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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Latina's influential impact on fitness and wellness health

Many individuals faced barriers to physical exercise and mental wellness during the pandemic. The pandemic took a toll on public health in general, but the pandemic also prioritize the importance of mental wellness, physical fitness, and exercise in many individuals' lifestyles.

Healthy physical exercise and wellness habits were formed in the public lifestyles during and after the pandemic, according to the fitness and wellness industry research centers analysis. People have missed the interaction of in-person fitness and wellness classes and are happy to return to their physical fitness and wellness activities in person.

Latinas continue to be the fastest-growing female ethnic group in the United States, with influential impact and contributions made to the United States and the entire world, from many impactful contributions in many industries like fitness, wellness, nutrition, and much more.

Maritza Camacho leads the fitness and wellness industry with her guidance to moderate physical activity and daily healthy habits regardless of injuries or surgeries that create limitations.

Personal trainer, fitness, and wellness entrepreneur Maritza Camacho are one of those Latinas contributing her fitness and wellness influential impact. Maritza Camacho leads the fitness and wellness industry with her guidance to moderate physical activity and daily healthy habits regardless of injuries or surgeries that create limitations.

Maritza's passion for fitness and wellness began during her senior year in high school. She remembers her cousin and she decided it was time to join a gym to get ready for their prom. That was Maritza's first time working with professional fitness trainers for the very first time. Maritza remembers the fitness trainers at her gym walking around looking in shape and confident, and she craved that same confidence.

Maritza at the time remembers being inspired by the professional fitness trainers at her gym, and for the first time, she thought of becoming a professional personal trainer. But because of the stereotypes of professional personal fitness trainers, she did not venture into becoming one because she didn’t feel confident enough to achieve the stereotype of a body she believed you had to have to be a professional personal fitness trainer.

At the time Maritza decided she wanted to join the military, the US ARMY. She was tasked by the military with either losing 20 lbs or dropping her body fat percentage. At the time she was introduced by fitness supplements to fat burners with ephedra, eating one meal a day, wearing sweat suits to lose weight faster, and running twice a day to reach her goal and task. Maritza remembers managing to lose 20 lbs in a little over a month. Once her goal was accomplished, Maritza stopped wearing the sweat suit and eating only one meal, but another habit developed throughout this process. She began to binge eat and then vomit out of fear of gaining weight. Maritza didn’t do this consistently, so she didn’t think it was such a problem

After returning from the US ARMY service, Maritza herself was inspired by kickboxing. She began shifting her focus to training properly and trying to continue to eat better. She had many challenges such many do throughout the training process but she continued to be focused and train regardless of the challenges she continue to face. Eventually, that came with the cost of having to lose weight, and some of the old unhealthy habits returned but regardless of her challenges, Maritza accomplish many kickboxing titles until she couldn’t do it any longer.

Maritza remembers her kickboxing coach was amazing to her, and he introduced her to CrossFit after her career pivot. She decided to join a CrossFit gym right after that introduction. She remembers the coaches at CrossFit opened her eyes to what eating properly could look like and how one did not have to starve to look and be healthy. From there, one of the CrossFit gym owners introduced her to powerlifting. She mentioned how this sport brought it all together for her. Powerlifting was the only sport that did not require Maritza to lose weight, it did not judge her body, and its sole purpose was to get her to be at her strongest. That idea of wanting to be a professional personal trainer and coach started to inspire her all over again. Finally, Maritza was able to consider being one without the fear of not looking like a stereotypical trainer.

In 2019, Maritza lost her love for what she accomplished in the AT&T Stadium during her kickboxing journey and decided that there would never be a perfect time to pivot to a new career, so she decided at the time to apply at a commercial gym. Then 2020 came, and the pandemic close everything down. Maritza was ready to search for something else. Anything else that would help her have a stable recurring income. She remembers her clients that reached out asking if she would consider doing anything to keep them healthy during the pandemic shutdown. Maritza started doing zoom HIIT classes in her basement and then ventured into virtual 1-on-1 personal training. That was the beginning of her entrepreneurship journey in the fitness and wellness industry and the start of her brand Uplifting gym.

There are healthier ways to obtain fitness goals and she became focused on investing in her education to become a better-qualified trainer and coach.

After the pandemic reopenings, Maritza's boyfriend offered to set up his garage as their gym, and that same garage gym remained for two years. With the help of her home gym and her boyfriend, Maritza was able to develop a powerlifting team and personal training clients and focused on finding a fitness level for everyone, including those with injuries or surgeries that created limitations. She remembers it was an amazing and motivating experience for her. She helped her clients understand that there are healthier ways to obtain fitness goals and she became focused on investing in her education to become a better-qualified trainer and coach.

Maritza mentions that entrepreneurship and opening a business is not easy, and it has its great days and bad days, some great wins, and some evil lessons. She mentions that some days you want to quit, and some days you want to take over the world.

In June of 2022, Maritza finally signed a lease, and by July 25th of 2022, she did her gym soft launch. She mentions that all those bad days and great days finally were worth it. Due to all the hard work and a handful of people that believed in her, she now has an established business where she gets to help people from all fitness levels.

