According to market research portal Statista, the global fitness and health industry annually generates roughly $26 billion in the United States alone.
For Kelly Futter, the owner of Total Nutrition Syosset, this is great news, particularly given how Futter’s business recently relaunched and celebrated moving to a larger location in the same shopping center situated at 235 Robbins Lane.
Futter and her future partners, Derek Epstein and Jon Linden, oversee a 1,900-square foot space that not only offers nutritional consultation, meal prep and sells a broad range of vitamins and supplements, but also counts a smoothie bar that was launched back in March as part of what customers can expect when they walk through the door. While Futter was initially brought on to do marketing for the store when it opened in its old location back in 2014, she bought 100 percent of the store two years ago and has found enormous satisfaction in working with the broad clientele she’s wound up advising.
“We deal with the children who are going from sport to sport in middle school and high school that have weight gain and weight loss [challenges] and we try to teach them the right way to do it,” she explained. “Then you have girls and guys getting ready for marriage. You have teenagers who gain the freshman 20 and not really the freshman 15 anymore. We have moms who have just had their babies and trying to lose weight. We also have men who are middle-aged, trying to lose weight, eat healthy and who sit behind a desk. Instead of stopping at the deli and getting a sandwich, they come and heat up the food and sit outside. Then there are older people who come in for their multi-vitamins.”
For the Melville mom of three, this line of work was perfect for someone who had participated in bodybuilding shows and had been focused on nutrition dating back to her days as a business undergrad at Hofstra University. It’s made all the better given the relationship the local community has with health and fitness.
“We are the fitness mecca of Long Island. There are about 24 gyms within a mile and a half radius of the store. There are private gyms, Lifetime—we are located next door to Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, which is the most famous bodybuilding gym in the country,” she said. “People who live in Syosset don’t even realize that it’s there. It’s amazing. Her husband Steve [Weinberger] has been around forever and people still don’t realize how huge he is. We get tourists from all over the world.”
While Futter juggles the demands of “…wanting to be there when my kids get off the bus” and being a small business owner, the Merrick native finds plenty of fulfillment from the help she gives her customers. She’s gotten immense satisfaction from different experiences, ranging from watching a local firefighter drop 80 pounds a few years ago to the endless texts she cheerfully fields at no extra charge from people who are out to dinner and looking for food choice advice. That said, Futter is careful to define what it is that she and her staff offer.
“We have the sports nutrition certification, but we are not nutritionists. We make that clear to everyone,” she said. “There are a lot of women in Syosset and Woodbury who say they are nutritionists and then a child comes in wanting to lose weight and they’ll tell the moms the kids can’t have pizza or other kinds of foods and that is the worst. What happens is that they want it even more. What we do tell them is that they can have it, but 75 percent of the time, they have to try their best. But we’ve never, ever taken anything out of a diet. We don’t forbid carbs or anything like that because it’s not real life—for anyone, not just a child. So we really try to teach that it’s real life.”
The most effective advice she’s come to embrace is the idea that these kinds of lifestyle changes should be approached gradually, which isn’t always easy given the expectations for instant gratification that have come to define so much of modern life.
“I always tell people that this is a process that is not going to happen overnight, as is the case in any aspect of life, but especially with changing the way that you look,” she said. “It does take time. Don’t do anything that is going to be very quick. It never lasts. People go around in circles constantly. Do it slow, do it smart and take baby steps. It really is the best advice.”
Visit www.totalnutritionsyosset.com or call 516-396-9812 for more information about Total Nutrition Syosset.