By: Kay Rivera
Our new Head Coach and Ladykiller, Coach Natalia, has brought a fresh new energy to the Turf with her upbeat attitude and latin-infused playlists (more on that below.) The originality of her motivation, drive, and expertise makes her a valuable addition to the Team. We learn more on her background and experience below:
Where are you from? What is your athletic background?
I was born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland! My dad is Venezuelan/Mexican, and half of my family lives in Mexico City. We definitely grew up as a soccer household. Everyone played. I’m the youngest of four siblings—two older brothers and one older sister. Growing up playing sports with and against my brothers certainly instilled a strong sense of competitiveness within me, as well as a necessity to have (very) thick skin. Both aspects of my personality still ring true today, and I’m grateful for that. I started playing when I was 6 and went on to play on competitive travel teams, but I pulled away from sports going into college to embrace my less structured and more carefree side.
What inspired you to start a career in the fitness industry?
I think I actually stumbled [back] into fitness. Sometimes I like to think that fitness found me again. I was an athlete who rebelled against being an athlete. I went from being healthy and fit to being very unhealthy across the board (physically, mentally, emotionally). And this is where I say, “I lost my way,” because I completely let go of the idea that I was an athlete. I moved to New York for a sales job and set out to work my way up the corporate ladder. Classic. I did really well, but I wasn’t being true to who I was on the inside. Again, I had lost touch with the real me. After years of neglecting my mental, physical and emotional health, I decided to embrace nutrition and began to rewire my brain from the inside out. I found my way back into the gym, things kind of started to snowball for me, and that’s when I remembered who I was at the core. It’s like I had lived a completely different life, and decided I wanted a version of my old life back. I’m very thankful for the transitions. I’ve grown tremendously because of them. Now I’m all about helping others gain (or regain) their physical, mental and emotional strength. Working in the fitness industry gives me that and so much more.
What originally brought you to Tone House?
One of the coaches at my old studio said that [Tone House] was a super tough workout and that only athletes can do it. And I said, “I need to be there.” So I came to my first class with Coach Joe. And I remember after that class I said, “I’m going to work here. I don’t know how the hell I’m going to do it, but I know I’m going to work here.” And then I just kept coming back. I wanted to be a part of this community. I loved the way that everything worked. I loved being around other athletes and being a part of the team. The Tone House community is something special.
How would you describe your personal fitness philosophy?
My philosophy is to meet your body where it’s at today…because we’re different every single day. To me, that type of mentality allows for grace and love to be a part of the athletic equation. I think it’s really easy for athletes to adopt an “all I know is go” mentality. While that can be a powerful place to live, I think it has the potential to lead to burn out. And quick. I’m a huge believer that if you don’t cater to how you feel each day, you’re hurting yourself in the long run. Respect your body. Protect your body. Don’t get it twisted though: this philosophy doesn’t mean to not prioritize your fitness goals and discipline. Instead, for me, it means to pause and ask myself why more often than not.
What can athletes expect from you on the mic?
A friend, first and foremost. I think it’s easy to be intimidated by a class environment. I want my class to be accessible to everyone, especially those people who are more anxious about the experience. Athletes can expect to have a good time in my class. I don’t think fitness needs to be so serious all of the time. I think you can dance and laugh and joke, and still get shit done. I’m very quirky and weird, which I recognize about myself. I actually love it. I think that my uniqueness brings something different to the table.
Do you have any words of advice for first time athletes?
It’s not that serious. I understand the nerves, but at the end of the day this is just a workout class. You’re here, ideally, to get a great workout and to learn a little bit more about yourself and how your body moves. Remember that you have to impress nobody.
The Tone House community is simply magical. We’ve all been in your shoes, and we know it is not easy. Know that you are not alone. Welcome to the family.
Extras: Favorite tunes to play in class:
Latin music. I want to play music from different cultures. I want that representation to be felt and be heard.
Extras: What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of fitness?
I write a lot. Not everybody sees what I write. It’s my release. Words are just so powerful. I believe communication is the root of life. Additionally, I also cook a lot. And I share my food A LOT. It’s just part of who I am at the core, I think. There is real love, peace, and care that you can put into food and cooking for others. The reason why I share food is because it’s something special when you can taste and experience exactly what I’m tasting and experiencing. And I think that that type of connection is so damn powerful.
Book a class with Coach Natalia at www.tonehouse.com/schedule.