Samantha Taylor (left) has helped thousands of women like 80-year-old Lynn Smith get into the best shape of their lives.

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced gyms to close in March, it took Samantha Taylor Fitness just 48 hours to completely pivot its method of delivery so that clients of the private training studios could continue their workouts virtually.

“We were doing 13 virtual workouts a week within two days,” says Samantha, the CEO who began her career in the fitness industry 28 years ago and launched her own business more than 20 years ago. Today, there are four Bay-area Samantha Taylor Fitness studios, including Wesley Chapel, Land O’Lakes, Carrollwood and Palm Harbor.

But now, the fitness studios have reopened and clients are given many options to work out safely, whether it’s in person or online. “During this difficult time, one thing you don’t want to do is put your health and fitness on the back burner,” says Samantha. “That’s not going to help you reduce your risk.”

She says that the CDC website lists obesity as one of the highest risk factors for not only contracting Covid-19, but also for having increased complications.

“Everyone’s body responds differently, but you have a better chance of it not affecting you as much if you’re healthier and have balanced blood sugar,” Samantha explains. “Statistically, if you’re healthy, even if you do get Covid-19, you’re more likely to get over it easier.”

Samantha says she understands that some people still may be fearful of going to a gym in person and if so, Samantha Taylor Fitness continues to offer virtual options, including recorded workouts that can be followed at home or virtual workouts with a private trainer via Zoom.

But, she’s quick to point out that a recent study of 2,873 gyms by the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) analyzed millions of gym check-ins to determine that only 0.002% of the active gym members studied had contracted Covid-19.

“Some people might think gyms are a place Covid-19 is spreading, but it’s not,” says Samantha, likely in part because people coming to the gym are not as high-risk (because high-risk people are choosing to stay home) and have stronger immune systems as a result of being generally healthy.

She encourages anyone concerned about coronavirus transmission to visit her website at to see a comprehensive list of how the studios are responding to Covid-19, including protocols such as limited class size, social distancing within classes, and sanitizing equipment between each class.

“Samantha Taylor Fitness centers are private studios,” she explains, “not overcrowded gyms. We have plenty of space to spread out in all four of our studios.”

The Wesley Chapel location has its own standalone building off of S.R. 56, near I-75, in the Cypress Ridge Professional Center. Samantha moved the studio there in 2018 from its former location on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. The new studio is bigger, with a larger personal training room, specialty rubber floors, and a private, first-floor entrance.

For Women Only!

All of the Samantha Taylor Fitness studios offer a women-only environment where clients can choose personal training in the form of 1-on-1 private training, group training, semi-private personal training or “fitness boot camp” classes. All workouts last just 30 minutes.

A recent “Cooking with Emi” segment had Samantha Taylor Fitness private chef Emi Covone teaching members of Samantha’s online community how to make cauliflower waffles, or “chafes.”

Before choosing  between the programs at Samantha Taylor Fitness, a potential client is invited to participate in a body transformation analysis, where you meet with a membership specialist in person, on the phone or via Zoom, to go over the many options available at the fitness studio. But, it’s not just about working out.

“The only way to make lifelong, lasting changes is to learn how to eat,” explains Samantha. “It’s not about being on a diet or starving yourself, but figuring out how to eat in a way that you really enjoy that is simple and maintainable (for you).”

She says people can diet temporarily, but if they don’t learn to eat in a way that’s realistic and sustainable for them, they won’t stick to it.

She adds that the pandemic has led to many people complaining about weight gain, and it hasn’t slowed.

“The ‘Quarantine 15’ has now turned in to the ‘Quarantine 20 or 25,’” says Samantha. “If you don’t start making changes in the new year, that could possibly continue to increase, and you’ve increased your risk factors for Covid-19 even more.”

To help with teaching you how to eat, Samantha Taylor Fitness offers online cooking classes with in-house chef Emi Covone every week on its private, members-only webpage. Every week, a new, healthy recipe that has been approved by Samantha Taylor Fitness’ licensed dietitian Shannon Barker is shared with members.

In the new year, cooking classes will continue, along with other events and programs, and even free webinars. 

To see what new programs are coming up, visit

A Supportive Community

At Samantha Taylor Fitness, women also find a supportive community, which Samantha says makes it fun and helps women stay on track. And, while her 2020 six-week weight-loss challenge and awards banquets highlighting the studios’ success stories were virtual, Samantha says to check the website for updates for 2021.

Lynn Smith is still pumping iron at age 80.

At 80 years old, Lynn Smith is a Realtor who doesn’t yet have an eye towards retirement. She has been working out with Samantha for nearly a dozen years. When she first started, she had never exercised in her entire life. “I want to live to be 100,” Lynn says, “so I figured I’d better do something about my health.”

Lynn adds that those early days were extremely hard. “I had no muscle strength,” she says. And, while she wasn’t obese and didn’t have a lot of weight she needed to lose, she says she lost about 10-12 pounds and kept the weight off. “Samantha taught me the importance of muscle strength.”

She says now it’s easy, and even fun. 

“I go three times a week, and the trainers challenge us every day,” Lynn says. “I look forward to it. The sessions are nonstop for 30 minutes, which is doable for just about anybody.”

Lynn likes that she works out in a very small group and that it’s for women only. “The trainers are very experienced and compassionate,” she says. “They want everyone to be successful.”

When she faced personal tragedy when her husband of 48 years suddenly passed away in August, Lynn says, “It was a big loss in my life. I’m so grateful that I have Samantha Taylor Fitness and that family to count on. I never really stopped going from the time my husband passed away. Everyone was very encouraging. Of course, you can’t wrap your arms around somebody like you could in the past but they’re there for me.” 

Lynn adds, “I’m very proud to be where I am at my age. It’s never too late to start. I encourage anyone reading this to get started at whatever age they are.”

The Wesley Chapel Samantha Taylor Fitness Studio is located is at 26908 Ridgebrook Dr. For more information, visit, call (813) 377-3739, or see the ad on page 25.

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