Sept. 20--NORWALK -- Chris Tobiasz took one Zumba class and he was hooked.
"It became an addiction. I was taking classes seven days a week," he said. "It's just the environment, seeing everyone laughing, clapping and smiling. Since the first class I took, I thought this is a business I'd like to get into."
Rather than sit on his dreams, Tobiasz took action and opened Euphoria Fitness Studio at 48 Westport Ave. The studio offers a variety of Zumba classes from beginner to advanced. It also offers an Insanity class. Classes take place in a large, colorful studio with flooring that has a special rubber coating that is easier on people's legs.
"We want people to work out in a party atmosphere so it doesn't feel like a regular gym," Tobiasz said. "Time goes so slow in a regular gym. The treadmills and weights are so boring. Here, with the music going and people smiling, it's more intimate --more party-like."
Tobiasz hopes to offer yoga and massage in the near future. He also offers birthday and corporate parties. The location, next door to Starbucks and two doors down from Stew Leonard's, offers room for expansion.
He looked for six months for the right location before finding the building on Westport Avenue.
The interior is brightly colored and includes the studio, changing rooms, and a lounge for people to socialize before and after classes.
"I had my own idea from day one what I wanted to do and what I wanted it to look like," he said. "Euphoria means happiness, joy -- that's what my place is all about."
Tobiasz hired four instructors, all with different specialties.
"They are really good and have a big following," he said. "They all bring something different to the table. They are very encouraging, enthusiastic and engaging."
He held a grand opening event last weekend and the reception was positive, he said. Close to 100 people attended.
State Sen. Bob Duff, D-4, has known Tobiasz for a long time and was impressed by what he saw the grand opening event.
"He told me that it was his dream to open this type of business. I'm so happy for him," Duff said. "He's got a good plan and there was a ton of energy at the opening. He's got a good following already so I'm sure he'll be successful."
Tobiasz was born and raised in Poland. He came to the United States in 1998 and worked as a real estate agent for 12 years.
"I can put all my skills to work here: marketing; people skills; sales. Being in real estate is basically like owning your own business," he said. "I really feel better doing this. Real estate was so depressing the last couple of years. Then I'd go to Zumba and everyone was having fun."
Euphoria offers a flexible, or pay-as-you-go, membership. Tobiasz wanted to avoid the contracts, enrollment fees and long-term memberships normally associated with fitness centers.
"Zumba is a global phenomenon," Tobiasz said. "It's been around for 10 years and is still growing. It keeps reinventing itself, too."