Health & Wellness

Local Mom Overcomes Gym Intimidation at Body Restoration; Box Gym Isn't for Everyone

Elisa Probst didn't want to face judgement at the "box gym" and found Body Restoration as a "safe haven workout place."

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Do you feel like you're not fit enough to go to the gym? Do you fear judgment by others  --  or do you just feel like you don't belong at the gym? 

Elisa Probst, a local mother of three, found herself at the point where she needed to do something about her weight. "I have done just about everything," she said . "I would start out and I would go, go, go" -- but the routine would never stick. Spring would come around and she would quit and not return. Over the years, this pattern continued --- and her yo-yo weight gain escalated.

"I was overweight" and started to have health issues, she said. "I made up my mind that it was the time to do something."

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However, let's face it, the box gym isn't for everybody. She couldn't face the judgement and didn't want to work out with the town.

That's when she saw an ad for Body Restoration in TAPinto for the opening of this new boutique style studio that caters to people with health issues. Whether you are bordering obesety, high blood pressure, joint pain -- Body Restoration adapts its fitness program to specific needs and fitness level.

For Elisa, who hates to exercise and finds the gym intimidating, she instantly overcame this fear when she met Doreen Puglisi in her new studio. "I felt like she would understand my weight issues," Elisa said.

She liked the non-judgemental environment at Body Restoration. "We all have our issues -- hip, shoulder -- I was overweight," said Elisa. 

Body Restoration is small and intimate with private training sessions, as well as small group sessions. "I can worry about just me and not everyone else," Elisa said -- which is exactly what she was looking for.

With the tendency to quit, Elisa signed up for a one month kickstart program that included some personal training and a nutrition plan.

She went for it! She has been encouraged from the get-go -- and finds herself going to the "gym" six days a week. She probably would go a seventh day, but the studio is closed on Sundays.

Elisa has lost over 40 pounds and a combined 25 inches. "I am still doing something to move myself forward physically." She is eating cleaner foods, trying Yoga, and just being more active, she said.

When asked what makes Body Restoration different from the "box gyms," she said:

  • Classes are no more than 45 minutes.
  • She works out without overworking. 
  • Classes are different everyday.
  • Throughout the week, she gets a complete body workout without killing herself.
  • Small group sessions are limited to four to five people.

Puglisi also modifies programs for the different fitness levels of the women in the class. "There are women up there in age and she modifies the workout," Elisa said. "She is all about form -- she doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. She knows her clientele and we have limits."

What are Elisa's class recommendations? While she named almost every class offered, including -- Trampoline, Kick Boxing, Pilates/Fusion, and small group training stations -- she said, the Fascia Flow Class on Friday is a great way to end the week. She described the class as embodying the relaxation of Yoga without the "funky poses."  Puglisi works on an area to release tension by manipulating joints to stretch for further flexibility. She also enjoys the whole body workout of the wall ladder -- working squats, core and arms. 

Elisa's progress has been gradual and continual. "I feel better -- I have gone to the doctors and my blood work is dramatically different," she said, and her health issue is completely resolved. 

Elisa credits Puglisi for her progress, knowing that without her, she wouldn’t continue to exercise. "Over the summer, I would have been 'nah'," Elisa joked. Now -- "I would miss it. I look forward to it!"

What is Elisa's biggest struggle? Hands down, diet. -- "My biggest change is I cut down tremendously on carbohydrates," she said. "Then it goes from there -- I’m picking up more vegetables and protein. I used to eat pasta three or four times a week because it was easy -- then I would eat way more than I should have."

Puglisi set up a nutrition plan with a calorie log. "I learned about choices. I combined her choices and my limitations." She knows not to deprive herself. "If you want to have it, just have it -- but in moderation." She doesn't beat herself up over diet. 

Elisa has set goals that she continues to break - one pound [in the right direction] at a time. "I want to cross that threshold and see that number -- it could take me three weeks to reach a small goal -- I keep working -- and then I’m there."

Body Restoration is located at 10 Summit Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Visit the Body Restoration website to learn more. Phone:  908-464-4644 • Email:

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