattered to me. Also, I have two younger sisters who've always looked up to me, and I felt compelled to set a good example and to show them that hard work and perseverance does pay off.
Work it Out has been open for five years and has helped shape the fitness market in Hoboken, on the community AND on the business side. Five years ago there was one other studio in the city that focused on female fitness classes and they opened seven months before us. I didn't even know they were opening until the week after I signed the lease of our first location. Over the course of five years, our community at WiO grew organically. To my surprise, so did the competition. The funny part about it was the new businesses were mostly ALL female owned, with similar concepts. These women were watching, joining, talking and saying to themselves, "I can do this too, and do it better." At first it was hard and I personally felt targeted. "Why couldn't they support me and this great space I've created for them?" I really couldn't understand why no one looked at me and said "WOW. This girl is 23 years old and running this pretty amazing place." I didn't understand why did they chose the road to criticize and to compete, rather than to empower and support. It felt like a battle. Over time I realized that this was not a battle and there was no need to fight. All I needed to do was concentrate on my own path and let the universe guide me. And that's what I did and continue to do.
My mother always told me imitation is the highest form of flattery and it couldn't be more true. The truth is that Work it Out inspires women to go out and to say "I can do it too" not just inside the studio and about being healthy, but outside the studio and about bigger ideas as well. And I think that's pretty amazing.
I think the idea of having a space to celebrate women is really powerful. What are the benefits of an all women's gym, vs a typical gym?
So we never say that Work it Out is ONLY for women but our branding strongly suggests that it is. We have little to no male attendance. However, if a man would like to join us for a class, he is more than welcome. I find it fun to see if they can keep up with us and would never want to turn away any of the wonderful men in our lives; husbands, boyfriends, brothers etc.
The benefits of Work it Out being geared toward women is the comfort factor. It automatically levels the playing field. No make-up. No cute outfit. No guys. Just you and your work out - which is how that coveted time should be. The average woman is slightly intimidated in a gym setting and finds it challenging to work out on a daily basis for whatever reasons; children, work, busy schedules etc. We understand that a good, consistent work-out is personal and it makes it easier if there is a connection to something that keeps you coming in. We try our best to create that connection and eliminate feelings of competition, insecurity or self doubt. Our focus is to show you that working out can be comfortable, enjoyable and weaved into your everyday life. I believe being around all women that struggle with similar challenges can motivate you to achieve your goals. There is something comforting in a little girl power.
Finally, as women there are roughly about 10 years of our lives where major change happens. For argument sake, let's call them evolutionary years, 25-35. For a lot of women during this time, major change happens in your life; moving out, first real job, apartment, boyfriend, fiance, wedding, husband, pregnancy, child!? And it all happens fairly fast. As a female driven studio, we offer a few different styles of KITS that help you along the journey. (“I Do” Kit for the bride-to-be, “Bun in the Oven” for the mom-to-be, among other special packages geared toward new life stages.) We also have a wide variety of classes, times and team members that all work in tandem to help support and guide you on your fitness journey. (I don't know of any typical gym that focuses on these programs.)
What advice do you have for other women interested in starting in your field?
I would consider my field as business owner or entrepreneur and to do your homework to make as little mistakes as possible. Everyone has a different road and you should have a general understanding of what yours is before you begin. There is no manual. Owning a brick and mortar business is very hard, a lot of work and pressure. BUT if you can handle it, then go for it. I know I was born to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to open up my own business for as long as I can remember. It's fulfilling, rewarding and the only thing I would want to do with my life. My advice is to lean on a network of women that can help guide you and give you advice. I believe women are natural competitors but it pains me to see women competing instead of empowering each other. As women it's SOOO important to help lift each other up.
Thank you so much, Noël for your time and expertise! How can we support you? Any social plugs, events, or info you want our readers to know!
A big focus for our studios is eventually to grow into the NYC market. We plan on expanding our social following and content until that point. Please follow us and watch how our brand organically grows and every like and follow makes a difference at this point of our journey. Thanks for the support and love. Follow us on Instagram @WiOwithus and visit us if you are ever in the neighborhood.