Angila Berni of ATP Fitness on helping people reach their full potential
A friend’s challenge years ago, coupled with a desire to help a wide variety of clients reach their fitness goals, led ANGILA BERNI to open ATP Fitness in Wilmington in 2014.
Her enthusiasm and stellar customer service have not gone unrecognized.
ATP Fitness has won awards for best gym from StarNews in 2018 and 2019 and in 2019, Berni also won in the best trainer category. The fitness facility is currently a top finalist in the Best Fitness Center category for the family favorites in Wilmington Parent Magazine.
ATP is a boutique gym that offers personal training and small group fitness classes. Berni says the family-like feel between herself, trainers, and members makes people feel like they’re working out with friends.
In addition, ATP has some of the most knowledgeable trainers in town, she says, and classes are small so everyone receives individual attention and they can ensure members’ safety.
According to its website, ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate, considered to be the body’s “energy currency,” used in all metabolic processes whether at work or rest.
“Our programming is designed to activate each energy system and allow our members to reach their full fitness potential,” the website states.
Berni joined the Coast Guard Reserve in 2000. She was reactivated after 9/11 from Delaware and sent to various places, including Wilmington in 2004. She left active duty in 2011 and decided to stay. Berni studied Exercise Science at UNCW and recently hit her 20-year mark with the reserve, where she is a chief machinery technician.
Berni worked part-time as a fitness instructor for six years before opening ATP, her first business. She’s currently working on her graduate degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports conditioning and orthopedic rehabilitation. She has four more classes to finish the degree from A.T. Still University
“I chose the two programs because they both fascinate me,” she says, adding she wants to be knowledgeable and confident when working with her clients so they get the best possible experience as they strive for their goals. She says her studies have provided her the tools to create programs tailored to individuals and their objectives.
She explains the members range in age from teens to people in their 70s.
“I use my sports conditioning knowledge to help those who want to train for a specific reason, such as their first Spartan Race, 5K, marathon, or for golf or lacrosse,” Berni says.
“The orthopedic rehabilitation concentration has helped me work with clients recovering from broken bones, torn ligaments, and more. It has also helped me identify strategies to prevent future injuries through the process of movement screening and correction.”
Another reason Berni pursued continued higher education is to give back to her alma mater by becoming an instructor and teacher. Berni says she enjoys learning and teaching equally and firmly believes you never stop learning.
For instance, she recently had to learn how to change course when the COVID-19 pandemic became an issue. ATP had to temporarily shut its physical doors.
“But 95% of our members are sticking it out with us through virtual classes and recently with outdoor bootcamp classes,” she says.
“We did not offer virtual classes before, so it has been an adjustment. There have been struggles, setbacks, and difficulties. In the beginning, I wondered if I could keep the doors open not knowing when this pandemic would end,” she says. “Once I accepted that I have no control over what is happening around me and that I had to strategize a new plan, I was at peace and could move forward.”
“I found that creating challenges and offering outdoor classes has helped to engage and refocus myself and my clients,” she added.
Oh, about that friend that encouraged her to do the triathlon? Back then, Berni was initially reluctant to take her friend up on the offer. But she eventually agreed. Then she started training, found yoga, kettlebells, and really fell in love. She and her friend had always dreamed of owning their own gyms. Today, they each do, in different states.
“I have the best job in the world,” Berni says.
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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