Pamela Murphy has two hobbies that she loves: cooking and exercising. It really does make a good combination. When you put it on, you just take it off.
Here’s some background on Pam: She’s been coming to Florida for years, attracted to the warm weather and the beaches. She and her husband, John, owned a vacation condo in Palm Beach and as their children got older, the Murphys found themselves able to spend more time here, and ended up buying their home in Manalapan eight years ago.
Then, four years ago, Pam retired. She was the vice president of operations in her husband’s school bus business in Middletown, N.J.
“That really was a success story,” she said. “He started out with one bus and ended up with more than 500 when he sold it four years ago.”
At that point, she was really able to transition to Florida, spending almost the entire year here — John still goes back and forth. He has another business, Murphy Enterprises, a taxi and limousine company in New Jersey, and she said, “He’s got a Friday night poker game he won’t give up.”
So, finally, she had the time to indulge herself in her cooking and exercising.
First thing she did was join a gym in Plaza Del Mar, where she enjoyed the camaraderie, as well as the fact that she was seeing and feeling immediate results.
“I’m not a gym rat,” she said. “But I loved going to the gym. I went every morning and did the weight circuit and boxing. I had never done this kind of thing before and I saw results. I looked better. I felt better. My blood pressure was lower because of the exercise.
“The more toned I became, the more I went shopping and bought new clothes. You start seeing results, and who doesn’t like to shop?”
But soon after, the gym closed, and for the three following years, she exercised sporadically.
“I said to my husband, ‘I miss the gym. I miss the gym.’ And he got tired of listening to me and said, ‘So, go open one.’ ”
So, in October, she did just that. She named it “The Gym” and she opened it at the same location as her old gym in Plaza Del Mar. It’s two floors and 8,000 square feet. She purchased top-of-the-line equipment, hired her trainer to manage the facility, as well as a nutritionist and various other instructors for a whole host of classes, with big plans for senior classes, ballroom and line dancing, and whatever else she can think of that’s fun. And she’s back in business. And exercising.
Except that she broke her leg.
“I roll through there and look at my equipment,” she said.
Good thing she has other hobbies. There’s the cooking — she said she could easily be a caterer — and she likes to needlepoint.
But it won’t be long before she’s exercising again. “One of my neighbors said that most people join a gym. They don’t buy one.” Talk about commitment to looking good and being healthy.
— Christine Davis
Q. Where did you grow up and go to school? How do you think that has influenced you?
A. I grew up in Bay Village, Ohio, a small close-knit community that made me appreciate the value of friendship. I’m still in touch with friends and it still feels like home. I went to school at Ohio University.
Q. What inspired you to open a gym? How long have you had the business?
A. I got tired of seeing the Plaza with empty stores and I missed having a gym close to home. The Plaza is like the center of town and I wanted it to thrive.
Q. What’s your favorite part of the work you do?
A. Meeting people and helping them achieve their goals.
Q. What other careers have you had, what were the highlights?
A. I was trained as a teacher. I’ve had a pizza franchise and worked with my husband in his school bus company. It grew to be the largest in New Jersey. Contact with various people was the common thread in all.
Q. What is your favorite part about living and working in Manalapan?
A. The people. We all seem to be at a stage in life where what you see is what you get. No one needs to prove anything.
Q. What book are you reading now?
A. I like to read cookbooks, especially those that were part of a local fundraising effort. They give an insight into what different parts of the country are like and the women behind the recipes.
Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?
A. Old Bob Dylan and Anne Murray.
Q. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions?
A. “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” — Dolly Parton
Q. Have you had mentors in your life? Individuals who have inspired your life decisions?
A. My dad. He was a soft-spoken man who instilled family values and kindness to others. I wish he had lived long enough to see me now.
Q. Who or what makes you laugh?
A. My daughter Rachel. She has a quick wit and can mimic anyone with great accuracy.