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By Yelena Serrato /The Hesperian-Beacon—
FLOYDADA—Fitness on the Square owner Amanda Peralez has never accepted the lack of experience as a valid excuse not to do something. “It was 2014 when I started teaching Zumba at Rockets Gym, and I really didn’t know anything about Zumba. All I knew was that I needed to work out,” explained Peralez. “I talked to an instructor in Plainview, and she came in and gave a few classes, and then I went and got licensed and started teaching Zumba from 2014-2017,” she added.
During her years as a Zumba instructor, Peralez challenged herself to try something new which led her to Aqua Zumba. “I started Aqua Zumba because a lot of people were complaining of joint problems. They wanted to do Zumba but couldn’t, so I talked to the city and they let me teach classes at the pool when it first opened,” she said.
“Several women wanted to work out and loved the encouragement but didn’t want to dance so I started researching what else I could do. That’s when a friend of mine told me about being a Tabata instructor, which is basically everything a personal trainer does but it’s just one specific interval like 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off,” explained Peralez. “I was really nervous about doing that because I am not fitness trainer. I was like I can’t run, how am I supposed to do this” she said laughingly.
Despite her nerves, Peralez once again challenged herself to do something new, something not just for herself but for the purpose of helping others. “So many people told me they needed somebody to help them work out, so I went to San Angelo and attended a training. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It was an eight-hour training. It was a lot of book work and anatomy and physiology and the last four hours were physical work. I just kept saying God, there is a purpose in this,” said Peralez. After an intensive training, Peralez added yet another certification to her name and this time as a Tabata instructor. Peralez brought Tabata to Floydada in 2018 and had 48 ladies sign up for her first Tabata bootcamp.
Peralez taught Tabata for one year before deciding, once again, to try something new. “I wanted to try something different like yoga and Pilates so I started doing my research and I found a Barre Above certification which is yoga and Pilates combined. I looked into that training and it so happened that they were doing one in Lubbock. In 2019 I signed up for another 8-hour training,” she said.
Peralez’s journey to where she is now, was of course, was faced with a few hardships. “When I started, I didn’t have a home. We were at Rockets Gym but as more ladies came, we were in need of a bigger space. We then relocated to the old high school gym located by the tennis courts for a year and a half until Dr. Trevino mentioned the district’s plan to demolish the building and create a new school facility. I knew I needed to find another place ahead of time. So, I started thinking of where I could go. I knew this building was empty and I took a chance and called the owner, Kyle Smith, and told him I was interested in renting out his building. He then explained to me that he was not renting the place out and I thought it’s okay, God is going to open doors and wherever he does, that’s where I will go. About two weeks later Kyle called me back and said I thought about it and if you want to come and rent it out, it’s yours. I was so excited. I told the girls we finally have a home,” she said happily.
After finally finding herself a place to continue empowering women in 2019, Peralez made the decision to close her doors for a while due to COVID-19. “When COVID-19 hit I had 32 members and then everyone just slowly stopped coming. I actually closed the doors for maybe three months and I just prayed about it. I realized that there had to be another way so I contacted my trainer friends to see what they were doing and they said they were doing it all online through Zoom. However, I am not tech savvy. I did not know how I was going to teach a class through the screen. It was just a foreign language to me; I am intimated by it,” explained Peralez.
“Finally, one of my friends called and said she was doing appointments only and letting her clients know that they can come in by appointment only with not more than two people in attendance. It’s like a personal training and no one has to worry about being around other people during these circumstances. So, I started doing that January 1 and the bookings are filling up as the word is getting out. People usually grab a friend and set up a time convenient for them both. I’ll have a workout planned for them and give them about 10 minutes to stretch and then I disinfect everything and then the next group comes,” commented Peralez.
When asked why she does what she does Peralez answered with, “I am doing this because I know how I felt when I didn’t have anyone to push me. This is a piece of me. I know a lot of women get consumed with family, kids, and their children’s sports games. I was that mom, and I wasn’t healthy. I was feeling tired and depressed, and I knew I needed to start doing something to make myself feel better even if it was just for an hour out of my day. My goal is to get people to feel safe and to know that there is no judgment here. You do not have to be a size two. This is a place for me to show others what they can do. I want to make sure that people who walk in here reach the healthy lifestyle they want. Watching women transform is unbelievable. I cannot describe the feeling when women who have had trouble losing weight tell me that they can fit into their favorite pair of jeans again; it is such an awesome feeling. It’s something so small but so rewarding. I get texts thanking me for helping them love themselves again and that’s what keep me going even through COVID. We are a family.”
Although Peralez’s job revolves around motivating women, there are times when she is the one being inspired. “Fitness on the Square has done a lot for me because I myself struggle to work out and I feel like if I didn’t have to be here, I wouldn’t be doing anything for myself. The girls are also motivating me just as well. I am being held accountable. Kristy, one of my girls has truly inspired me. I love seeing women doing things they said they couldn’t before and being proud of it. These women have prioritized themselves and it makes me feel like I have a purpose with this. I love it,” she mentioned.
After 10 years at Moore-Rose Funeral Home, Amanda Peralez has dedicated all her time to Fitness on the Square. “If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be giving fitness classes, I would have laughed. I would have been like no that is not for me. However, doors just kept opening. It has been so rewarding. Even if I only have one girl show up that alone brings me joy because I know I am helping her get healthy. I take a lot of pride in whoever walks through the door,” stated Peralez.
Peralez, a woman of many talents, has achieved many successes with her business but not without the support of her family who always believed in her. “My family has been amazing. This is a family affair. I feel like they are proud of me because they have seen the hustle part of it. They know that if they want to do something, they have to go do it and not be intimated. I think I have shown them that strong women help each other,” said Peralez.
Fitness on the Square will continue seeing clients by appointment only and in the words of Amanda Peralez herself, “The doors are always open for the young to the elderly.”