Y Not You had the pleasure of speaking with Sophia Gigante, owner of SRG fitness located in Yonkers, NY. Sophia has an incredible story, one that shows the true power of having the right mindset and not allowing others to influence you negatively. With hard work, determination, and her love for impacting others, Sophia is becoming a household name in the fitness industry in New York. Her journey of inspiring the “underdog” has only begun.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Sophia Rose Gigante. Most people know me as “SRG.” I am 22-years-old, running my own health and wellness business, SRG FITNESS on Central Avenue in Yonkers, New York. I have been a certified Personal Trainer now for the past 3 years as well as a certified Nutrition Specialist and Special Needs trainer. I am also a nutrition teacher at my old high school. Despite the strength, resilience, and growth that I have experienced through the past few years, I have gone through many challenges in life. On April 5th 1998, I was born with an incurable brain disorder, Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus disables the natural flow of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain. Due to this, at just 3-weeks old, I had my first brain surgery and have lived with a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt ever since. Besides living with Hydrocephalus, I have had to overcome many other medical obstacles. It took me 18 months before I could take my first steps due to a condition called Hypotonia. This low muscle tone caused me to have minimal physical strength on the right side of my body, and many years of physical therapy and feet braces to try and correct the problem. I also had multiple eye surgeries due to another condition called Strabismus. As if the Hydrocephalus, Hypotonia, and Strabismus wasn’t enough, when I was 8-years-old, I was also diagnosed with a seizure disorder. I spent many years having to deal with seizure medication, EEG testings, MRIs, and many other hardships due to the seizures.
What made you get into doing what you do now?
After spending years having limitations and being told “you can’t,” I made a life decision not to let this stop me from being the best person I could be and achieve anything I want to. When I started getting older and healthier, I decided to go to the gym to see if I could begin doing physical activity. I started going to the gym when I was 16-years-old and fell in love with seeing how I could be in control of my body. As the years went on, I started learning how to effectively change my body and gain strength, both physically and mentally. I learned that no matter what I have gone through in life, I am in control of my body, mind, spirit, and future. Today, I am proud of who I have become and am excited to share the rest of my story with the world. I will be coming out with my first book, “Strength, Resilience, Growth: How I Defied Physical and Mental Limitations and Took Control of My Future.”
What differentiates you from others within your industry?
Many gyms and personal training facilities focus on training people for weight loss, or athletics. At SRG FITNESS, I welcome clients of all walks of life, all limitations, and all goals. I am proud to be able to not only work with weight-loss clients and athletes, but clients with special needs. I have trained individuals with many conditions such as autism, epilepsy, and OCD. I also specialize in training stroke survivors, older adults and the elderly. SRG FITNESS portrays that health and fitness is for everyone. Besides personal training, I help clients with their nutrition. I believe that SRG FITNESS should encompass all aspects of health and wellness. I work with individuals to create personalized, sustainable, and effective meal plans to help them achieve their goals. I give nutrition counseling to anyone who seeks guidance. I help clients with their anxiety through physical fitness and eating foods that will benefit their well-being. I have been able to expand SRG FITNESS virtually as well. I now get to train people all over the country to get them on a healthy lifestyle track!
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
At just 22-years-old I can proudly say that I have accomplished a lot. However, I believe the sky is the limit. This is only the beginning for me. In the next 5 years, I see myself turning my personal training studio into a full health and wellness facility. I want SRG FITNESS to be the place people come to for all aspects of health, not just working out. I want to expand my brand worldwide by continuing virtual training and opening up different locations in many states. I see myself sharing my story with the world and doing many seminars, talks, and other health and wellness events. In the next 5 years, I want to be on the cover of health magazines as the “go-to” health and wellness coach and program.
What challenges have you faced while building your business and brand?
Despite my success in the last few years. I have faced a few challenges while building SRG FITNESS. One of the biggest challenges I faced was the judgement of people I thought would support me at all times. I would get remarks saying I work too much or I am too much into health and fitness. There was a time when this judgement made it difficult for me to express how I felt, my goals, and my motivation. Another challenge I faced was getting used to utilizing social media. I found it difficult to figure out what to post, when to post, and how to post in order to advertise SRG FITNESS in the best possible way.
What have you learned from these challenges?
I have learned now that the judgement of others should not be a set-back. Instead, it is what fuels my drive. There will always be people out there that have something to say about what you are doing. You can either choose to let it upset you, or let it make you stronger. I have learned to let it make me stronger. I have learned to keep moving forward. I am not worried anymore about posting on social media. I am not worried about the negativity of others. Instead, I focus on my goals and those who are in my corner.
What advice would you give to others while on their journey?
Everyone has a purpose in life. I have been lucky enough to find mine at a young age, however, that may not be the case for most. My advice to others is to keep moving forward. It may take you longer to find your passion, or start your goal, or complete a task, but it is possible. Do not let anyone ever tell you that you cannot achieve something. And most importantly don’t give up on yourself. Take small steps towards your goal if you have to, but always work hard to achieve greatness. With Strength, Resilience, and Growth, anything is possible.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If I could give any advice to my younger self it would be to not be afraid. For many years due to my health conditions, I lived in fear. I did not know where life was going to take me and I was afraid to put myself out there. I would now want my younger self to know that despite any challenges, anything is possible. I am stronger than my set-backs. I would tell my younger self to keep moving forward. That no matter what life has thrown her way, she has a purpose.
What is your why?
My why is to inspire. To make the underdog feel powerful. To show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. My why is to take my personal experiences and help others with their challenges. I want my story to be something people look up to. If I could change just one person’s life either through fitness, nutrition, or overall wellbeing, I want to bring a new meaning to health and wellness. My why is to take what I have learned in the past 22 years, and apply them to better the lives of others.