Building a career in fitness
Growth can take many forms, in this case, building a career in fitness. For this month’s Mind Body Align blog post, I spoke with Carrie Aquino, founder of Evolve Barre, Yoga, Pilates. Carrie’s story is about transformational growth, both as a woman entrepreneur and as a person.
Carrie started teaching step aerobics at 19.
She pursued multiple fitness certifications in Group Fitness, Pilates, Yoga, Barre, and Broga. My conversation with Carrie was refreshing in that I could hear many of my own experiences and beliefs. Carrie shared, “We came to Lexington to be closer to family, and after instructing a couple times a week, classes quickly filled, driving me to offer more.” When she reached nine classes a week, Carrie committed her full-time effort to building a business and career in fitness.
Carrie saw opportunity to bring a modern studio and quality instruction to the area, and she was candid about her approach, “I was too shy to open my own business right away.” She started by renting space from other fitness facilities, including the back room garage of Peak Fitness, where she taught yoga classes. She then left Peak to teach Barre classes. “I came into the area at the right time because Barre wasn’t here yet. It was good timing, as a small business owner, to get in on something that had not bloomed here.”
Carrie opened Evolve in 2014 when Dr. Douglas Darr, a Bellville chiropractor, wanted a yoga studio in his building. Evolve was originally designed with the female population in mind. “My goal was a clean, professional and welcoming studio with quality instruction. Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Love what you do and you never have to work a day in your life?’ That’s me!
I don’t see it as work.
I love my job and what it does for others. Sometimes my clients laugh when I say, ‘it will be fun!’ To me, it is fun, I love every minute of the classes I teach, and I think that’s what helps to keep people motivated- an upbeat, fun atmosphere. That’s where I would want to work out.” After two years teaching in the area, the ground work was in place. Her vision and hard work met with success.
It wasn’t long before she outgrew the capacity of the Bellville location. A client offered to partner with her on a second location, and after a lot of contemplation and planning, Carrie transcended her initial fears. “I looked at all aspects,” she said. The addition of a partner was essential according to Carrie, and she added Alison Turnbaugh.“Alison has been a great addition in helping Evolve grow. I couldn’t have done it alone.” In October of 2015, she and Alison opened a second location.
One challenge was the addition of instructors to support the growth. She decided to hire people she knew very well. In fact, most of her instructors were clients first. “I watched them for a very long time before I asked them to be a part of the team. It’s very important to know the people that are going to be working closely with you.”
Another evolution of the business was adding yoga for men.
“I am the first officially certified Broga® Yoga instructor in this area and it has quickly become one of my favorite classes to teach. The guys have an easy going, laid back attitude that really creates an awesome vibe.”
To extend her reach, Carrie examined the possibility of offering a yearly membership. She decided to partner with local corporations, who will reimburse their employees for all or part of the annual fee. She also set out to build the market for her business. Carrie and her instructors joined a local Yoga Teachers Meetup Group. “The fitness industry can be very competitive. I would like to see how we can help one another. Even though we may offer the same thing, it’s not the same class. Let’s all work together.”
Carrie spoke candidly about some of her personal growth during the journey.
“I learned to stand up for myself. I learned how I want to treat people. And I ask myself, how do I want my team to feel? How can we all strengthen each other?”
With over 14 years of instructing, a combination of yoga, pilates, BootyBarre and PiYo LIVE, she knows what it takes to keep you motivated and stick with it! Her workouts are fun, energetic and really work every muscle you want to tone!! Not to mention, its pretty addicting!! Her specialty is BootyBarre®! This class offers a flawless format, that is executed with precise, professional and easy to follow instruction making it accessible for all fitness levels. Combining light weights, resistance bands, balls and cardio, you will burn up to 600 calories in 60 minutes!!! Mixing up every class keeps you intrigued, yet using the same key words helps you learn the moves to be able to glide right through and guarantee you are working the right muscles safely!!!
She also loves sharing her passion with other like-minded instructors and training them to offer the best and most personable fitness classes around~Giving our clients a dependable, professional, and reputable staff to keep them motivated. After spending 8 years in the Columbus area, she is very excited to offer Bellville and Mansfield a fun and modern fitness option that gets results!