Melanie Giliati and Kimberly Sirico Konopka were busy bouncing between Manhattan and Brooklyn fitness classes, juggling mandates, and contending with different studio owners who all had their own ambitions. They were experiencing a bit of a disconnect. Then, COVID came. And like that, they were severed from their community altogether.
Driven to reconnect, they considered the law of attraction —that what we put out into the universe comes back to us. So, to reclaim their fitness community, they decided to develop their own program. They shaped it around what Melanie and Kimberly call their three foundational attractions:
SCULPT (attract strength!),
SWEAT (attract power!),
and BUILD (attract stability!).
The program immediately took off. Right away, they realized that to maintain their personalized approach, they’d have to level up and offer more than just workouts. With FitAttraction, connectivity and accountability remain the name of the game. Melanie and Kimberly chat with you personally, attentively guide you through challenging routines, and craft a fitness plan attuned to your realities.
What was the inspiration behind FitAttraction?
As much as FitAttraction was created during the pandemic, the foundation workout that started it all was a concept we had discussed earlier that year, where we were even exploring an opportunity to open a physical studio in our neighborhood. At that time, we were both experiencing our own versions of burnout, bouncing between fitness studios while juggling other daytime jobs and responsibilities. We needed to work smarter and not harder. Luckily the studio option fell through because when the pandemic hit, New York (and the rest of the world) completely shut down.
And, just like that, we were severed from our community altogether. So, in order to boost each other’s morale and reconnect with our clients who knew 2020 was going to be a long year ahead, we started a workout that we called Sculpt.Sweat.Build (SSB). An energizing and positive sequence co-taught by us in 10 minute alternating intervals encompassing the fitness modalities we love and know best; core stabilization, mobility, agility, balance and high-intensity cardiovascular exercises. We, of course, used Zoom to teach the class because at the time, that was all that was available in an online group style setting. We were opposed to the live stream option since our goal from inception was to maintain the client/instructor relationship by staying connected one-on-one and create a positive trust-worthy community. The fitness world was being inundated with live IG workouts, YouTube videos and on-demand streaming. The personal approach was lost, a virtual idea of perfection filled our feeds, and many would have to swipe through hundreds of workouts confused about which was right for their body and their needs.
As Instructors, that’s our job.
So as this took off and we began to build this powerful group of committed women we realized we needed to level up and offer more than just a workout. That’s when FitAttraction was born. We created a fitplan geared toward functional fitness that was simple, sophisticated, effective and achievable to help women move again. We considered the Law of Attraction, a book that reappeared while conceptualizing and planning the business model (and deciding a name!) which spoke strongly to us. The first law “That which is like unto itself is drawn” describes how the energy you put out there in the universe, whether good or bad, will eventually come back to you. It teaches how the power of your mindset when in a challenging place, in this case as our lives were flipped around and the world came to complete standstill, can change and impact the path ahead. So, we knew at that moment, calling ourselves FitAttraction symbolized the energy we wanted clients to experience and extend into their own fitness/lifestyle journey no matter where they were coming from.
How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
It went from being just a class to a full program and transformation plan. It evolved along the way as we discovered what our clients now needed in this new and different life space. We realized even though we were now online, people still wanted and yearned for that communication. Fitattraction has evolved into an online fitness & wellness support system. Our vision from the start was to provide fitness not just in Body, but in Mind and Spirit.
What would you say is different today than it was just a few years ago about at-home and online wellness?
Online fitness has been going on for years, with on-demand videos, apps, even DVD workout sets if we’re talking over 10 years ago. The pandemic just brought it forward since it was the only option. And what we think happened, this being the only resource when you’re stuck at home in quarantine, is that people began to realize the logistical convenience of at-home fitness. In New York City, people are very busy and have to fit more things in one day than they can handle – everyone has a side hustle and everyone has a social life. Also, now that we have all explored and switched to remote working, we are able to have a more balanced schedule, without all the commuting we did Pre-Covid, essentially leaving more time to fit a workout throughout the day. Therefore, we believe that today, people are more apt to trying at-home fitness and are open to making space in their homes and schedules to include it into their lifestyles.
What else should we know about you? What sets FitAttraction apart from the competition?
We are two women from two different generations telling a real story, with real bodies and real experiences offering a real transformation. One where you feel in control of your body and one where you understand your body. Not one that is biologically impossible to achieve for an average woman; “long lean legs; a flat stomach; a big booty”
The fitness industry for a female fitness professional is a very intimidating space. Where looks, unequivocally, outweigh talent. We know for a fact that women out there are tired of seeing that. They don’t need someone in a crop top telling them to do 50 squats to have a great a$$. Women want to know so much more and are much more attuned to their bodies than 20 years ago. They want to know why a sequence was so hard for them, why a certain body part doesn’t feel great, how they can move better, how a modification can help them. And 80% of the women coming into fitness need those modifications because either they have an injury or imbalance or have never trained before! We make sure to provide those tools so that women feel safe and in control of their workout so they can build and progress.
