In 2019, Greg Viggiano created a gym for his wife, Jessica Rafalowski Viggiano, to get her back in shape physically and mentally after the birth of their first child. Soon, however, the couple team discovered that this fitness love work, originally built for you, might be better suited for a whole community based on curls, crunches, and a little bit of "cognitive flow".
With this in mind, Trilogy Health was born, a modest studio in Farmington, CT, about 15 miles from Hartford. With the successful role the studio had in helping Jessica, a former Miss Florida USA, overcome her battle with postpartum depression, they opened their private studio into what is known as a "micro-gym".
The facility, which the Viggianos say is large enough for a handful of people to exercise in comfort, is stocked with essential exercise supplies – including dumbbells, kettlebells, benches, and even rowing machines. Up to three members can reserve one hour of studio time at the same time – around the clock – to complete their own training at will.
A year ago, the duo also added a virtual online membership – thanks to gym closures due to COVID – that can be accessed online through the SugarWOD app. Members receive five workouts customized by Greg and Jess. You have the Minimal equipment workouts that can be done at home while using the app, in the studio, in your own fitness studio.
"Greg built the gym for me so I would have a private, safe space to work out and feel better in," says Jess. “And then we started developing the business out of it. But what sets us apart is that we actually include some aspect of mental health in it. "
The Trilogy Health Training consists of three elements (hence the name). Each consists of functional strength and endurance training as well as daily mobility training. Each workout usually lasts around 45 minutes. In addition, they offer individual mindfulness, meditation, and life hacks lessons twice a week – it's what they call the "Cognitive Flow" portion of the program.
"I don't think any business will ever grow as fast as you would like, but we are making progress," says Greg. “I think the concept works – we're trying to create the community both locally and virtually. It was an interesting hybrid model and we're having a lot of fun with it. "
Fight against PPD through training
Courtesy Trilogy Health
Jessica explains it as a light switch that goes off and a new person opens after the birth of her first daughter, Stella. Complications resulted in Jess, a 2009 Miss USA top 10 finisher and lifelong fitness enthusiast, battling another unexpected illness, postpartum depression. With such a disciplined healthy lifestyle, Jess never thought anything like this could happen to her until she suffered from insomnia, paranoia, and even hallucinations.
“It was like the first time in my life that I had experienced something like depression,” she says. "So it was a shocking, shocking situation for me and my husband," she says. “I just saw everything differently. It was very scary. It was the scariest experience. And I was so resistant to believing that I had postpartum depression because I wasn't necessarily sad. "
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that nearly 70% of young mothers have postpartum depression, which they define as a serious but treatable disease that occurs during pregnancy or after childbirth. Symptoms can include sadness, anxiety, and changes in energy, sleep, and appetite.
Jess's plight also affected Greg, a certified life coach. Having worked in the wellness industry, he knew the key to Jess's return was getting her back into an effective exercise regimen – she had also gained 50 pounds. And studies have shown that physical activity, both during and after pregnancy, can help reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. So Greg found commercial space about a 10-minute drive from their Connecticut home and created an environment where his wife could exercise comfortably and have some space to herself during that time if necessary.
"She had a really difficult experience with postpartum depression," says Greg. “That's where Trilogy started. We both crawled trying to figure out what worked, and since fitness has always been a part of our lives, I found a place, expanded it in a few months, and she had her own private space to work out. "
Give keys to Trilogy members
Courtesy Trilogy Health
With 500 square feet stocked with the necessary tools most people in any gym would need for a full workout, many of the workouts, the couple said, can be done in under an hour with just a pair of dumbbells, just not using confusing them challengingly, says Greg.
"We look at functional full-body movements every day," says Greg, a NASM and CrossFit certified trainer. "We're aiming for a higher intensity, but at a pace that works for everyone."
The gym became a turning point for Jess, who not only lost all of the weight she gained during her pregnancy, but also competed and won her first fitness show and earned a professional card – all in her new full-time role as a mom. To do all of this on a daily basis, like other mothers and working families, Trilogy's workouts are designed to get the most out of them in the shortest amount of time.
“I don't have much time left,” says Jess. “So I have to be very efficient with my workouts. So that's how we designed our models. It's like intense fast and, uh, you can do it anywhere as long as you have a pair of dumbbells. "
A trilogy workout can range from HIIT to EMOM. An example of a workout might include a four-exercise, four-minute (or 100 repetition) challenge of dumbbell presses, sit-ups with weights, kettlebell swings, and squats. To measure your progress with other members, you can add your score to the app.
"If you're in the area, you can come in and train with us, you can train from home, you can do it anywhere," says Jess. What sets us apart, however, is that we actually include some aspect of mental health in it. That's why we call it a trilogy. It speaks to mind, body and soul. "
Two families grow
The couple's booming fitness business has become an accidental blessing for the couple, caused by a tumultuous series of circumstances. With Jess and Greg expecting a second child soon, their family continues to grow. At the same time, their Trilogy family is growing too, but still small enough not to lose their personal touch.
"This is a matter close to our hearts at the moment," says Jess. "We'd love to see it grow, but we want to continue to be involved with our members and always be concerned with them, their diet and their general wellbeing. That's the feeling we want. We really want it is personal. We don't really want to become the business that has so many members who cannot even be answered. "
Greg agrees that Trilogy made her stronger both physically and mentally through her passion for fitness.
"It helped us both get better, to be honest," says Greg. “It made us stronger as a couple, which is really cool. This has become a project that has helped our home grow. "