Her mission is to help people avoid the lows she had come to a pond in her journey. She wants her clients to feel safe and free of judgment while working on their goals. She wants them to feel worried and guilt-free when they make food choices. She wants people to understand that healthy comes in all different shapes and sizes and that training can be for everyone including her Latinx community. Most importantly, she wants her daughter to grow up feeling proud of her body and never feel that her body can prevent her from reaching her goals, whatever those may be.

I had the pleasure of meeting Maritza Camacho during the Chicago Latina Expo 2022. Her personal and entrepreneurial story during her fireside chat captivated me with her determination and passion to advocate and educate the public regardless of any insecurities and limitations. Here is what this powerhouse had to say during her interview with Our Latinx Magazine.

OLM: How did you become interested in your field?

Maritza: I became interested in the fitness and wellness industry about 20 years ago. I became a gym goer at the age of 17 and believed personal trainers were amazing. They walked around with such confidence and looked amazing, I wanted to be like them.

OLM: How did you begin your career?

Marita: I began my career as a personal trainer 3.5 years ago. I was working a corporate job and began to lose my “loving what I do” feeling. I remember thinking that although I was much older, I had always at some point questioned “What if I would have become a personal trainer?” My daughter was getting older and thought, I wouldn’t want my daughter to not go for her dream due to fear so why would I? I resigned from my corporate job and began working as a personal trainer at Xsport and before I knew it, I was too invested in developing my career as a personal trainer that I decided to make that my full-time career.

OLM: What do you like most about your work?

Marita: For me, the most valued accomplishments as a trainer are helping people have pain-free movement while helping them achieve their fitness goals. Second, creating a safe and comfortable environment where my clients can train comfortably.

OLM: How does your position fit within the organization/career/field/ industry?

Marita: I strongly believe that as a personal trainer I play a tremendous role in the fitness and wellness industry. People look for trainers to help them achieve their fitness goals and it is our responsibility to educate and show our clients how to safely achieve such goals. Some people hire us for weight loss guidance. It is up to us to guide them and educate them on developing healthy behaviors and avoid falling into fad diets or dangerous practices. Others hire us to be able to learn how to diminish the risk of injury or how to reintegrate into a strength training program after surgery or injuries that have given them limitations. I am a huge believer that there is a fitness level for everyone and so far, I have been able to prove that with all of my clients.

OLM: Why do you feel you are best suited for this role?

Maritza: The reasons I am most suited for my role are both my personal experiences as well as my education. Getting caught up at such a young age with wanting to lose weight led me to follow extreme diets and behaviors, unhealthy behaviors such as binge eating which led to vomiting, being introduced to fat burners, training morning and night, choosing gym time over sleep and the list goes on. However, I was blessed to discover healthier ways and how to relearn why I enjoyed the training. I practiced kickboxing and participated in 3 amateur fights, used running as a way to clear my mind, practiced CrossFit for 5 years, and was introduced to powerlifting. Going through all of this made me realize that I could potentially help others.

I invested in my education to become a certified personal trainer through NASM. I then pursued becoming certified as a powerlifting coach through USAPL. From there I have pursued numerous courses that help me understand and properly introduce healthy and pain-free movement to clients that may be dealing with injuries or surgeries.

OLM: What kind of mindset is required for your duties and responsibilities?

Martiza: The best type of mindset to have, is one of growth and relevance. In this field you must be willing to continue to learn and understand that programming for people to successfully achieve their fitness goals is not a one size fits all type of approach. You must crave to get better and expand your knowledge to be able to work with people of all kinds of lifestyles, situations, and fitness levels. I say relevance because, in this field, you must feel that you have a purpose and that your doing brings value to your clients. This is the biggest motivator for me.

OLM: What are the areas of opportunity that you foresee in your role?

Maritza: The areas of opportunities I see is that as trainers we must do a better job at helping people understand that fitness journeys are much more than losing weight and that we do more than just make people sweat. We need to promote that restriction is not necessary and that for many, losing weight is much more complex than simply measuring calories in vs calories out.

OLM: How do you stay inspired and motivated in your role?

Maritza: The main reason I stay inspired and motivated is my daughter. I want her to grow up knowing that she doesn’t have to look a certain way to follow her dreams. I didn’t pursue this career for a long time believing I “didn’t look” like a trainer. Another major reason is my clients. When I see my clients begin to feel confident and stronger when they lose their fear of lifting heavier because they know how to do it safely when I receive a message from a client expressing that they woke up pain-free all of this makes me stay inspired and motivated.

OLM: What advice would you give to today’s Latina and the future Latina?

Maritza: Advice... it’s always hard for me to advise because I know that I still have so much more to learn and do... but I would love to tell our Latinas of today and the future... Be unstoppable... if you have discovered your passion, do not let anyone deter you from what you want to do. Be wise, most of the time, things do not come easy. There will be days that you feel like you are ready to quit, however, don’t give in so easily. Use that day to take a breather, rest, and watch how the next day you feel re-engaged and ready to go stronger.

Everything you go through is not punishment but a lesson to be learned, and I strongly believe that we each go through what we do to learn and come out stronger to be able to accomplish our goals.


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