Inside Triple Threat, where three Latina women are redefining the bootcamp experience
Six days a week, a chorus of whooshing battle ropes, clanging dumbbells, and medicine balls slamming into the ground fills the air at Triple Threat Bootcamp, a spacious, orange-and-white-accented fitness studio in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. Since 2015, Samantha Ortiz has been the head master trainer at Triple Threat, which she co-owns with her mother, Aileen Ortiz, and her sister, Christine Ortiz. Samantha’s cardio, strength training, and boxing classes have earned her the title of one of New York’s best fitness instructors.
Born and raised in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, Samantha grew up a tomboy. “I just didn’t like hair in my face, so I would constantly have it in a bun,” she says. She would play baseball with the boys, and by age eight, she was known as the mayor of the neighborhood. “She was the kind of kid that, when she wanted something, she got it,” says her mother, Aileen Ortiz. Samantha played softball and volleyball throughout high school and college, and she soon began looking for ways to share her passion for athletics with the people in her community. Eventually, Samantha began leading bootcamps out of her parents’ living room, until her father, Juan Ortiz Jr., had an idea.
“My dad was like, why don’t I just work on the garage to [make it into] a fitness studio for you?” Samantha recalls. Her father’s idea would one day become Triple Threat Bootcamp. The studio’s name refers to its owners: three Latina women making a name for themselves in the bootcamp space, where their demographic has traditionally been underrepresented. “Three Latina women owning a fitness studio is not ‘normal’ — and I love that,” says Samantha.
Sadly, Samantha’s father passed away before he could finish the studio. But his memory lives on in the current space, where a large bootprint symbol covers one of the walls in tribute. “He was always in construction boots,” Samantha explains.
Now, Samantha’s hair plays a major role in her role as head master trainer at Triple Threat. As a trainer, she has to command the room, and her hair does just that. “My hair is big, it’s loud, it’s colorful, and it stands out,” she says. “I feel like it gives me power.”