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South Valley Riverton Journal

Riverton resident encourages fitness at every age

Nov 07, 2023 01:56PM ● By Peri Kinder

The community support at StayFITT encourages people to reach their fitness goals through dedicated efforts that are cheered on by their wellness peers and team members. (Photo courtesy of LaRee Schuenman)

LaRee Schuenman always considered herself to be physically fit. Active in high school and college, Schuenman easily practiced a healthy lifestyle. Then she got married, had children and got busy with the ups and downs of life. After many years, she began to experience bouts of anxiety and depression, and realized she’d fallen into a sedentary lifestyle.

Schuenman started a fitness journey, lost weight, gained strength and, eight years ago, turned her passion for wellness into a career. 

“I started working for a gym that I loved, and I had a community that I loved and then I started getting more education and ended up getting my degree in exercise after my kids were in school full time,” she said. “Then I went back and finished my degree in exercise science.”

She began to see gaps in the fitness and nutrition industry that contributed to unhealthy practices and mindsets. By creating client-centered coaching and building a supportive community, Schuenman saw people reach their fitness goals easier and faster. 

Based on her expertise and research, she created StayFITT to provide encouragement, training and a healthy environment for people to get fit. When COVID hit and gyms were closed throughout the state, Schuenman offered free online classes through Zoom to keep that group exercise feeling for her clients. 

She believes the pandemic shone a light on the necessity of staying active to help alleviate loneliness and disconnection. 

“I feel like more people want to be active because they saw the barriers that happened during COVID, like the increase in anxiety and depression and the lack of human connection,” she said. “What I wanted to create [at StayFITT] was having that connection. A coach that actually knows you and it’s not just some YouTube video or random person.”

When she opened her StayFITT location in Riverton (1515 W. 12600 South, # 205), Schuenman realized her dream of owning a science-based training and nutrition center, dedicated to health and wellness for all her clients. 

Schuenman is also dedicated to service and regularly participates with and supports several nonprofit organizations, including the Parent Project and the Mascot Miracles Foundation, as a way to give back to the community that has supported her through the years. She also sponsors local schools and created a program for senior citizens to keep them functional for life. 

“A lot of these ladies come from physical therapists that have referred them here so they can stay strong and functional and independent for the rest of their life,” she said. “We’ve had people from all ages and all walks of life…We do personal training and get them up into our group training, for affordability, or continue to do personal training.”

Selected to present her story to RSL and America First Credit Union for a small business grant, Schuenman took the opportunity to highlight the correlation between those organizations and StayFITT’s core values which include striving for excellence, creating synergy and bridging gaps in the community. 

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“We have clients that are young and old, and we’re trying to integrate and develop our team,” she said. “We’re always doing team trainings to make sure our team is on the same page so we can deliver the best client experience.” λ