Over 20 years in the fitness industry, Deb Mastropaolo taught many classes from Pilates to R.E.A.L fitness. In 2000, her fitness journey transformed her life, and now she helps to do the same for countless others. Continue reading to learn more about her story.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Deb Mastropaolo, and I am an active adult, wife and mother of two adult daughters. This is my 20th anniversary in the fitness industry. When I was a young woman in the business world, raising two daughters and caring for my elderly, ailing father-in-law, my husband and I were overwhelmed with all the responsibility. We had no family support; so we leaned on each other.
Unfortunately, my father-in-law’s illness was a five-year journey for all of us. I do not regret the time we had with him, as each day was precious; however, it took a toll on my own health. I neglected myself and became out of shape. I promised myself I would get into shape because I had children and they needed me.
It was the spring of 2000 and a friend of mine said “After we put the kids on the bus, let’s join a fitness class;” so we did. The trainer assessed me and stated I was 20 years older than what my real age was at the time. I knew I was out of shape, but did not realize just how much. This news was devastating. My thought was if I am already 20 years older than I actually am, when I reached that age I would be in worse shape than I am now.
This news was devastating, yet it was an eye opener. I went home and cried. After I wiped my tears away, I made a decision to do something, so I joined a group exercise class with my friend. Initially, I was quite intimated. Everyone in class was older than me and in much better shape, but I hung in there. I took my first Pilates class and LOVED it. My friend quit after 90 days, but I continued without her for the next four years taking cardio-kickboxing, yoga, and other classes.
Shortly thereafter, club members were asking me to train them. Therefore, I became certified in Pilates, then cardio-kickboxing and then became a personal trainer. I was hooked and loved sharing my new knowledge with other women who were just like me. Five years later, I decided to go for the “Gold card”, Excellence in Fitness, and become an ACSM Certified Personal trainer.
At this time, my husband and I were going through yet another family turmoil and failure was not an option. I passed this difficult test on the first try and was so proud of myself. I have now been teaching group exercise classes, as well as private small group training for the past 16 years.
What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
I want to encourage people to come to our club. It does not matter if you have not worked out in the past year or past 20 years. Just walk through the doors, and let me help you one class at a time get stronger and more confident.
It brings me great pleasure to watch my students become empowered, and more involved in life to stay active. Exercising allows them to live a more productive and fulfilling life, and in turn they encourage someone else.
What are 3 words to describe Echelon/Thrive?
Family, motivating and involved in the community.
What would you say to someone who may feel too intimidated to begin exercising?
I truly understand and can relate to how they feel, but don’t let this dictate the rest of your life. I too felt intimidated 20 years ago, but I was determined not to let my short-comings get the best of me. My attitude was I will not focus on what I cannot do, but what I CAN do to make my life better at any age. Your health is first and foremost.
People will always make excuses WHY they cannot come to the gym (work, family, kids & money). You can make a lot of money at your job, but what good is it if you cannot take long walks on the beach, park, or have no energy to enjoy life. I have seen first-hand how NOT exercising can rob your body of its strength. Exercise helps alleviate physical, emotional and psychological concerns.
What do you like to do on your days off?
I love spending time with my husband, family and friends. I LOVE to read novels and anything fitness related, watch movies, take long walks on the beach or at the park, and go out dancing.
How do you define success?
Success to me is not accepting NO for an answer. A successful person is not afraid of failure. If something does not work, keep trying. Don’t give up. No one is perfect.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“People may not remember exactly what you said or did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
How do you feel about the MemberPERX program?
Member Perx is fabulous for our members. We are the only club that gives this program to all our wonderful members. It is a great way to experience different restaurants, spa services, savings on cars, professional services and much more. I saved hundreds. I plan on using this program more often.
What is your favorite class to teach?
I teach a variety of classes from cardio, strength training, chair fitness, Osteoporosis/balance, Pilates and yoga strength. I truly love all the formats, as each brings something different for my students.
I started R.E.A. L. (Rediscover your Energy at an Adaptable Level) All three components are important to one’s health. Cardio for your heart, strength training to keep your muscles and bones strong, Pilates and yoga for flexibility and mind and body connection.
What would you say to someone just getting started?
If you are just starting out on your fitness journey, start with a beginner friendly class you find interesting and take it one class at a time. Most people can do much more than they think they can. Fitness classes worked for me 20 years ago, and they will work for you.