It’s hard to believe now, but Michele Levy used to be shy and afraid to speak up and stand out.
Today, the 2011 Harpur College graduate runs her own children’s fitness business, Zing. for Kids hires employees and interns (prioritizing Binghamton University students) to teach them the wonders of exercise. A popular fitness instructor in luxury gyms, she has worked in marketing for major brands and has spread her energy and enthusiasm across multiple platforms.
She laid the first ingredients of her success when she started her own business while working as a fitness instructor in Binghamton and majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Law (PPL) at Harpur College.
“My current business Zing! is like the 2.0 version of what I started in school,” she said. “I learned a lot during my school days, applied it today, and continue to return to my roots years later.”
Hailing from Belmore, New York, Levi, or Michelle Gordon as she was called in college, has Binghamton roots. Her parents met during her first year of college, and many of her friends also attended Binghamton. During her childhood, Levi visited campus with her family. It was only natural that she would one day become a bearcat.
Unsure of his career path at first, he credits the liberal arts for providing a comprehensive education that explores a wide range of disciplines, from economics and sociology to mathematics and logic. She particularly enjoys marketing and commercial law, both of which she found valuable when she started Zing.
“I discovered my passion for fitness and entrepreneurship very early in my college career and had the opportunity to do something that wasn’t necessarily my major,” she said. I think that’s what got me to step in. For anyone trying to figure it out, you don’t have to stick to one thing.”
her binghamton start
Determined to break out of his shell at Binghamton, Levi began finding his niche by checking out the many clubs and activities on campus. She has always liked exercise, and one day she noticed a sign at the gym advertising her internship as a group exercise instructor.
“It said, ‘Are you motivated? Are you energetic? Are you social?'” she recalled.
She only met 2 of the 3 requirements and wasn’t social at the time, but she applied anyway. At the same time, she participated in a student leadership program, leading her team, organizing her meetings and icebreakers, and even giving public speaking.
“It was like the lights just came on,” she said.
Levy devoted himself to his campus recreation work and practiced and honed his own exercise routines. His hard work has paid off. She has become one of the most popular fitness her instructors on campus. Her buddy explained how she chose a Tuesday night class with Michele instead of hitting the bar, she said.
While at Binghamton, she was also involved on multiple health and wellness committees and helped shape initiatives such as the new Campus Recreation Gym and Health and Wellness Minor. She has coached over 60 of her to become her fitness instructor. She served as the student leader on the Food Awareness Committee and planned health and wellness events such as cafeteria tours and dormitory workouts. She also participated in her first college triathlon.
“My job on triathlon day was to hold the arrow and tell people how many miles were left,” she said. “I loved every second of it.”
From adventures to jing!
Although Levi didn’t major, he attended every wellness class he could, including nutrition and exercise physiology, and became a teaching assistant for many of these courses. Off campus, she became a personal trainer. She began to wonder: how will this passion of hers for fitness lead to her future career?
She found the answer in a business plan competition offered through her graduate school of business. A finalist, her children’s fitness program (called Adventurecise) began on campus at her preschool and has spread to other locations in Bloom County.
“For me, being a shy kid, exercise helped me break out of my shell,” Levy said. “I wanted to bring that to other kids who might feel out of the sport.”
After graduating, Levy returned to Long Island and took a job as the regional director of a gym chain, managing eight facilities with 400 instructors. She turned to consulting and for a while she was in marketing for Reebok, after which she became the marketing director for a luxury sporting goods store in New York City. Meanwhile, she continued to teach her own popular fitness classes.
She later applied her marketing expertise to self Published in a magazine, but decided to leave the corporate environment to figure out her next steps. After the pandemic hit, she found a problem to solve. With schools moving online and extra-curricular activities canceled, parents were burned out, teachers exhausted, and kids in desperate need of a physical outlet.
She started teaching kids fitness online. One pandemic her class attracted nearly 300 of her children from across the country. Revy decides to take her leap and follows Jing! For full-time children.
“At this point two years ago, I was putting together a business plan, calling parents and schools and asking, ‘What are your struggles and pain points?’ “Can you do that?” she said.
She launched Zing! A few weeks after she quit her magazine job. The New York City-based company took off quickly. Today, the company offers online and in-person fitness programs for kids at schools, camps, community centers, events partnered with brands and organizations, and even birthday parties. She’s working on app plans in partnership with global retailers.
Last year, after an opportunity came up in the school system, she had to hire eight instructors to teach her method within three weeks. Today she has more than 20 employees of hers, among them her two Binghamton students.
“Our classes blend positive affirmations and mindfulness with fitness training. It’s like a boot camp class for adults, but I always say it’s made for kids. ‘ she explained. “We would look silly while we were on the plank. And have the kids do squats and say, ‘I’m so strong,’ and they’d think their breathing was cool.” I am thinking.”
Since attending Binghamton University, Levi has been truly passionate about making positive changes in the mental and physical health of children.
“Now, 10 years later and with a global pandemic, the mental and physical health of our children need a lot of help. Michele’s current iteration of Zing. A great resource for families. It’s revolutionizing physical education and wellness programs for children,” she said.
Levi remains grateful for her start at Binghamton, which laid the foundation for her future success. There are many opportunities.”
“I still talk to my teachers at school. I really don’t think I’ve changed that much,” she said.