So instead of naming our workouts after a specific technique (Pilates, Barre. HIIT) or a body part (Arms, Abs, Booty), we wanted to influence the mind body connection in fitness and name them according to what you want to attract; Attract Stability (core stability, alignment and balance), Attract Strength (toning and defining muscle groups), and finally Attract Power (cardiovascular endurance).
We are both Pilates trained, received our Personal Training Certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) (Melanie) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) (Kimberly). Kim has over 20 years of experience in Dance and Melanie just completed her certificate in Corrective Exercise Specialization at NASM. It is MOST important for us to know our clients and their stories, and provide them with one-on-one feedback that will help them in their fitness transformation.
We are relatable, professional and most importantly, we don’t take ourselves too seriously:)
What has been the biggest challenge/hurdle you have faced so far?
Everything we do to grow this business has been a challenge because we never thought we’d be here running an online fitness platform. It’s exciting and frightening at the same time. But we try to have fun and be the best at solving problems day to day. However, the biggest challenge so far has been navigating the online cyberspace. It’s not like having an in-person studio space where you can create a walk-in experience through design, energy, personality and word of mouth. Being online, there is no initial walk-in, or face-to-face connection. Therefore, figuring out how to reach out and communicate virtually to that audience who needs us, has been the trickiest part. However, we have been working hard building a supportive team and strategizing a marketing plan to streamline our goals.
What has been your biggest milestone/achievement so far?
We have two. The first, that reminds us everyday why we love what we do, is how we’ve been able to maintain a solid, recurring membership clientele since we launched our platform online in February. Our clients have been consistent, excited, motivated and feel stronger and as fit as they’ve ever been.
The second, which is also very exciting, is how we’ve managed to move to a new virtual fitness platform and finally get off Zoom! Oh, the woes of Zoom. We were baffled at how this was the only option for group face-to-face online fitness training, and completely frustrated with the platform altogether. Zoom was never meant for fitness! The perpetual “I can’t find the zoom link” saga, glitchy timing, and terrible audio quality especially when music plays a key role in fitness motivation and, needless to say, imperative in dance cardio.
The new platform called Instructrr Live, has solved all those problems. It took us a while to update our tech gear, but we are so glad we finally found a new online home and which has 100% optimized our client’s online experience. Clients now connect to our “virtual studio” via the built-in interface (always in group fitness setting). The platform has individual music and voice audio channels where we as instructors have control over volume levels to ensure the perfect sound suited for each workout. Each class is automatically recorded, so if a client cannot attend it Live, they can catch it later on their own time, never missing a workout. There are lots of user-friendly features such as a Camo-cam – the third camera option Zoom never had – where a client may choose to have ONLY the instructor see them as opposed to everyone else in the virtual room.
This has improved our business tremendously allowing us to focus primarily on the client and the magic of the movement.
Tell us about what you’re working on now.
Team building, streamlining our client outreach online, summer pop-ups and a wellness retreat in jungle paradise at some point next year:) Tweaking our program as we go to better serve our clients’ immediate needs.
What have you learned most from entrepreneurship?
Melanie: That the work never stops. That you need to eat, sleep, breathe and love your business everyday and feed it with ideas, intuition, problem solving, strategy and details and positivity!
And most importantly that you cannot do it alone. Building a solid, professional, like-minded team of talent and energy will set you apart and help you build your way to a successful business.
Kimberly: You can not be all things to your business. You need to utilize your strengths and learn to build a team and delegate those tasks you are not strong at.
What is the one piece of advice that has impacted you the most?
Melanie: From my grandfather to my Father “If you’re gonna do something do it right”
I realized this was instilled in me at a young age since it reflects strongly in my work ethic. If I commit to something I always have to give it my all and make sure to get the work done. I rarely half-ass something – otherwise I just don’t do it. I probably slack in other areas of my life, but when it comes to work and business, especially my own business, I am a perfectionist and do not cut corners.
Kimberly: In this online space you need to be as niche as possible and be very clear on who your client is. Your business can’t and should not be all things to all people. You can provide a solution to your particular client base
What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?
Melanie: To learn that it’s ok to say No. To say NO, if you know it will exhaust your energy. Where giving yourself doesn’t have to mean giving yourself up. In my culture, serving is how you prove your love and devotion. But it can become convoluted where in order to serve (whether in work, love, friendship etc) it’s possible to lose yourself or time for yourself and the things you want. So to translate that to a place of positivity, learn to say YES to yourself instead.
Kimberly: To concretely know and understand the value she brings to the table as a business owner and not to accept anything less than that value. KNOW YOUR WORTH!
Would you say you have to have specific potential needs in order to start as an entrepreneur? If so, what are the specific potential needs?
Melanie: I remember a quote I saw by Elon Musk “If you need inspiration (to be an Entrepreneur), don’t do it”
I don’t take that as literal as it is, because I think we all need to be inspired but it speaks profoundly as to what it takes to be an Entrepreneur. And I think that special thing is belief and drive within yourself to succeed and get it done. No one can create that for you or do the work for you. It starts with you.
Kimberly: I don’t necessarily think you have to have specific potential needs in order to become an entrepreneur, however, I think you have to have a clear vision on what you want your end result to be. I also feel that can change and shift as you grow and learn more about your clients and yourself.