|Joanna Castro wearing pieces from our new Essentials line.|
Big birthdays are scary for a lot of us. The uncertainty of the future can make us feel super uneasy, but that’s okay! We asked mother and Body Space Fitness instructor Joanna Castro (@joliftlaugh) to tell us what her challenges have been, and what she’s looking forward to during her 30th trip around the sun (and beyond).
Turning 30 at the beginning of this year marked a few milestones for me, the first being the obvious celebration of my 30th year of life. In my 20s I experienced pregnancy and birthed my beautiful daughter Elle. Less than a year after her birth, her father and I went to City Hall to become man and wife, and a year and a half after that we decided to separate, and now our divorce is close to being signed. Yes, all this before my 30th birthday - let's just say I've seen a lot and grown so much over the past 5 years! I am forever grateful for everything I've endured because it helped to create the version of myself that I am today: a strong and successful single mother.
My successes are really defined by how I have raised my daughter thus far, and she is a happy and thriving 4 and a half year old. I’ve done this while developing into the fitness coach that I am today.
I’m a native New Yorker and fifteen years ago I fell into the life of fitness. My love for food turned this non-athlete into a jump-squatting-incline-push-up queen! I read fitness magazines, woke up at 5:30am to pop in a Denise Austin yoga DVD and did my workout before getting ready for school. I would go to the weight room in my high school and practice what I read in fitness magazines. I recruited friends to workout with me and we all started losing weight in a healthy way and feeling better. All at the ripe old age of 15! I have literally been trying to help people change their lives in a positive way for half of my life.
I have been blessed many times over. I am no where close to where I want to be - I’ve had my setbacks and I am forever grateful for each one. But those setbacks have rerouted me onto higher playing fields. Not only am I actively working on elevating those around me, I'm also making sure my daughter is very much aware of what her mother's purpose is. I'm guiding her through life with an understanding of fitness and the balance it creates as a whole.
Strength training is my driving force. I work with a lot of men and there's something to be said when I can lift just as much as they can - and do it well. Women lose bone density as we age, and the best way to combat that is to lift the free weights, kettle bells and ultimate sandbags. If we challenge our bodies, we can maintain a healthy mind and body into our better years.
Age and experience definitely play a major role in how I communicate with my clients. Fitness as a whole should come from a place of healing, appreciation, acceptance, awareness, growth, respect and love. My view on fitness is one of balance. It's a state of mind of being kind to ourselves. To move our bodies how they were designed to move. To lift things that will progressively become heavier on the exterior because we have become stronger on the interior. Fitness is getting our mind and body to communicate in harmony. Fitness is listening to how we are feeling and owning that emotion and bringing it into the gym and using that as the fuel behind the workout. Fitness is supporting your fellow woman in all of her accomplishments and letting her know you are there for her when she herself is unsure. Fitness is shutting out doubt and allowing yourself to indulge every now and then and not feeling guilty behind those bites. Fitness is showing up even when you're trying to talk yourself out of working out. Fitness is staying active and glowing from all sides and wanting to spread the love onto everyone you meet. We need more of that. Empowered people empower people. This is what fitness means to me.