Fresno State alumna hosts free Campus Pointe workout sessions

Gaona leads workouts in the square at Campus Pointe. (Viviana Hinojos/The Collegian)

Fresno State alumna Gabriella Gaona wasn’t involved with fitness until her final year at Fresno State, but now, she offers free workout sessions on the first and third Sundays of each month at Campus Pointe.

“I went to the [Student Recreation Center] here and there while in school but I just didn’t know what to do. And that’s why I wanted to host sessions at Campus Pointe to see if students walking around that live in Palazzo or nearby might want to learn the basics,” Gaona said.

Gaona said she never forgot her own struggle with fitness while in college, such as not having any idea of what to do or how to work out when she first started.

During her last semester at Fresno State, she met Auggie Arias, who is now her close friend. They are also business partners at The Healthy Fix, a protein shop that makes healthy, low calorie shakes on Fort Washington Road in Fresno.

Arias taught Gaona much of what she knows about fitness, and she said  having Arias was a huge help in learning how to work out. Gaona often followed him around the gym, swapping tips about protein intake.

After Gaona started to see results, she decided to start helping some of her friends, too.

Gaona said she understands that not all women are comfortable working out with a male trainer and may prefer to have a woman instead.

She currently offers group training classes that range from beginner levels to advanced, to teach her clients how to work out and feel comfortable on their own at the gym. 

Gaona exercising at Campus Pointe. (Courtesy of Gabriella Gaona)

Tracy Kashian, who handles public relations for Campus Pointe, said their goal is to do more things for the community without having to charge.

“Fitness is something that we hope everyone’s doing these days, and so to have a free event out there and have people gather and just enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and to have the workout in the square, we just thought it would be great,” Kashian said.

She said that, for students, cost is always something to consider, with many having financial responsibilities that leave little or no room to spend on a fitness trainer. 

“A lot of people want to learn how to work out. They just don’t know where to start, and some people just also don’t have the money. I don’t have the extra $150 a month to go,” Gaona said. 

Gaona has hosted two workout sessions so far and plans to continue for as long as people keep showing up. Gaona’s current clients alongside Fresno State students showed up to her workout session on March 20.

Paityn Kay Boyt, a communications major and senior at Fresno State who is also friends with Gaona, has been to both sessions so far.

Boyt said she was grateful for the morning workout and said it’s a great start to the day.

“It’s nice to be outside, [as] opposed to always being in a gym or inside a home,” Boyt said. 

Gaona guides an assortment of her clients and Fresno State students through workouts. (Viviana Hinojos/The Collegian)

For others, like alumna Elizabeth Haro, who graduated in 2017 with a degree in sociology, Sunday’s session was a new experience, but Haro said it wouldn’t be her last.

Haro said she enjoyed the structure and professionalism of Gaona’s workout session, and also noted that Gaona provided alternative exercises if the ones being taught are too difficult. 

“It motivates [and] inspires me, and [it] is also empowering to be with other women, working on our physical and mental health,” Haro said. 

Gaona said she hopes that women walk away from her sessions with confidence to go into the gym and do the exercises she teaches on their own, leaving behind the intimidation a gym can bring and saying hello to confidence.

“People don’t need to be intimidated. Everyone starts somewhere,” Gaona said. 

The next session will be on Sunday, April 3. Students can access more information on upcoming workout sessions with Gaona through Campus Pointe’s Instagram account @campuspointefresno and Gaona’s account @gabriellagaona. 

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