STATEN ISLAND, NY — When Cristina Capotorto was a cheerleader at Fontbonne Hall Academy in Bay Ridge, she was in the best shape of her life. Lifting her teammates in various stunts, holding a pyramid pose for minutes at a time and performing all manner of somersaulting feats, the former high school athlete says she has benefited greatly from these rigorous practices, during which her body was always in a cycle of constant movement. .
So when Capotorto, now in her 30s, was looking for a new exercise regimen to keep her fit, cheerleading (though quirky and unconventional) seemed like the perfect fit.
“When I happened to see an ad on social media for CheerFIT, I didn’t think twice about signing up to get my captain’s certification,” noted Capotorto, describing a national fitness company that provides fun, high-energy workouts through a series of private group classes across the country. . “Having coached competitive high school cheerleaders for a decade and having been a high school cheerleader myself, I knew this would be perfect for me.”
Capotorto, who currently works full-time as a high school history teacher at St. Joseph Hill Academy in Arrochar, said the new business opportunity gave her the outlet she was looking for.
“I love what I do, but I wanted to engage in a side activity outside of the classroom that would be fun, make me happy, and benefit my mental and physical health,” she said. . “As teachers, we give back so much time to our students that we often tend to forget about ourselves.”
Founded several years ago by Danielle Wechsler, a former Syracuse University cheerleader who realized that collegiate athletes needed a “bridging program” at the end of their careers, the CheerFIT program offers moves to tone and strengthen, with the added fun of training with pom poms..
“CheerFIT isn’t just about fitness, it’s also about community, empowerment and building confidence,” Capotorto said.
According to the company, CheerFIT is a combination of stability, balance, cardio, strength training, core work and flexibility.
“The unique structure of a CheerFIT class is specifically designed to tone, strengthen and sculpt the entire body, all while building confidence and having fun,” the company said in a statement. “CheerFIT is created from the core philosophy that fitness is not punishment. We’re on a mission to change the mindset from “I gotta train to I want to train” and to make your CheerFIT workout the highlight of your day.
Three types of CheerFIT classes are offered, including CheerFIT Sculpt, CheerFIT Dance, and CheerFIT Bootcamp, all lasting 30-45 minutes each. Capotorto’s classes are currently being held at multiple gyms across Staten Island and Brooklyn with outdoor workouts planned as well. Aerobic style training is priced at $20 per session.
“By dividing my time between Brooklyn, where I live, and Staten Island, where I work, I want to spread that sense of community and empowerment through fitness to both the Brooklyn and Staten Island community because I am the only CheerFIT Group fitness instructor in both boroughs,” Capotorto said of his newly launched business.
In September, Capotorto will host several outdoor CheerFIT Sculpt classes on Sundays in both boroughs: two at Clove Lake Park in Staten Island (September 4 and 11) and one at Dyker Beach Park in Brooklyn (September 18), all 10 a.m. As one of the Sunday classes falls on September 11, 50% of proceeds will be donated to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
“What’s really fun about this class is that whether you’re a cheerleader or not, everyone practices with their own set of pom poms,” Capotorto said. “The goal of this program is to motivate while strengthening both body and mind.”
Those interested in joining should visit recess.tv/@cheerfitcristina and can follow Capotorto on Instagram @Cristina_cheerfit. She encourages gyms interested in hosting a pop-up class to email her at [email protected], and any high school cheerleading squads interested in additional conditioning can also sign up for private group sessions. .