I’m half Salvadorian and half Venezuelan; however, I’ve never been to El Salvador but have been (and lived) in Venezuela many times, so that’s what I usually rep. In the States, I grew up mainly in Houston, Texas from the age of 12 and moved to Buffalo after getting married. I have two small kiddos and three pets. For my day job I work as a commercial lines insurance account manager, and then teach at SWEAT 716 exclusively!
What is your history with the health & wellness/fitness world? How has your trajectory brought you to where you are today?
I’m not naturally a thin gal, and have struggled with my weight throughout my entire life. My firstborn son is technically my rainbow baby. I went through several pregnancies ending unsuccessfully, which prompted me to enter a stage of deep depression, putting on some serious weight while in that process. By a miracle, one of those pregnancies was successful, and my amazing boy Julian was born, who I finally had after trying to conceive for six years!
I tipped the scale at nearly 300 lbs. My heaviest ever. After having him, I realized how bad I needed to get myself back together and decided to do it. I started being mindful of what I ate, and started to live an active lifestyle. I lost almost half of my heaviest weight, and was encouraged to obtain my spin certification from a friend (I’ve always loved spin). That’s where my instructor career all started!
What is your primary role at SWEAT? How long have you been with the studio? Where else do you instruct, if anywhere? What is your major area of expertise?
I’m an instructor! The studio hasn’t been open that long (about two years total). I joined the staff team back in the old location on Tupper.
Funny story — MJ had a thing for names at the very beginning, lmao. Original team consisted of Barb, Chris & Cristy (me), Amanda P & Amanda B, Anna & Ana. We all had the first three letters of the alphabet and our names were similar, as you can see.
Ok, back to the questions. I teach exclusively at SWEAT 716. I’ve taught at several other studios before, but SWEAT is definitely my favorite due to the culture and acceptance of all!
I’m a dancer, so anything with rhythm is my jam, but my top expertise is indoor cycling (rhythm rider). I’ve had extensive training in cycling from well-known master instructors who teach and open other major studios around the country and worldwide.
Besides spin, I also teach barre, step, HIIT, Bosu, etc. I’m a chameleon. 😉
Do you have a particular ethos about health & wellness/fitness that you wish to share or that would be inspirational to someone coming into the world with no prior knowledge or experience?
Everyone was first a beginner. Everyone starts somewhere. You will always be your own worst critic. Stop the excuses — nobody, ESPECIALLY at SWEAT, will ever judge, SO c’mon! We welcome all body types, genders, etc. We do NOT discriminate against anyone. On a personal note, I’ve been there so I GET it. Don’t be afraid — you got this!
Do you have any tips/tricks you can share on how to succeed in reaching personal health & wellness/fitness goals? What are some best practices you’ve developed or witnessed in your time as an instructor? Some of the biggest or most common mistakes one makes when embarking on this journey?
Statistics show it takes 21 days to make a habit. The key is consistency. Don’t kill yourself, just be mindful of not eating like an asshole and move your body. That’s it! Really — it’s that simple. Diet culture stinks, so you also gotta wrap your head around not comparing yourself to the ridiculous nonsense.
Do you have any other words of wisdom or advice you can share with people considering a new fitness journey in 2020?
Don’t set unrealistic goals. Schedule out your workouts, and just show up. That’s the hardest part of being active. Regarding the nutrition aspect — don’t think diet, instead think commonsense. Live life. Just be happy. Find that balance. Your “fittest” self is not always your happiest self.