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Ana Santos Gitzinger, Orinoco Fitness, Libertyville
Orinoco Fitness will help you find balance, have fun and reach your fitness goals through a variety of classes – Zumba Fitness (R), pilates, yoga and sculpt classes. I got to try a class and learn a little bit about Ana and how she balances it all.
What was the catalyst that started your business?
The need for work/life balance. I didn’t have it with my previous corporate job. I was working long hours and felt overwhelmed trying to juggle my work and my family. Always felt guilty about not spending enough quality time with my kids.
Has it been difficult to get your business up and running, while being a stay-at-home mom, managing a household, etc?
Yes, but it pays off! I feel like I can be a better mom when I have professional success. When you work hard, and it’s your own business, you get all the rewards! It’s tough when business is slow, you have staffing issues, and when you can’t control when people come in to use your services… but when your customers appreciate what you are doing for them (and people feel great about themselves), it really makes me feel fulfilled! Like I found my true calling! It’s all about them… about being of service and everything else (financial success, etc.) follows…and I don’t feel guilty anymore since I get plenty of time with my family.
What is the best thing about your job?
Seeing people smile during and after a fitness class (especially ZUMBA) …and hearing how great they feel after taking the time to do something for themselves. Also, seeing people become healthier, more balanced individuals. Knowing I have something to do with that is a great feeling.
What do you do to recharge?
I meditate, go for walks with my dog … and practice yoga once a week minimum. It keeps me grounded and calm. When I miss practicing yoga I feel scattered and unfocused. So I live by the principles of what I want people to find at Orinoco – balance through fitness.
What is your inspiration?
My beautiful family – my husband Tom and 2 boys, have been extremely supportive throughout this process. My family back home (in Venezuela) and my new extended family (in-laws). I can count on them when I need them, and I am always grateful for having such a blessing.
What is the most important thing you want our readers to know?
If you want to start a business, don’t try to do it alone. Ask for help and accept help. Use your gifts and ask others who have expertise in other areas. Successful (and happy) people surround themselves with others to support them. And be thankful, always.
What is your favorite part about your job?
Being home when the kids get home from school. Spending time with them every day since my new schedule allows more flexibility (the studio is open mornings and evenings, the afternoons are for my kids). And I am teaching them the importance of being of service and working hard for their dreams.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The seasonal nature of the fitness industry. I don’t blame my customers for missing classes due to nice weather or vacations (it’s hard to compete with that since we have such extreme weather)!! And since I can’t control the weather… I’m out of luck! But as my customers learn that taking care of our health and staying active is something we should do all year long… I don’t anticipate that being an issue for very long 😉
How long have you been in business?
Our one year anniversary is was Dec 1, 2013!
How difficult was it to get your business up and running while still caring for your child and other responsibilities?
It took a lot of planning and juggling at first. But I found a great babysitter I could count on. And I started anticipating who to ask for help when I needed it. Luckily my kids are in elementary school now, and it’s a lot easier to plan my days with the 2 of them in school.
How did you come up with the name?
Orinoco is a river in Venezuela, which is where I am originally from. I wanted to have a name that signified the beauty of South America and for people to know where I come from. I wanted to honor my beautiful country which gave me the opportunity to come to the United States to attend college at the early age of 17 (through a nationally-funded scholarship program)
Your first class at Orinoco Fitness is always free so try one out today!
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Disclosure: Orinoco Fitness is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.