Rosemarie "Bud" Seaman recently celebrated the grand re-opening of her Ultimate Fitness gym in Winter Park – a business she's run for the past 30 years to help locals stay fit.
Time flies, doesn’t it, Bud?
Personal trainer and storied swimmer Rosemarie “Bud” Seaman has been helping locals chase their fitness goals for 30 years — and she hasn’t even broken a sweat.
“It doesn’t feel like 30 years, because I love what I do,” Bud said. “That’s what my father said: ‘Find something you’re passionate about and do it.’”
From her Ultimate Fitness gym space in the office building at 2265 Lee Road, Bud aims to provide a unique, comfortable place to exercise — and she’s built a reputation of doing just that.
Clients come to her for a number of reasons, Bud said. Many just want to look better in a bathing suit or get fit for a high-school reunion, while others hope to conquer lingering injuries through post-physical therapy exercises. Many also come to Ultimate Fitness to train for marathons or to lose weight.
There is that occasional unique request though, such as the one client who wanted to train as an arm wrestler.
Whatever the fitness goal, Bud can help them achieve it.
“As the years changed, I adapted and changed with it,” Bud said. “That’s what I try to tell everybody: It’s not one-size-fits-all. Everybody is different. … It’s always about adapting and changing. That’s why it’s called ‘personal’ trainer.”
To that end, Bud started an optional plus-size class made specifically for people who want to lose 100 pounds or more. That offering gives them a safe place to exercise without being judged.
“It’s the No. 1 reason why they won’t go to a YMCA or another larger facility: the intimidation factor,” Bud said. “They don’t want to be the biggest person in the class. They don’t know if they’ll fit on the equipment or break the equipment. I listened to them and said, ‘I got to do something.’ They have no place to go, and I want them to feel safe.”
THE EXERCISE EXPRESS
Bud was first inspired to take up the work of a personal trainer in 1984 after reading a newspaper article about the profession in California.
“I thought, ‘When I go back to Orlando, this is what I want to do,’” Bud said.
The idea started in 1987 as a gym on wheels — an old motorhome Bud gutted, fitted with carpet and mirrors, and filled with workout equipment. She called it Ultimate Fitness: The Exercise Express.
“I think I was the original food truck — I just didn’t sell any food,” Bud said. “As personal training caught on, I like to think that one person’s idea became a fitness trend in Central Florida. … I think I was the first (mobile personal trainer) in Central Florida to do it.”
A few years later, Bud moved her business to a small space for rent connected to a dance studio in Maitland. It was in 1997 that Bud moved to her current unit at the Lee Road office building.
“When I stumbled across this, I said, ‘This is the place,’” Bud said.
‘LET HER SWIM’
Bud’s passion for fitness dates back to her own passion for sports —especially swimming, which the Winter Park native channeled to become one of the best athletes in the country.
That all started from humble beginnings swimming at Cady Way pool with her older brother at age 5.
“I had asthma as a child, and Dr. (Theodore) Dippy – a lot of people from this area swam with him, he was the high school swim coach — kept saying, ‘Let her swim,’” Bud said. “I was a preemie, so I wasn’t developed physically. That’s where my swimming career got started.”
What started as a doctor’s recommendation turned into an opportunity that took Bud to the Olympic level, through a successful high-school swimming run and on a full ride through college.
Bud excelled at the butterfly stroke. After competing for her first national championship at age 9, she received the key to the city of Orlando to be an ambassador of the city. She also qualified for the Olympics trials at the time but was too young to compete — the minimum age was 12.
Bud went on to win the Amateur Athletic Association Outstanding Athlete of Central Florida numerous times during junior high and high school. She entered Winter Park High School as part of the Class of 1975 and with her teammates captured the 1973 swimming state championship .
From ages 12 to 32, Bud swam in five Olympic trials, getting named as an alternate on the U.S. Olympic team in 1980.
A FITNESS FAMILY
Bud has built a loyal following within her client base at Ultimate Fitness in the past 30 years. That community of close friends was there for Bud when she needed it most.
Back in April, Bud noticed a pinhole leak in the ceiling of her unit. The president of the office building sent roofers to fix various leaks in some of the units, removing the roof material and doing a patch job to fix it.
The following morning, Bud noticed water had run into the pinhole leak and knocked a few ceiling tiles down.
It wasn’t too bad at first, but the following night, a microburst came through and caused severe flooding and damage to her unit.
Bud reached out to her fitness family for help, and that’s exactly what they did.
Many of her clients gave financial support — through direct donations and GoFundMe pages — to help pay for the materials and repairs. Some members also helped with the actual work after the unit was gutted. Bud and her gym buddies put drywall in, painted walls, cleaned and brought the gym back to life in 25 days.
The whole ordeal cost about $16,000 for the mold remediation, repairs and restoration. On Friday, Oct. 5, Bud celebrated a grand re-opening.
“I’m very proud of the community that I built here in the gym” she said. “It’s really like a family. It’s beautiful. It’s really the silver lining in something awful. You find out how many people love you.”