April Leal, owner of Your Destination Fit, didn’t always have a passion for fitness. Her journey started when a close friend began to train for a marathon and convinced April to give running a try. Her increased confidence, strength, and body control motivated her to pursue other aspects of fitness and seek professional certifications with the hope of turning fitness into a career.
Embracing her new passion, April was inspired to start her own gym to promote fitness as a lifestyle and cultivate a supportive and welcoming gym community. She began with personal home training and worked up to bootcamps in a local park. As her customer base grew, a location near the same park became available for lease and April jumped at the chance. After a lot of hard work and dedication, April achieved her goal and opened Your Destination Fit.
As her business grew, so did the challenges and business demands. April knew she needed to learn more about the details of running a business but didn’t know where to start. Her mother-in-law and fellow small business owner, Lucinda, had worked with LiftFund Women’s Business Center (WBC) and strongly recommended April turn to them for help. Though multiple sessions and workshops, April worked with the team to increase her business skills, set up a business plan, and build her advertising knowledge.
“It was awesome to have a mentor [to answer my questions],” April said.
With support from LiftFund, April received a business loan for working capital to help her sustain her growth. April’s loan was made possible through The Hartford’s Communities with HART Program, a partnership between LiftFund and The Hartford. Recently, Your Destination Fit opened its second studio and now employs 11 other trainers, offering classes from CrossFit training to yoga.
April is proud of her business’ growth and the supportive team she has built to help her run the gym. She hopes her business continues to expand and change people’s lives while maintaining the tight-knit community she loves.
“If you really want to do something, you have to do it and you have to do it wholeheartedly,” April said.