Insider Guide: Move Without Fear
Chelsea Aguiar Offers Inspiration- “The World Needs You”
When she was 19-years-old, Chelsea Aguiar thought her life was over. For as long as she could remember, she’d been a dancer. She studied ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance for 13 years growing up in New Mexico, then majored in contemporary dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. But at the young age of 19, her body gave up.
“Dance requires an extreme range of motion in all the joints. I would muscle through everything because I was strong, and ended up grating away my hip joint,” she said. “I had several tears in the tissue and a hairline fracture in the head of the femur. My hips were tearing themselves apart from the inside out.”
Her doctor told her if she kept going the way she was, she’d need two hip replacements in her 30s. So, she resigned herself to her fate. She had surgery on one hip and gave up dance for good.
“After recovery my body just wasn’t the same,” she said. “I wasn’t going to be able to dance the way I had before. I got depressed and gained 30 pounds.”
How she shook herself out of it
One day, Chelsea’s mother put her foot down. She told her daughter there was no more time for wallowing, that she had to move on.
Chelsea’s mom and her aunt dragged her to a kettlebell studio, another moment that would forever change her life.
She kept doing kettlebells and shrugged off that 30 pounds she gained. Chelsea moved to New York City to go to school for acting, and also started going to the Equinox gym.
“The manager almost kicked me out cause I was teaching my friend kettlebell swings,” she said. But then he realized she had a gift, and offered her a job. Finally, after four months, she accepted. She spent her days training at the gym, attending acting school, and working at a restaurant in the evenings. In short, she was busy, still trying to find her way in life.
Finding her passion
As Chelsea wrapped up schooling for acting, she realized personal training was incredibly rewarding. She loved teaching and helping people feel confident and powerful in their bodies. She remembers the man who made her realize training, instead of acting, should be her career.
“He was 28-years-old and had the worst health profile you could imagine,” she said. “He took medication for blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gout and was 50 to 60 pounds overweight. He came to me and said his goal was to get off all his meds.”
Chelsea was just 22-years-old and not sure she could do it. But she rose to the challenge, helping him overhaul his diet, teaching him to train with weights. They trained almost every day of the week. And in six months, all his symptoms were gone.
“He completely reversed type 2 diabetes, reversed his hypertension, his gout was completely asymptomatic and he lost 60 pounds. He went from someone who couldn’t lift a 20 pound bar over his head to someone who could deadlift 400 pounds and squat 300 pounds,” said Chelsea.
Starting her own business
At first, Chelsea took on clients at Equinox, and quickly rose to the top. She went from being the newest and youngest trainer to one of the top five performers at her gym, and the top 100 in New York City.
In February of 2012, she founded her own company called Athaya Fitness.
She said in a society focused on prescribing medication rather than finding a root cause of a problem, she wanted to open a business that delves deep.
She’s a freelancer in the full meaning of the word, working out of studios all over New York City, hopping from subway train to subway train to meet her clients. Most of them are referral-based, and some of them have been with her for years.
Her biggest challenge
Starting and running your own business isn’t always easy, and Chelsea has challenges of her own. She said her biggest challenge was and still is, herself.
Another challenge in running a business is setting aside time for yourself, something Chelsea mindfully schedules in.
In her off time, Chelsea does yoga, reads and goes for walks, saying some of her deepest inspiration comes to her during those times when she’s alone, walking the streets of New York.
Her advice for people just starting out as Soloists
Her advice for others just starting out is the same as the mantra that runs her business: Walk without fear.
She said to follow that fear and face it, because you never know what amazing, beautiful opportunities lie on the other side.
For more inspiration, follow Chelsea on Instagram @chelsea.aguiar