A mom on a misson, Christina is making exercise for everybody. It’s a movement, and many local women are thrilled to be a part of it.
The house is now quiet, the kids are in bed and Christina sits down to create a new playlist and plan for the next morning’s workout. This is a grounding moment for her, a nightly routine. She looks forward to this time in her day, when she can reflect on her client’s needs, how their day went and what she can do to help them tomorrow. It’s a passion.
“Every day is different. I like to keep it super simple and just add a little something extra every day. It doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s just about getting movement. Let’s just succeed,” she says as she explains her method of making exercise for everybody.
“If you wanted to start cooking, you wouldn’t start with the most complicated recipe. But if we all felt a little bit better, we’d all be a little kinder, we’d handle life better…” she says.
Christina Caruso is the owner of Body 360 Fitness, a personal training business in Brecksville, and she is an instructor at the Brecksville Community Center, teaching workouts every morning, five days a week at 9:30 am. In the afternoons, she can have as many as five personal training clients a day. It’s a busy life, but one that she makes sure works for her family.
“I am very dedicated to being at that bus stop,” she says. “I make sure it works around my family because they’re first.”
But her clients are like a family, too. “It’s a great community of women. It’s not just about the workouts. This is a family.”
But it’s a family that happened by accident. Christina wasn’t always a personal trainer and exercise instructor. She started her career in the corporate world, working in the wine industry. Her career took her from the University of Kansas, to Chicago, Sonoma County, California (wine country), and Manhattan, where she met her husband Dominic.
After living an exciting life working dream jobs in New York, though, Dominic’s father called them home to Brecksville to start a new business, Caruso’s Coffee. So they packed up, gave up their exciting careers and started building a business from the ground up. It wasn’t always easy. They lived pretty tight for a while. Then, they started a family.
Christina decided not to go back to work after her first child, Dominic was born. But living on one income while trying to grow a business, was tough. And, being a stay at home mom wasn’t easy either. To give herself an outlet, she started taking workout classes locally. She loved it so much that she took more and more. But it was getting to be an expensive hobby. So, she decided that she would turn something that she loved into a way to make money to support her family.
She slowly gained certifications in Barre, Pilates and Personal Training. However, there would be setbacks. At one point, when her second child Gemma was a baby, Christina broke her leg and had to go through a lot of physical therapy to recover.
“That was an awakening,” she says. Going through that type of physical challenge though, has helped Christina develop her philosophy that exercise can be for everybody. She knows from personal experience how hard it can be to start over, to start from the beginning, to feel limited. “My oldest client is 85. I help people with everything from sciatica, knee injuries, back injuries. It’s okay to be a beginner. Every day, you’re a beginner at a lot of things.”
And that has been her guiding light for a journey that started for her at the age of 40. It started slowly but eventually she got the 9:30 am daily spot at the community center and her Body 360 business has grown. She has a loyal following of women now and a full class every morning. And every night, she plans a new routine with new music for them to brighten their day, to help them succeed and to help them feel good.
“I just want to create a space where people feel safe, loved and supported,” she says.
So, when asked what the next chapter of her life will hold, now that Caruso’s Coffee is doing well, and Dominic is now 12 and Gemma, 10, she said she would love to make what she’s doing a movement.
“I would love to just have more boots on the ground, more people that share my philosophy to help grow my business,” she says. “This industry, it’s more than just exercise. The deeper connections are the key.”
And that shows in the way she approaches her day, every day, by doing everything she can to care for her family at home, as well as her family at the gym. Helping them every day to be their best selves, to find success and joy, and to feel loved and supported. “I would do this even if I didn’t get paid. That’s how much I love it and that’s how I know it’s what I’m meant to be doing.”