ALBANY – Victoria Fitness in Menands is looking forward to a new year of supporting events that promote wellness within the community.
“It’s about trying to educate and assist individuals in the community with trying to understand the importance of having a healthier life,” reflected business owner Terron Victoria.
Victoria Fitness offers free full-body all-level workouts every Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. This summer, they will be hosting workout sessions at the various parks in the area. Throughout the year, trainer Samantha Munn-Permaul, a mother herself, leads the community on Mommy and Me walks.
“We’re finding ways to get creative to bring everyone together to want to move their bodies,” said Munn-Permaul. “Make it fun; it doesn’t have to be this big, scary thing.”
Victoria described Victoria Fitness as having a “strong community and family bond.” Munn-Permaul’s HIIT classes and one-on-one classes are a complement to Victoria’s personal training. Yoga is also taught twice a week.
They recommend individuals interested in joining classes visit Victoria’s Instagram, @Victoria__Fitness__. Information about Munn-Permaul’s classes can be found at @srm122.
“I’m walking around, encouraging everybody; everyone is encouraging each other,” Victoria said. “Along with myself, my other clients are encouraging you, pushing you forward, and working toward your goal.”
Even though it’s a group setting, there is a strong emphasis on individuality and the unique fitness and wellness journey that every person is on. Victoria noted how everyone’s goal is different. The gym is designed to cater to the needs of each individual.
“We have people of all different backgrounds, all different fitness levels, all different shapes and sizes, everything,” said Munn-Permaul. “It really is like this big melting pot community.”
Victoria said the gym welcomes everyone with open arms.
“We dedicate our time to every individual who comes to the gym,” he said.
Opening his own gym came on the heels of his work with his friend Trinel McDermott at Synergy Albany, a fellow Black-owned private gym. Seeing Victoria’s work as a trainer in his gym, McDermott suggested that Victoria start his own business.
The gym opened in June 2021, inspired by “a leap of faith.” Terron Victoria’s father encouraged him to get a building and form his own gym. Victoria recalled his own initial skepticism about the idea.
“I spoke to my father, and he said, ‘Just do it. You will never know unless you try,’” Victoria said. “One day, I decided to take a leap of faith and try it out. I would never know if I was going to fail or succeed unless I tried.”
His love of training and wellness began gradually and progressed from his youth playing basketball to his time in New York City, where he “started to get back into the gym myself and help others slowly.” He added, “I started to feel that love for training again.”
Munn-Permaul’s wellness journey began in 2017 on a spiritual and mental level. She began incorporating fitness as an integral part of her life in 2018.
“The fitness was the fun part for me,” she said. “I found that I wanted to dig more into fitness. Last year, I decided that I was going to begin training to be a personal trainer.”
Munn-Permaul and Victoria went to elementary school and high school together. Adult life separated them until she saw through social media that he opened his own gym. She went to the gym to support him. A conversation about hosting classes began, and by October, she was teaching.
“Having gym intimidation is real,” she said. “When you walk into Victoria Fitness, it’s not that way. Everyone is there to support you and make you feel comfortable in your journey, whether it’s day one or you’ve been at it for a while.”
Victoria explained that some people may sense a competitive environment within the gym and become discouraged by comparisons. At Victoria Fitness, the goal is to help people overcome this mindset and create a place that promotes wellness for the entire community.
“No matter what in that gym, it’s always family,” said Munn-Permaul. “If you walk in there, it’s such positivity. You feel like you can’t wait to get your workout in. Everyone is there to support each other.”
“When you leave, you leave feeling that you got a good workout based on your capabilities at that moment, and we’re going to progress you to somewhere that you want to be in the future,” Victoria said. “You’re telling yourself that you can’t. But you absolutely can. You just have to believe in yourself and go out and get after it. Not everyone is supposed to go at the same pace. Not everyone’s journey is the same.”