North Branford Patch: How did you first get interested in fitness?
Caryl DeCarlo: I’ve probably been working out for about 23 years now. I just started working out in the gym and I really loved it. It just became my lifestyle.
North Branford Patch: What did you love about exercising?
DeCarlo: How it made me feel physically and mentally. I think it’s both and I think it helps people in both aspects of their lives.
North Branford Patch: Who are your typical clients?
DeCarlo: Most of them are women. I’ve had two men, but mostly women. They like the privacy. I think that most women are intimidated to go to a gym. I want them to leave here feeling confident and having that sense of self that they can go to any gym and work out and not be afraid. They will leave here learning proper form and many exercises.
North Branford Patch: What sort of programs do you offer?
DeCarlo: I do personal training, which is actual strength training. Normally, when someone just starts we’ll do upper body one day, and then we’ll do cardio after that, and then the next time we’ll do lower body, and then cardio. I try to incorporate one day of just cardio. It’s usually a bit of everything—strength training, cardio, different classes to mix it up.
North Branford Patch: How did you make the transition of turning your hobby into a business?
DeCarlo: It was a hard transition because I had worked fulltime for 20 years. Once we developed the home gym I said, “Well, let me try to do it part-time while I work full-time.” It just really seemed to take off and I loved helping people. It’s a passion that I’ve always had but never had the opportunity to actually do it. Once I got started, I said, “I’m going to give it a shot and see what happens.” And so far, so good.
North Branford Patch: How did you first spread the word about your business?
DeCarlo: I said to my boss at work, “Let me train you for free and we’ll see what happens with your body.” So once she started changing, everyone at work noticed and that reflected back to me. That’s where my business really started. I also did open houses every year and put fliers throughout the neighborhood. I also just made a website.
North Branford Patch: When it comes to fitness, what is your personal philosophy?
DeCarlo: My philosophy is that strength training is a necessity. A lot of women are intimidated and think that if they lift heavy weights, they are going to become huge and it just does not work that way. Strength training, cardio, mixing it up, doing different things is huge. I also think eating is a huge part of it.
North Branford Patch: What is the biggest misconception about exercising and personal trainers?
DeCarlo: Sometimes people think if they work out, they can eat whatever they want. That doesn’t work. Sometimes people think that personal trainers are self-absorbed. For me, I always make it 100 percent about my clients. I become friends with them, which sometimes makes it difficult.
North Branford Patch: How do you motivate your clients?
DeCarlo: I just talk to them. You become a therapist a little bit. It’s a matter of staying on them and staying connected to them. I try to talk to them about their self-worth because it really plays a big role in everything.
North Branford Patch: How would you describe a day in the life of a personal trainer?
DeCarlo: It’s really nice, especially because I work out of my home. I love what I do, it’s a great life. I would love a thousand clients.
North Branford Patch: What is your favorite exercise?
DeCarlo: I love squats. They work everything—your quads, your hamstrings, your glutes, your calves, your core. I love them, and I actually just wrote an article about them on the website.
North Branford Patch: What is your least favorite exercise?
DeCarlo: I really like everything. For my clients, most women don’t like to train upper body. They hate tricep kickbacks. They don’t feel comfortable, but I work on that with them.
North Branford Patch: What is the most satisfying part of your job?
DeCarlo: When I actually see people transform their bodies and how much it changes their lives. I’ve worked with women who are going through divorce and were so down when they first came here, and they left here like new people with a different sense of themselves. To me, that’s amazing, I love that feeling. We also develop friendships and we always keep in touch, even when they aren’t clients anymore.
North Branford Patch: What is your goal for the future, where would you like to see this grow to?
DeCarlo: I’d like to do more work with kids. I would love to do more kids' fitness parties. I love to work with children, it’s just fun.
To be featured in ‘A Day in the Life’ or to suggest someone who should be profiled, send information to Jim Gangi.