After working on Wall Street for 15 years, iFIT Trainer Antonia DeSantis left to pursue her passion for fitness and exercise. Seeing firsthand how detrimental working in a high-stress environment can be for people’s bodies, Antonia realized that exercise was the perfect stress reliever. So, she became a certified personal trainer and dove headfirst into helping others create their own fitness routine. Now, Antonia wants to continue encouraging others to take charge of their health, no matter what their age is – because it’s never too late to carve your own path.
The iFIT family is full of passionate folks who live and breathe fitness, and Antonia is no different. She recently chatted with us about pursuing passion, defying stereotypes, and the Golden Eagles Dance Team. Get to know this incredible iFIT Trainer!
After working on Wall Street for 15 years, you decided to change careers. What was that experience like?
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and one of the most difficult. I walked away from an established career in NYC to start over at 38 in the fitness industry, where most people were over 20 years younger than me. I also had to start over financially. No more Wall Street salary or bonuses. I gave up my apartment in Brooklyn for my high school bedroom. Thankfully, I had parents who gave me a place to live. I couldn’t have done it without them!
Most people didn’t understand my reasoning, and I couldn’t blame them. Sometimes, I thought I was crazy, too. But in my gut, I knew I had no choice. I became passionate about fitness because it helped me mentally and physically when I worked in finance. It literally saved my life. I wanted to do the same for others. Not changing careers would have been the biggest regret of my life, and I knew I couldn’t live with that. So, I just left. If you believe strongly enough in what you are doing and truly love what you do, you can overcome any challenge. I am living proof!
Was fitness always an interest of yours? Were you athletic growing up?
Yes! Fitness and being active have always been a part of my life. I grew up mostly swimming and dancing. I did play sports in junior high but gravitated to kickline in high school. Then, I continued kickline in college. I can’t sit still. And with some music on? Forget it!
What advice would you give someone who felt compelled to leave a long-term career to pursue their passion?
Just do it. There will never be a perfect time or circumstance to make that change. Yes, you can prepare better by saving some money, doing your research, and talking to people who are already doing the job you want. Information gathering is important. Having a plan of action is important. But in the end, you just have to take that leap of faith and do it. Not everyone will understand, but as long as you do, that is all that matters.
You talk about flipping the script on age-based stereotypes in your social posts. How does this play a role in your fitness career?
Ah, this aging thing! I had to flip the script from the beginning, or else I wouldn’t have pursued this career change. I was told that I was too old, it’s too late — all of it. But, I refused to accept it. Societal norms were not going to dictate what I did and didn’t do at certain stages in my life. I was in better shape in my 30s than in my 20s. I got braces at 30. I changed careers at 38. In my 40s, I realized being in a healthy relationship was more important to me than finding a husband and having kids. I embraced my own journey at every age and pushed myself to do my best.
Age should never define us. I worked with young people in finance who didn’t take care of themselves, and they aged quickly. I trained with older people in the gyms, and they stayed younger and healthier. Age had nothing to do with it. Investing in your mind, body, and soul is the fountain of youth.
How do you keep yourself motivated, especially when you don’t feel like working out?
Great question! I always say that for someone who works in fitness, I can easily sit on the couch and do nothing very well! But I push myself because I know I will feel better afterward. I know it will keep me on track mentally, and I know moving now is more important than ever before. Being 51 and having older parents, I am very aware of how taking care of your body now will positively affect you later in life. My parents have always been very active, so thankfully, they can still move well and push themselves in their 70s and 80s. It’s all relative, but it all matters. Movement is everything!
Do you have a favorite iFIT memory?
The kindness and support I felt from the iFIT family during my audition week. I was a nervous wreck and was so out of my comfort zone. Everyone I worked with was so nice and encouraging. From the trainers I had just met to the hair and wardrobe women who made sure I found clothes I felt comfortable in and the amazing production crew. Everyone wanted me to succeed. It was so refreshing and a big change from some of the other environments I had worked in previously. I will never forget that. Good people all around!
What’s something that not many people know about you?
I co-founded the Golden Eagles Dance Team of Boston College my freshman year. Boston College didn’t have a kickline team when I got to school, so my friend and I decided to start one. We put up flyers all over campus, got sponsored by a faculty member, and held auditions. We chose 40 girls to train, teach choreography, and perform at the halftime shows of basketball games the following year. It was so much fun, and the dance team still exists today!
Ready to work out with Antonia? Join her in the Train and Gain Interval Series!
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFIT assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.
Opinions of iFIT Trainers are not necessarily the opinions of iFIT.