Marisella Villano is one of the many self-starting entrepreneurs zingfit is proud to have as clients.

Marisella’s journey and the brave leaps she took unfold in two great chapters: first, how she came to be a boutique fitness entrepreneur, and second, how she made her boutique studio a long-lasting success. Here we look at the first chapter. Chapter 2, the story of how Marisella founded and built MARVIL FIT into the successful brand that it is today, can be found here.

From someone who would occasionally work out to a passionate cycling instructor and business owner—here is Marisella’s story:

Fitness became an integral part of my life over 20 years ago after I lost 40 lbs taking fitness classes at my local gym.

My favorite instructor and fitness director at the gym, Jayne, noticed my progression, my dedication, my enthusiasm and my ability to keep good form in classes.

Desperate to find an emergency instructor for Sunday morning spin, Jayne asked me if I was interested in teaching spinning!

I was reluctant, but after much prodding I accepted the offer.

Determined to make sure my class went off without any issues, I created a playlist and profile that I memorized to perfection. You only get one chance to make a first impression! When it was game time, I killed it. I was nervous, but after a few minutes of a jittery start, everything fell into place. And so, the possibility of starting a fitness career emerged.

As a recent college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in marine science and a Master’s degree in gerontology, the study of aging, I felt guilty not pursuing a career in my fields of study.

Dealing with the guilt of not using my education, my very wise uncle Johnny told me that knowledge is a light load to carry. He was right! Little did I know at the time that my background in biology and the study of aging would help me differentiate myself within the fitness industry and help create the MARVIL Method.

After teaching my first class, I knew I needed some formal fitness education.  That’s when I got my spinning certification with Madd Dogg athletics and realized I still did not have enough knowledge to continue as a fitness professional.

Through the years, I accumulated A LOT of fitness training,

4 personal training certifications, a group fitness certification, a mat Pilates certification and many years of continuing education. For me, knowledge is imperative when you are responsible for the well-being of another person. In order to be good teacher must one must always be a good student.

I taught spinning and other fitness classes in gyms all over the Hamptons and used the opportunities to get as much experience as I possibly could. While I enjoyed teaching and training clients, I was disenchanted with the way fitness professionals were treated and paid in gyms. Because of this disenchantment, I started my own traveling personal training business in the Hamptons to give myself some separation from the gyms. I can thank Randy from the Gym Source in Southampton for helping me find clients.

In 2008, I discovered the boutique fitness scene.

One of my clients insisted that I take a class with her at a popular cycling studio.  After the class, I knew I wanted to be part of the boutique fitness industry. I knew I was just as good as the instructor from the class I just took and I knew I could duplicate the experience — and enhance it — by adding the 20 years of fitness wisdom I had accumulated. With all that confidence, I was still fearful of failure and the huge undertaking of starting my own business.

Having two small children and starting a business is no easy task. I kept asking my husband, “But what if it fails?”

Poor guy, he heard me say that countless times for months! His response was perfect. He said, “You will never know unless you try.” Getting the blessing from my husband is exactly what I needed. He was right! How would I know if I didn’t try?

And we were off! I calculated what my potential rent would be and how many bikes I would need to fill to pay my overhead. Aside from teaching classes and personal training, I began teaching outdoor boot camps to offset the costs of starting a new business.

With a wing and a prayer, and a small budget, we started this crazy, fun, tough and rewarding journey. MARVIL FIT was born!

— Marisella, founder of MARVIL FIT

Note from zingfit: Thanks, Marisella, for sharing your story! And thanks to all for reading this blog post. If you find yourself in Hampton Bays be sure to book into class at marvilfit.com.