Rosanne Kaznowski has always been into fitness, as has her daughter Lauryn, who was a collegiate athlete and holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and an M.S. in Therapeutic Recreation. It was only after Lauryn’s graduation from college that the duo had the idea to turn their passion for exercise and nutrition into more than just a mother-daughter bonding opportunity. They harnessed their knowledge and commitment to start The Fitness Connection – a Kingston, NY gym that doubles as a nutritional center and triples as a holistic wellness hotspot.
Building Something Different
The presence of nutritional counseling and holistic healing under the same roof as Zumba classes and personal training sessions is enough to set The Fitness Connection apart from other gyms. Even so, this isn’t the distinguishing characteristic that first comes to Rosanne’s mind when asked about what she believes makes the business unique.
“I think because [my daughter and I] are both women, we attract other women,” she says. “We didn’t do it this way on purpose, and we do have a few men that come, but our studio is mostly for women. In our area, we don’t have anything like that. Most of the gyms here are coed, so we are the only place that is mostly for women.”
Rosanne adds that another distinguishing factor of The Fitness Connection is the work that the gym does with fitness competitors. Whether it’s coming up with customized fitness plans or working on pre- and post-competition diet, Rosanne and her daughter specialize in helping clients achieve their goals prior to a competition.
Approaches to Training
Like most gyms, The Fitness Connection specializes in both personal training and group fitness classes, including Zumba, and its signature “30-Minutes to Fit” class, which uses a rotating HIIT-style training to target two to three muscle groups per class.
When it comes to determining which of the two options – personal training or group fitness– is the better option, Rosanne points out that each comes with its own unique benefits, and determining what works better really all depends on the individual.
“Group exercise offers a little competitive edge,” she says, noting that it makes a lot of sense for people who are competitive by nature. “If we’re doing a HIIT class or something, for example, then you have clients thinking that they have to keep up with everyone else or do better than them. In personal training, you don’t get that same thing.”
She goes on to add that one benefit only found in personal training is an individualized approach that can help clients improve in specific areas they’re hoping to develop.
“Whether they want to tone, lose weight, or gain muscle, we can design a program geared towards each person [on an individual level].”
The Fitness Connection also offers online personal training, but Rosanne emphasizes that this approach works best for clients who compete in fitness competitions, since they are already familiar with a lot of the movements they are being instructed to do. In these cases, it’s just a matter of setting up a plan that can keep the clients on track.
The average individual, in Rosanne’s opinion, is far better off training with someone in person, since this can keep them accountable and eliminate the risk of putting the workout off, which can be all too easy to do when using virtual training.
Rosanne’s prescribed approach to nutrition for her clients, as well as for herself, is simple: make it a
“There are so many fad diets out there, and somebody might lose 20 or 30 pounds in six weeks, but that’s not a [long-term] change,” she says. “We want our clients to see that if they keep better track of not just calories, but macro nutrients – proteins, carbs, fats – they’re going to be able to incorporate going out to dinner with friends, or having a piece of cake once in a while. They just learn how to have fun while still holding themselves accountable for their daily intake.”
Along that same line, Rosanne emphasizes that it’s normal for people to slip up – she mentions that she is no different – and that the key to maintaining a healthier lifestyle is really learning to accept occasional mistakes without letting them takeover, a mentality that she holds herself and that she tries to extend to her clients.
Bringing elements of natural healing into the mix at The Fitness Connection was in large part a result of Rosanne’s long-time interest in holistic medicine. Not only has she worked as a holistic practitioner, she has also studied reiki – a form of energy healing that works with chakras, pressure points, essential oils, and aromatherapy. Incorporating each of these elements into the business is evidence of Rosanne’s interest in creating a gym that could helps clients achieve not only their fitness goals, but also increases their overall wellness.
In addition to practicing reiki at the gym and incorporating it into some group classes, like “Strength and Stretch,” a class that mixes yoga and strength training, Rosanne says that The Fitness Connection also carries essential oils that can be used to help clients with different issues that might be affecting their health.
“Traditional medicine isn’t bad, but a lot of the common things out there can be treated naturally,” she says. “So if our clients come in with a problem, we try to direct them towards holistic options first.”
Words of Wisdom
The motto at The Fitness Connection is “stronger than yesterday,” which conjures up a sense of inspiration all its own. But Rosanne says her other big piece of fitness advice, in addition to always working to improve on where you last left off, is having the courage and commitment to take the first step.
“Most women, or at least a lot of the women we encounter, just need to get started,” she says. “Once they do, they fall in love and fitness becomes a part of their lives. They just have to get out of their comfort zones to try it, and then it becomes a part of them.”