PUNXSUTAWNEY — Back 2 Basics Fitness held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday for the new fitness and training facility in Punxsutawney.
The center has been open for about three months now, in the upstairs of the Vendor Mall building, 117 E. Mahoning St. A sign on the street points to the door that will lead patrons to the stairs and up to the center in Suite C of the building.
Owner and trainer Francis Catalano said the center and his journey began to take shape about three years ago. Today, he is able to offer one-on-one training and does group boot camp fitness classes at the Punxsutawney Community Center and Barclay Square.
He enjoys having a small, personal space for his clients, saying he doesn’t need a lot of space to help someone get healthy.
“I also help not only pushing the weights and stuff, but I help them make behavioral changes and overall wellness,” Catalano said.
He can help clients who need help eating better, structure in their life, or someone to hold them accountable and stay motivated.
He prefers to meet with clients first to assess their abilities and get to know them. He offers a free initial session where they can sit for 30 minutes and chat and see how they can move their body.
“I have clients from young teenagers to 80 years old,” Catalano said.
He is planning an open house for his fitness center on May 28 from noon to 5 p.m. for those interested in checking out his studio and possibly working with him. Those interested in working with Catalano can reach out through the Facebook page, Back 2 Basics Fitness, or by calling him at 412-598-5900.
“Special thanks to all my family and friends, as well as the Punxsutawney community for all the love and support,” Catalano said.
The work leading up to the opening of the business began three years ago, while Catalano was in prison. He realized the direction his life was going, and made the decision while incarcerated to make changes.
“While incarcerated in state prison, I had realized I had hit rock bottom after living a life of addiction and struggle for almost 20 years. Something came over me. I began to set out and live a healthy lifestyle,” Catalano said.
He started following a strict physical and mental training routine to develop structure in his life. Catalano said he realized his own potential and “decided to run with it.”
He was released from prison in February 2020, and found it difficult to get back on his feet. The COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning and his criminal record was following him.
A local hardware store hired him, and opened the door for him to begin moving forward. He worked there and started to study to become a certified personal trainer. After about a year, he moved on to work with a local construction company.
In December 2021, Catalano took the test and was certified as a personal trainer.
“My dream has really started to unfold. I found a great spot to establish my business right in downtown like I had dreamed about,” Catalano said.
He said he found his passion for health and fitness when he was able to turn his own life around. He said he started to believe in himself and recognized “if I can do that, anyone can do it, and I can be that person to help them.”
Catalano is flexible with his scheduling, catering to the needs of the clients. He is available Monday through Thursday anytime from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.