The Fitness Academy

How this all came to be…

Hello and welcome!

For my very first blog (ever) here is a quick little introduction about myself.

My name is Matt Gabriel, I am the owner of The Fitness Academy, LLC. I have been involved in fitness since I graduated high school back in 2005. One of my first jobs was at a local gym in my area where I actually started out as a lifeguard. I worked my way over to the front desk, then decided to go online and get one of those cheap – “pay us $100, take this test as many times as you need and then boom, you’re a certified personal trainer.” *Side note for a future blog, one of my many pet peeves about the fitness industry.*

Anyway, after becoming “certified” I started to pick up clients, not thinking much of it past just an extra source of income. It was not the type of gym that made a lot of money through its personal training program so I soon moved into yet another department, sales and marketing.

This all happened over the course of a 7 year span. In-between this job I had actually gone to a trade school to become a Registered Medical Assistant where I worked at an Ear, Nose & Throat doctors office. The doctor I assisted specialized in vertigo and equilibrium imbalance which I found to be fascinating. It truly is amazing to witness what our bodies are capable of.

It was after my time as a R.M.A. I had met a woman who had a hunger for success and to create her own path in life that, at the time my brain could not even comprehend. I had always had the dream/fantasy about starting my own business. Little did I know what was in store for me. This woman (who we will call Vivica) and I had grown very close. This was also during a time of unemployment for me. Vivica had told me about how she was in the process of starting her very own business, a dance studio for children and adults. She was actually just days away from signing a lease at a location just a few minutes away from where I was living at the time. With the bond and trust that we had developed for each other she had asked me if I wanted to partner up with her. So there I was sitting at a Barnes & Noble across from this new person that had just entered my life like hurricane asking me if I wanted to be apart of her business. I tried to play it cool but it was a no brainer, I was in!

Fast forwarding, I ended up walking away from my dream of being my own boss for “the safe bet.” I picked a career with great health benefits, outstanding pay with all the overtime someone could ask for and job security. I was now driving trains for the Hudson/Bergen Light Rail and I had never been more miserable in my entire life.

Constantly in the thought of “what the hell am I doing here, and how do I escape this “prison sentence?” as I used to refer to it as. Feeling like I had 40 more years of this before retirement. One night while operating the train it hit me like a jolt of lightening to the brain. It was that “ah ha!” moment. I had realized all of my past jobs revolved around people in someway. (some jobs not mentioned here believe it or not) At this time I had also found my only outlet for all of my stress and anxiety was exercise. So, when you take a love for fitness and mix it with a love people you get…

The Fitness Academy

Within almost no time after that moment had embedded itself into my soul I enrolled myself into NPTI, National Personal Training Institute to get myself a REAL education. I once again found myself in a classroom as a full time student. Needless to say I graduated from NPTI with a diploma that lasts a lifetime. No silly certification that expires. I have a thorough education in personal training, anatomy, kinesiology and nutrition. NPTI truly creates fitness professionals and I am ever so grateful for the time I spent there.

From the moment that I had on the train and the time I spent with Vivica I knew the end goal was to open my own personal training studio. However, to get even more experience I decided to work at a high end gym in north Jersey after graduation. It was a great experience that allowed me to test out my new education and skill set. It was there I realized about myself that I love to educate my clients. I believe the “why” is what gives reason and purpose to everything. So, while I’m working with my clients I always make sure to give the “why” behind each exercise and movement instead of just saying, “Do these 20 burpees.”

And therein lies the philosophy behind The Fitness Academy. You’re not paying me to train you, you’re paying me to change your life. I’m not there to count your reps, I’m there to explain to you why I have you doing 15 reps instead of stopping at 10. I’m there to explain to you why/how your diet is negatively affecting your progress. We will also spend time teaching you how to create small changes that begin the snowball effect of healthy life style habits that honestly goes beyond just exercise and diet.

Well, that about wraps up my introduction. I hope this gives my viewers a little better insight on the kind of environment you will be in when you decide to join The Fitness Academy.

If you’re looking for even more information follow me on social media @FitnessAcademyNJ on Instagram

If you would like to contact me directly, please feel free to e-mail me at

The Fitness Academy is located at 47 E Ridgewood Ave. Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Your first session is always on me!

Why? Because I always like to make sure I connect with my clients. I like to make sure we are on the same page about everything and that we are working towards the same goal.

Until next time!

Peace & Love,

~ Matt G.


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