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Meet Gretchen Zelek of Donuts & Pie Fitness in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gretchen Zelek.

Gretchen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
About ten years ago I started a fitness products company called dod Fitness. I designed and sold fitness tools to make the knees, wrists and neck more comfortable while working out. They were sold online, at gyms and studios.

After a few years, I became a Functional Aging Specialist, certified Group Fitness Instructor and Ageless Grace Educator and developed a program called Fitness Tools for Baby Boomers which introduced many kinds of fitness tools available to help people who needed modifications when exercising due to uncomfortable wrists, knees, back or neck. I presented the program at fitness conventions across the country and met many experts along the way.

Annie Gibbons, a friend and fitness pro who lives in Cape Cod and works primarily with older clients, and I realized there was a great need for information and resources for people over age 50. We started Donuts & Pie Fitness where we interview experts from all over the country about lifestyle, health, fitness, wellness and aging enthusiastically. (My products were called knee donuts and the wedge for the wrists is similar to a pie wedge.)

Living in Santa Monica has exposed me to people, projects and ideas that I would never have had the opportunity to experience, and share if I was not here. Our interviews are done via video and shared on our YouTube Channel so Annie and I always seem to be in the same place, although the sun seems to shine brighter here.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a long road with a big learning curve. With a new product, it’s always challenging to get out there, to make sure you have runway for the long haul and to have the energy to keep moving ahead. If I had not had the fitness business, I would never have been exposed to so many driven, enthusiastic and interesting people. I learned along the way what people’s needs and priorities were and I have been able to translate that to Donuts & Pie Fitness. The challenge with D&PF is getting people to trust us and allow us to interview them and we are working all the time on that. I have always believed in going big and doing it right. One thing that really works is that Annie and I are a great team and our collaborations are really fun.

Please tell us about Donuts & Pie Fitness.
Donuts & Pie Fitness interviews national fitness, health, wellness and lifestyle experts about how to live a happy, healthy, fun and fulfilled life. We share a new interview every week on our YouTube channel with relevant posts on our social media, also promoting our experts and their brands. We seek out experts who will apprise our viewers of new and innovative ways to age enthusiastically. Donuts & Pie Fitness sets itself apart from other over age 50 sites because rather than focusing on nostalgia, retirement, reminiscing about the past, grumbling about the future, or other stereotypical aging issues, we focus on the present and living life to the fullest with no regrets or hesitation.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
One of my favorite childhood memories is something completely different than my “California kids” ever experienced. Growing up in the country in Western Massachusetts I walked to school with all the neighborhood kids. We had a contest that started the first-day snow fell and ended at the first thaw when we kept track of how many times we wiped out and fell on the ice on the sidewalk. It was a blast, and never boring because, while you always had to mind every step, it made the cold walk do-able.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 818-383-6150
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @donutsandpiefitness
  • Facebook: @donutsandpie
  • Twitter: @donutsandpiefit
  • Other: YouTube: Donuts and Pie Fitness

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