Personal trainer Stephanie Weiss would awaken women to their strength, their potential, the possibilities of renewal.
“All of my women are very powerful, beautiful, creative. I love my clients,” she said. “I love them and they all may not know they are all those things, but I do — and want to help some of them recognize that.
“And some of them definitely know.”
She offers personal training, by appointment, at a small studio in Branchville.
“I do one-on-one personal training in a private studio. I provide a pretty unique service,” Ms. Weiss said. “The women I train don’t want to be in a gym with other people watching and listening.”
Her approach isn’t flashy. “Very traditional: strength training, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, weight loss,” she said. “It’s simple, methodical, traditional, safe, and effective.”
With a master’s in counseling and a spiritual outlook on life, she’s a bit of a fitness evangelist.
She started out taking sessions with a couple of girlfriends, and confesses that “to look and feel hot again” was one or her goals at the time.
“I did not feel great about myself,” she said.
Eventually, fitness and good health became a passion.
“It made such a difference in my body and mind. And I started eating well. It quickly became my passion and I said this is something I have to spread around the world, help other women make these transformations they want to make, or don’t know how to make,” she said.
Training to improve fitness isn’t magic: There’s no secret formula. What works is keeping at it, which means feeling good about what you’re doing, seeing progress, having support.
This is what she offers her clients — sensible exercises, a plan to follow, a place to work out, with good equipment, and a person to help them, guide them, keep them going, keep them on track.
“I believe in providing safe, effective workouts, and a safe environment for them to change. There’s definitely an accountability value,” she said.
The “accountability value” of working with a personal trainer addresses the reality that, for many people, there are times when having another person involved helps maintain the momentum of the training regimen, and the discipline that is required for change.
“It’s about accountability, it’s about honesty. And the trainer providing support —on many levels.”
Her studio is at 54 Ethan Allen Highway — the small white building right across from the intersection of Route 102, beside the north entrance to the Branchville train station.
It is light and airy inside, with a treadmill, a universal machine, a bench and weights. There are a couple of big orange workout balls, some mirrors, and on the walls are artworks that incorporate inspirational words and phrases: Believe. Success. Freedom. Power. No Regrets. Giddy-up!
They were created for Ms. Weiss by a client who is an artist.
For Ms. Weiss, physical fitness blends into emotional and spiritual health — “I think my spirit, mind, body, and heart were becoming more connected,” she said. “It really is a dynamic process, to try to get all the elements working together.”
Training sessions are usually an hour, and may be once, twice, three times a week.
“I go by what the woman needs,” she said. “I always do a fitness evaluation first, and a verbal consultation. … Then I design a program based on where they want to be. Some people commit to two to three times a week, some commit to once a week.”
She grew up on Long Island, went to the State University of New York at Albany, then did graduate work at Long Island University’s branch in Westchester, getting a master’s of science in counseling, “which really fits in nicely with what I do,” she said. “It’s definitely part of what I do.”
She worked as an academic adviser at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
She lives in Ridgefield with her two children, Stella, 9, and Leo, 6. She’s been in town 10 years. “Love it here,” she said.
To become a personal trainer she got certified through the WITS (World Instructor Training Schools) program at Westchester Community College.
“There are many different certification programs,” she said. “I took one that was classroom learning, and one practical training — and then I had an internship.”
Her internship was with Armin Weissenberger of Udofit, also in Branchville.
After about half a year, she has about 25 clients. They range in age from mid 20s to over 70, but “typically my women are 40 to 65,” she said.
Ms. Weiss makes appointments for Monday through Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Some of her clients are high-powered women executives and business owners who need to get their workout in before going to the office. Others are working women who like working out nights. Some are free in the day.
“I’m flexible, and I do it by appointment,” Ms. Weiss said.
She recognizes she’s entered a crowded field.
“There’s so many trainers in the Ridgefield area. It’s about finding the right trainer. It’s like finding the right hairdresser,” she said. “I know the women that come to me come to me for a reason.”