Sarah Addeo is a force. Whether she’s leading her signature Cardio Kick class or fine-tuning her playlist, there is purpose and intention with her every move. But behind the Owner of AddeoFit is a gentle soul with a fierce spirit, who carries a story of strength, courage, and tireless determination. This is Sarah’s story.
If I told you 30 years ago that you would become an innovator in the fitness industry, particularly in the greater Milwaukee area, your reaction would be…
No way would being in the fitness industry, let alone a business owner would have ever crossed my mind. I was in high school and my only goal was to dance. That was it. I never thought I had the smarts or the understanding to own a business. Then in college, I was dancing and carrying 21 credits all 4 years. I have always been good at multi-tasking, and I have always had an insane amount of energy and drive. But the art of dance and choreography taught me how to think outside the box, with a goal of creating a beautiful, and complete final product. It was my time in L.A. when I really began to appreciate these traits and understand how they could all work together to create something really great.
How has your outlook on the fitness industry evolved since starting out 20 years ago?
It’s been a continuous string of gaining knowledge and insight. I’ve been able to develop more workouts and classes, personal training plans and fine-tuning my own skills. I’m at a different age now, and I have a new perspective which helps me cater to a wider range of client needs and abilities. I’ve also learned that with fitness and especially with AddeoFit, I don’t like ceilings and limits.
You are a mom to three beautiful girls. How has becoming a mother and raising daughters influenced your own philosophy on fitness and nutrition?
When my first child was born I had to make major life adjustments. I had to overcome personal struggles of self-control, including an eating disorder, and learn to just let go and surrender a lot of false pretenses that I thought were so important at the time. My brain had the knowledge. I knew it was important to live a healthy lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to properly apply all of this knowledge in my own life. My eldest daughter had health issues when she was first born and all of my energy went toward keeping her healthy and safe. It forced me to detox off the intensity of my life. I had to heal myself and get myself healthy so I could be a healthy mom to my children, and so I could teach them down the road, not to be their own worst enemy. Particularly not to be afraid of food. I educate them to move and eat to feel better. I have learned so much about myself by learning how to raise healthy kids!
You lead multiple classes six days a week, run a business and a family, and you never seem to take a sick day. HOW???
It’s just extremely rare that I get sick. Maybe some of it has to do with genetics, but I owe most of it to the food I eat. I strive to eat food that has quality nutritional value. I do get broken down from time to time but being around people also lifts me up. The AddeoFit community is a monumental support system for me emotionally, which also helps to keep me healthy.
Your classes have this unique way to combine physicality with emotion. Is this a vibe that you intentionally set, or is it something that you just naturally bring out in your clients?
It’s a combination. It’s how I learned to dance. When I dance, I tell a story, so whenever I move; whether it be on the stage or in front of a class, I’m telling a story and helping others to tell theirs. Being around people ignites me in a way that I don’t know how I could ever articulate. I have always been instinctively drawn to living in the moment, and it’s translated to the fitness world very organically. It’s something that has made my career flourish.
What is one fitness/ lifestyle hack that you use when your life gets really crazy?
There are a few. The Book, The Artist’s Way, is a great source of comfort to me. It taught me how to silence my mind and find the silly things in life that make you happy. For me, it’s a cup of coffee, a pumpkin spice latte every now and then, a good glass of wine, great music, Hallmark shows and dancing!
I’ve had the pleasure of talking to some long-time clients of yours who have been with you 15+ years. One word that keeps coming up is “strength”. Through you and your philosophy they have learned about their own potential for strength, mentally and physically. What is one takeaway you have learned from your clients?
I was instilled with the belief that actions speak louder than words, respect and honesty are non-negotiable, and to show up and work hard. These are pillars that have built my character. My clients have taught me how these principles translate into making a positive and inspiring difference in people’s lives. I don’t follow these pillars for the accolades or rewards but rather the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of others. One very special person who has had an enormous impact on my life is my Aunt Joyce who passed away from cancer. Her humility, compassion, and spirit, even knowing she was leaving this planet, was constant. No matter what we go through each of us is amazing. I learn every day from people at AddeoFit. The community here inspires me and I’ve learned through their wisdom.
What advice to you give to someone who is now into their 30s or 40s, they’ve never had a regular fitness routine and now they feel bombarded with the demands of work and family. Where do they start?
AddeoFit is perfect for this person. First, we offer free week passes for individuals to check out the space and different classes so they can discover classes that bring out the “want” and the emotion of what kind of workout they gravitate toward. AddeoFit has six different studios and gives people an opportunity to explore different angles of their fitness personality. Because we offer such a wide variety of classes it’s almost impossible to get bored. We strive on educating, catering to individual goals but most importantly, creating a safe, welcoming and inspiring community of happy, healthy individuals!
Writer, marketer and mother of two, Susan Madden has a background working with the Fine Arts in Dallas, TX and Milwaukee, WI. Relatively new to the fitness industry, she enjoys sharing her experiences about this crazy beautiful life, the endless quest to find work-home balance and wellness from a novice perspective. She’s passionate about nature, everything music, seeking out little moments that make a lasting impact, and has a newfound appreciation for the benefits of a well- made green smoothie. Susan is a native of Whitefish Bay, WI and now resides in Mequon, WI with her husband Mike and children, Samantha and Blake.
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