Katy Fraggos, our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, has always had a penchant for dance. So after spending her career as a professional dancer and becoming a fitness expert at the renowned Tracey Anderson Method in Manhattan, she was ready to branch out on her own with a unique concept. In 2014, Katy, along with her husband, Jason Yachanin, opened Perspirology, a supremely fun, distinctive boutique fitness studio in Sea Bright specializing in sculpting tight, toned physiques through original dance-based exercises that enhance cardiovascular and muscular endurance. We caught up with this Atlantic Highlands mom to Zara, 3, to talk everything fitness, including how her classes differ from others (hint: they involve a trampoline), her roster of A-list celeb clients, and the pretty waterside spot in Monmouth County where her daughter finds the best rocks for painting at home.
Please share a little bit about your background. I have a BFA in Dance Performance and was a professional dance performer abroad and in New York. My husband, Jason Yachanin, and I met while doing a tour for a show, started dating after the show ended, and have been together ever since. Though we’ve been together for 20 years, we just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and adopted our daughter, Zara, now 3, when she was just two days old. When we decided to have children, we knew that adoption would be the right choice for us, and we are so grateful that her birth parents chose us.
Were you always into fitness? Always! I was very into dancing, tumbling, and jumping on our trampoline when I was young. Later, I also ran track–beating the boys at running was my jam. I’d get the physical fitness awards at school and always got student of the month in the gym. It’s kind of funny but I loved everything fitness that I’d even do Sweating to the Oldies at home.
Did your previous career play a role in you launching Perspirology? We lived in New York for about a decade, and I was at the Tracy Anderson Method for 7 years, heading up their East Coast division and serving as head of training for several years. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wanted to bring my experience to a population that could really use it. I wanted to open my own business combining my dance and fitness background with my professional training experiences but in a much more approachable and affordable way.
How do you and your husband, Jason, split up the responsibilities? Because we’ve always worked together from the moment we met, for us, working together has always been seamless. I handle all content and all aspects of training our staff, and he oversees the studio as a whole in terms of our bookkeeping and maintenance. When it comes to correspondence and everything else, we have a lot of crossover.
What sets Perspirology apart from other fitness centers, and what’s next? Our Bounce Classes set us apart, but we’re also very specific with all of our programming—our studio content is extremely planned out with two complementary programs that are changed every week, so our clients are always looking forward to what’s coming up. Also, our training process for our instructors is very intense, so they’re equipped to handle all clients, regardless of their fitness or skill levels. And we have a streaming service for our studio, which was set up years before the pandemic and helped us survive it. Because of our streaming service, we have clients around the world, as far as Vienna, Austria, and Hamburg, Germany. We’re a local business, but thanks to our newest location (a bounce and toning brick-and-mortar opening soon in Middletown) and our streaming service, we’re building a much bigger business. This new location will also be a test run for our eventual goal: to open satellite studios all over, either by ourselves or through franchise opportunities.
Please share something about yourself that people might not know. I’ve trained many a-list celebrities, including Matthew McConaughey, Sienna Miller, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I also trained Shakira for her She Wolf promo tour, which was an incredible experience because I lived in her home in the Bahamas for three months and also toured with her.
What do you hope Zara learns from seeing you as a mompreneur? The biggest thing I want her to understand is that if she is going to go for something, she should go for it. I hope she has the confidence to pursue whatever she decides is “her thing,” and I hope that when she encounters setbacks (as we all do from time to time), she doesn’t get so frustrated that she gives up instead of giving it more time and pushing forward.
Are there any special charities or causes that are particularly important to you? Jason and I are huge animal people. When people visit our home, we jokingly welcome them to the jungle because we have a rescue dog, a Russian tortoise, a cockatiel, two rescue parakeets, a beta fish, and two snails. We support organizations like Ruff Resilience, the Humane Society in Tinton Falls, Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts, and senior dog centers in the area, by doing fundraising classes at our studio or donation drop-offs of towels, toys, and more.
What are some of your favorite local businesses? A very special shoutout goes to Paranormal Books & Curiosities in Asbury Park. My husband and I both love it because it’s so unique. They carry a vast range of paranormal books, magazines, and artifacts, and they also have experiences, including seances, lectures, readings, and classes; they can also be booked for events. Another not-to-be-missed place is the Copper Canyon in Atlantic Highlands, a southwestern eatery with the most delicious garlicky baked brie and jalapeno Caesar salad! I also love The Atlantic House. Must-gets there are the kettle chips with blue cheese and skillet steak bites.
Please share some places in NJ that your family loves. Tell me what makes them special to you. We like to mix things up—we frequent many different parks. Alloco Park has a great toddlers and up playground. I swear I even love playing on it. We also love Thompson Park, which has great hiking trails. There’s so much open space there that it’s also perfect for our dog, Ginger. At Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina, Ginger loves to run around, and Zara loves to collect shells, walk through the water, and spot fish and crabs. We also find cool rocks there and bring them home to paint.
What’s your best piece of advice for a mompreneur? When you’re not with your child, focus on the tasks and get as much as possible done. When you’re with your child, block out that time to be present so you don’t negate the quality time spent with family by doing work then.