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Inspiring Conversations with Courtney Micatrotto of Meraki Active

Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Micatrotto. 

Hi Courtney, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I have always loved using my body and feeling strong. Growing up I was an athlete and played every sport under the sun from ice skating, track, swimming, volleyball, basketball, and my favorite softball. Fast forward to my senior year in college, I attended a Pilates party and was hooked. My body was challenged in ways it had never been before.  The method was intriguing, and I wanted to learn more. As a college student with limited financial resources, I bartered marketing and PR services (I graduated with a BA in Communications from JCU) for a Pilates certification. After 8 months of training and teaching, I was offered a full time position as a Pilates Instructor, and Director of PR and Marketing.   I wanted to dive deeper into the fitness industry and obtained my Personal Training Certification through the American Council of Exercise in 2004.

In 2005 I decided I wanted to be my own boss.  I was contracted out by Progressive, Ohio Savings Bank and Huntington Bank to train in their corporate offices and offered in-home personal training.

Throughout these years I was blessed with 3 beautiful children and acquired 3 different Pre/Post-natal Exercise Specialist Certifications (one during each of my pregnancies).  I began teaching classes for expecting and postpartum moms.  My corporate clients complained in their 3rd trimesters they didn’t want to come to class because they were embarrassed that nothing fit. At that time there weren’t many maternity activewear options. Pregnancy is an extremely important time for a women to begin/maintain a fitness regimen, so I decided to find a way to find a way to fix the problem.

I dove into the textile industry and created an activewear brand for pregnancy and motherhood in 2008 called boobs&belly. I was named one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People in 2017, and my clothing was featured in Pregnancy and Newborn magazine.  Even Megan King Edmonds from the Real House Wives of OC wore my staple-piece collection. She said it was the most comfortable outfit she ever wore!  In 2019 I opted to manufacture boobs&belly in-house after dealing with disasters from 7 different manufacturing companies from the garment district in New York City to Michigan.

I needed a space to manufacture the brand, and it felt right to combine all of my work in one location.   It was time to fulfill a dream I had since day one, and open my own studio with the addition of a sewing room.

After years of traveling, opening in Aurora and bringing health and wellness to my community felt like the perfect choice. I chose the name Meraki Active for a couple of reasons. “Meraki” is a word modern Greeks use to describe what happens when you leave a piece of yourself (your soul, creativity, or love) in your work. When you love doing something, anything, so much that you put something of yourself in it. I also wanted to honor my grandma Katherine (she was 100% Greek) and our Greek heritage.

Unfortunately due to Covid, and supply chain issues I made the tough decision in 2021 to close the sewing room.   It was time to adapt.  I decided to offer group Reformer classes instead of just 1-1 Reformer workouts and make my current studio space larger.   I opened an additional space that is now the Reformer Room in January 2022.

I have been blessed to watch the Meraki Active community grow. My clients are my family. Helping others on their journey to live healthy and active lifestyles is my passion. It is such a rewarding experience to watch clients become stronger, healthier, and more confident.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I firmly believe the notion that anything worth having requires a lot of hard work, effort, time, and patience. There are always bumps in the road and navigating a small business, especially in the fitness industry over the last few years has been difficult. Throw 3 kids and a husband who is also self-employed in the mix and adaptations need to me made. I wear many hats, first and foremost I am a mom, I currently teach all my classes, I am in charge of all marketing and the business end of things and train my personal training clients. There are many days I put in 15 hours. But I truly believe that if you genuinely love what you do, as the saying goes you will never work a day in your life. I am excited for the future of Meraki. New instructors are currently going through the training program and will be teaching on a consistent basis within the coming months!

We’ve been impressed with Meraki Active, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Meraki Active is a boutique, cross training studio that specializes in both Personal and Small Group Training. I believe that in order to have a well-rounded fitness routine you need to implement strength, cardiovascular and muscular endurance, core, flexibility, balance work, and mindfulness. It’s important to integrate different genres of fitness. Different methods of movement avoids overuse injuries.

Small group training allows the instructor to focus on form, ensuring that everyone is working out properly and safely. Modifications are offered for those who need it. Class sizes are 5-8 depending on the class type (for example 5 in the reformer room but 8 on the water for SUP) and with an intimate training environment, it allows all fitness levels to feel comfortable in every class. We don’t teach levels rather teach individuals and challenge them based on their fitness needs. There could be a class that someone has been working out for years and want to change things up next to someone who is recovering from a knee replacement. At the end of class, everyone will feel they worked to their own level and ability and leave feeling like that got in a good workout.

We offer support, guidance, motivation, and most importantly a community. I have over 18 years of experience in the fitness industry and have worked with all ages and special populations. My youngest client is 10 and my oldest is 95 and all ages in between. My certifications include Personal Training, Pilates, Aquatic, Functional Movement, and Pre/Post Natal Corrective Exercise Specialist. I am currently finishing up my Nutrition Specialist Certification.

My goal and mission is to take healthy lifestyle living beyond the studio walls. In 2021 I started our SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) Fit classes, offering Picnic and Paddles,  and Pilates and Lattes at my favorite local coffee shop, Restoration 44.    Monthly workshops are being planned as well as a destination retreat for January 2023. Youth training programs are in full swing for young athletes and kids who may not be into sports but want to move and exercise.   It’s so important to help them understand how to work out the proper way and establish proper movement patterns at a young age.

I am happy to share for the holidays we are expanding products online in the Meraki Market. With the sewing room closed, I wanted to sell activewear from companies that created pieces that were not only stylish but were good quality. I kicked off the opening of the Meraki Market with Spiritual Gangster (one of my favorites) and adding more brands in the fall and winter. I want the Meraki Market to be a favorite go-to for gifts, and accessories, and items that inspire and motivate movement.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you.
I think rather than luck it’s putting together the right pieces to the puzzle.  Instead of sitting back and waiting for things to happen, make things happen. I try to just focus on the road ahead and trust my gut and my heart to find success and help as many people as I can along the way.

Pricing:

  • Personal Training $75/hour
  • Class drop-in $28
  • 4 sessions $89
  • 8 session $159
  • Month unlimited $199

Contact Info:


Image Credits

K4Marketing + Branding
Maria Biel

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