Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 2
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

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Iris Interiors

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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

SHAPE-UP TIME: “We look forward to getting the word out about what we’re doing here. We have a unique approach to fitness. We’re about improving health from the inside out and finding the inner human being.” Thomas Yannitte, owner of Phrog Fitness Studio, sits on an exercise ball in one of the studio’s exercise rooms. In the background is the special Kinesis apparatus, which is available in only a few fitness centers on the east coast.

Personalized Approach to Health and Fitness Provide Unique Workout at Phrog Fitness Studio

A new year, a new you? Toning up, losing weight, eating better — these must appear on nine out of 10 New Year’s resolution lists. Making it happen is another thing!

Thomas Yannitte, founder and owner of Phrog Fitness Studio at 376 Wall Street, wants to help you. This personal training studio with the unusual name has a special approach to health and exercise. Its name is a case in point. “Frogs are very athletic, and I think the name indicates fitness and fun,” says Mr. Yannitte.

An engineer who has designed fitness equipment, written a book on fitness and nutrition, and produced DVDs, he has also worked in a hospital and in training centers which gave him the experience to design more efficient equipment and training systems.

“I’ve been unhappy with the way fitness has been going — everything about it, including the certification of trainers, the methods, etc. It’s all so desensitized, somehow so superficial and shallow,” he explains. “I think they’ve forgotten what fitness is really about: finding the inner human being.”

Individualized Training

A New Jersey native, Mr. Yannitte decided to open his own studio, with an emphasis on very individualized training, a focus on a holistic approach to fitness, and a moderate, long-term philosophy of healthy living. All clients work exclusively with a personal trainer or in small semi-private groups under the guidance of one or two trainers.

“There are no TVs here, no crowds — nothing to distract you from connecting with the trainer and focusing on the moment,” points out Mr. Yannitte. “The people who come here wanted a more natural, less crowded, and more personal training center. I’ve worked at five different training centers and a hospital, and this is the most diverse mix of clients I’ve ever seen. All ages (teens to eighty), all life-styles, men and women, and all levels of fitness.

“I’m convinced that the number one reason people come today is that they are starting to appreciate and understand the need for being healthy. They want to be happy and healthy and get the most out of life. My belief is that fitness is a tool. Our focus here is to help people to take action and change their lives, and help them achieve a healthy life-style. An understanding of the body, physiology and anatomy, and the dynamics of exercise are all a part of it, of course, and we translate that knowledge to our clients and help them toward their goal.”

Initially, each client receives a comprehensive evaluation, including body fat analysis, VO 2 Max (working heart rate), a consultation with a nutritionist, and a full interview, identifying goals, special needs, experience, life-style, etc.

Best Trainer

The needs of clients with special conditions, such as injuries. arthritis, etc., are all taken into consideration, reports Mr. Yannitte. “We’ve gone out of our way to make this both an education and a fitness studio. We do post-rehab work and a lot of research here, including researching all the medications clients are taking. Then, the program is completely customized to the client, and I will also find the best trainer for each client.

“We have six highly qualified trainers and five class instructors. I received 350 resumes from trainers and chose six! I have on-going consultations with the trainers, who also all meet together to discuss each client’s progress. In addition to their training skills, our trainers must have empathy for the client, a healthy perspective and respect for themselves and others, and be a good listener.”

Exercise routines for each client change all the time, he adds. “The body needs change in order to progress. We keep the workout new and fresh, and the client will get the most efficient work-out for the 50-minute session.”

Always under the guidance of the trainer, the client can work out on a wide range of personal training- specific, state-of-the-art cardio equipment and resistance machines, and free weights. “A special Kinesis apparatus, with a weighted pulley system, offers 3-D Pilates-type multi-plane body movements, working muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments,” says Mr. Yannitte. “It works on balance, posture, strength, and agility, and is available one-on-one with a personal trainer or in a semi-private group, also with a trainer.”

In addition, Phrog Fitness Studio offers classes in yoga, Zoomba (a special dance work-out), and “Phrog Legs”, a full exercise work-out, also with music. The popular “Walking With Socrates” program involves a combination of brisk walking and talking in the park outside the studio (weather permitting). “It’s not a stroll — although you can bring along your child in a stroller, if you like,” says Mr. Yannitte. “It’s fun and a different approach to training.”

Pristine locker rooms, including private changing areas, saunas, and a meditation room (for massage and relaxation) are all available, and there is also a cheerful children’s area, with books, puzzles, and a full-time nanny, so parents who come to exercise need not worry about their kids.

Specific Number

Different training choices are offered, including full-time personal training, which also entitles the client to one month of complimentary classes; semi-private training with a group of people — always under the guidance of a personal trainer; or classes only. Clients sign up for a specific number of pre-paid sessions.

“We also offer private and semi-private team sports-specific training for high school athletes,” says Mr. Yannitte. “In addition, we have opportunities for clients to customize their own semi-private training. For example, a group of guys always plan ski trips together, so they come here to work out to prepare for skiing.”

Clients who come to Phrog Fitness twice a week can expect to see lasting results in two and a half to three months, he adds. “They will look and feel better, have more energy, and in conjunction with proper nutrition, will have lost one to two pounds of body fat a week safely and effectively.

“The greatest benefit of going to a fitness studio includes improving one’s quality of life now and in the future. You can’t afford not to invest now in the future. The biggest thrill for me is when we connect with clients and see them happy about how they’re changing as they progress and achieve their goals. Ultimately, it’s about finding the inner human being, having a healthy quality of life, being the best you can be, and being happy with that. Our motto is: Every ‘Phrog’ can be a prince or princess!”

Phrog Fitness is open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 to 2. An open house/champagne brunch, in association with Phrog’s neighbor, Glow Holistic Skin Care, will be held this Saturday, January 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nutrition seminars, classes, and give-aways will be offered.

(609) 683-0042. Website:

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