O'Fallon Progress

Shiloh woman looks to expand fitness business to O’Fallon this fall

Becky Venuti
Becky Venuti For the Progress

Becky Venuti is so enthusiastic about what she does that you might get an endorphin rush just talking with her.

Becky, who lives in Shiloh, is a personal fitness trainer. She recently opened 9Round, a specialized fitness gym that provides a 30-minute kickboxing workout in Edwardsville, and will open a second location in O’Fallon this fall.

“I do this because I love it. I love helping people. It makes me happy. I want to give back to the community,” she said. “It’s not work. It’s fun.”

She has always enjoyed exercise, she said, and played sports in school. “I ran, played basketball. I just love to exercise,” she said.

Becky became a certified trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine five years ago.

While working as a physical therapist assistant for a physicians group, she noticed how frustrated physical therapists were that when therapy concluded after a person’s surgery or injury, the patient wouldn’t continue exercising.

“That drove me crazy. I wanted to help people with their muscular imbalance so they could gain confidence and not fear re-injuring themselves,” she said. “It’s all about quality of life.”

She previously worked as a personal trainer for Anytime Fitness. The tug to open her own place was strong.

While researching fitness companies on the web, she discovered 9Round, which is based in South Carolina. Started by a world champion kickboxer, the franchise is new to the metro-east. Founder Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson is an IKF light middleweight kickboxing champion of the world, won in 2011.

“The reason I chose it is that anybody can do it. In 30 minutes, you get a full body workout. This helps people at all levels, you work at your own pace. It helps your balance and strength, and is great hand-eye coordination. It’s beneficial in a lot of ways. You can burn 400 calories. It’s great for the heart rate. You have more energy,” she said.

“There are no classes. You start when you come in, and a personal trainer is always here to help you. You just compete against yourself. It’s not intimidating. It’s about your progression,” she said.

She opened 9Round three weeks ago. Clientele ranges in age from 20s to 60s. “Everyone is at various levels, from beginners to super-fit. It’s a broad range,” she said.

“I don’t want anyone to feel that they can’t exercise. I don’t want people to feel discouraged,” she said. “Just try it. We can modify any exercise for a person. If you can’t do something, there is always a way to do it differently. If you have bad knees or have had surgeries, we can build up to it. And the first workout is always free.”

Seeing results is empowering, she noted.

“It’s always fun to see the progress. This is empowering for women. You learn self-defense moves. We have five different bags, and you have 120-pound resistance, so you increase your strength. It helps women with bone density and muscle mass. Women have to worry about osteoporosis,” she said. “Motion is lotion.”

Nutritional advice is also provided.

Originally from Seattle, Becky arrived here in 2005 when her first husband was stationed at Scott Air Force Base. She stayed in the area after her divorce. Seven years ago, she married Dr. Guy Venuti, who is a pediatrician at Scott. He has been in the Air Force 29 years. He is also involved in the gym.

“He helps me at night,” she said.

“We have a blended family, like the Brady Bunch — three boys and three girls,” she said. The children are 15, 16, 19, 20 and two are 22.

“They all get along and have fun with each other when they are home,” she said.

The three girls are in college: Elise, Tiare and Brooke. Eldest son Niko is in the Navy. Youngest boys Jackson, 16, and Gio, 15, attend O’Fallon Township High School.

She also has a granddaughter, Seven. The name has significance, she said, smiling. Her eldest daughter and husband live in Seattle.

“It’s hard, but we Facetime all the time,” she said.

Her family has always been close and active. While spare time is at a premium these days, spending time outdoors is a way to be together.

“I love hiking, being outside. My husband is a big hunter and fisherman,” she said.

The O’Fallon location will be on Green Mount Road, she said, but couldn’t divulge the address just yet.

Q. Do you have words to live by?

A. “Work hard now or work hard later.” That’s what I tell my kids all the time. And “If you want to be happy, just be …”

Q. Whom do you most admire?

A. My mom, Joanne. She was a single parent for a long time. She never complained.

Q. If you could spend time with a famous person, past or present, whom would it be?

A. Jesus.

Q. What is the last book that you read?

A. “5 Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni.

Q. What do you do for fun and relaxation?

A. Spend time with family and friends.

Q. What is the usual state of your desktop?

A. Organized chaos.

Q. What did you want to do career-wise when you were growing up?

A. FBI agent or police officer.

Q. What do you think is your most outstanding characteristic?

A. My hard work ethic or my compassion for others.

Q. What irritates you the most?

A. Bullying.

Q. What type of music do you listen to?

A. ’80s rock, country, Justin Timberlake and Christian.

Q. What do you like most about your job?

A. The ability to make people’s quality of life and self-esteem better.

Q. If you were independently wealthy, what would you be doing?

A. The very same thing I do now.

Q. When they make a movie of your life, who would play you?

A. Jennifer Aniston.

Q. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have with you?

A. Bible, water, chocolate, music player, chicken, Chapstick and sunscreen.

9Round at a glance

Owner: Becky Venuti of Shiloh

Current location: University Pointe, 1063 S. State Route 157, Suite 1, Edwardsville

Future additional location: Green Mount Road, O’Fallon

Phone: 618-307-5105

Website: 9round.com/EdwardsvilleUniversityPointe