Cheryl Armato went to a step class during her freshman year at Florida Atlantic University, and instantly fell in love with group fitness.
“I loved the classes and admired the instructors,” says Armato, a New Jersey native. “I was hooked and knew I had to become an instructor.”
Twenty five years later, Armato, who lives in Lanoka Harbor with her husband, Salvatore, and four children, Francesco, Isabella, Rocco and Vito, has countless hours of group fitness training and experience under her belt in Florida and New Jersey, and a newly opened studio to boot.
“Be Fit NJ,” located at 555 Lacey Rd., formally opened to the community on Saturday, Sept. 21st. Mayor David E. Most, Armato’s friends and family, and numerous community members joined Armato for a formal ribbon cutting ceremony, refreshments and fitness demonstrations.
The studio offers numerous types of group exercise to all ages and fitness levels, including:
· Pilates Mat
· Indoor/Outdoor Bootcamp
· Power Flow Yoga
· Slow Flow Yoga
· Zumba Gold
· 30/30 HIIT Training
· Pre School Art-n-Play (Ages 3-5)
· Mommy and Me Sensational sensory (Ages 1-3)
· Personal training
· Seasonal Paddle Board Pilates & Boot Camp Sessions on Lake Barnegat (Paddle Boards are provided by Barnegat Bay Paddle Sports, owned and operated by Lacey residents Joe and Anne Marie Jakositz.)
Armato, 44, has a passion for helping others make positive changes and lead healthier lifestyles.
“Weight loss and looking great is an added bonus of working out, but what's going on inside the body is key,” says Armato, who majored in Marketing and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. “When you feel better and get healthy on the inside, it shows on the outside. Self esteem improves, moods are elevated, performance levels increase, medications may be reduced or eliminated, bone density increases, diabetes gets under control, joint pain is relieved, depression reduced, and you sleep better. The list is endless. An added bonus is all the new fitness friends you make who have the same goals you do. Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher… fitness friends do just that.”
Armato, who has taught Pilates Mat, Boot Camp, Step, BodyWorks, Silver Sneakers Cardio & Yoga, Power Pump, Aerobics, Aqua, Strength Training, Gliders and Bosu to countless individuals over the years, says she doesn’t have clients, but fitness friends, some of whom have stuck with her for years.
After leaving Florida, where she taught at Florida Atlantic University and Scandinavian Health Spa, Armato moved to Verona, NJ in 2001. She taught classes at Classic Athletic Club in Lyndhurst (14 years), Spa Lady in Rutherford, TransFigure in Verona, Golds Gym in Nutley, Female Fitness in East Rutherford, Racquetball Plus in Garfield, and Bally's in Paramus.
But in 2006, Armato moved to Lanoka Harbor with her husband and children to be closer to her family, who reside in Bayville.
Since then, Armato has taught her own Pilates and Boot Camp sessions at Alice’s Dancin’ Corner. She also taught classes at LA Fitness and KS Fitness in Toms River, and the YMCA in Lakewood until her youngest son, Vito, was born in 2008.
“Opening a fitness studio has always been a goal of mine,” says the proud mother of four. “It's been seven years since I started teaching classes locally and some of the same girls have been with me since day one. It was time to give my fitness friends a home where we could meet and call our own.”
Community members interested in taking classes at Be Fit NJ “can be confident in knowing that I have helped people just like them achieve their goals and change their lifestyles,” Armato says.
Armato says each session is unique and different, free of boring, canned routines.
“It is also my mission that money is never an issue why someone doesn't exercise. I never turn away anyone that wants to get fit and healthy. I will happily work out a payment program that works for anyone that is serious about fitness goals. I don't have clients, I have fitness friends,” Armato says. “My fitness friends can expect the unexpected, whether it’s indoor, outdoor or on a paddle board. We have something to get you moving.”
As for the future of Be Fit NJ, Armato hopes to continue to grow her community of fitness friends by offering something for every member of the family. Children’s birthday parties are now in the works.
Anyone interested in joining Be Fit NJ can access the studio schedule and list of class fees at befitnj.com, and receive daily updates on the Be Fit NJ Facebook page. The first class is free.
Armato’s certifications include:
· World Fitness Association
· Fitour Primary Group Exercise Instructor
· Primary Pilates Certification-Classic Matwork
· Advanced Pilates Matwork & Small Apparatus
· Group Barbell Conditioning
· Fitour Master Practitioner
· Pilates Institute of America with three month apprentice and client assessment
· Silver Sneakers Circuit
· Leadership Training
· Muscular Strength & Range of Movement
· Official 5-Star Boot Camp Course
· MOM of 4!