About 4 years ago I walked into a pizza shop in Brooklyn to get a slice. As I stood there trying to figure out which slice of pie I would devour, I noticed a flyer on the wall for a new fitness boot camp that was being started by a young woman named Aja Davis. Instead of buying the slice, I took the flyer home and called Aja. A week later I was in her first boot camp class. It was small. There were only about 6 of us but she worked us out like no other trainer had before. Aja was so awesome. She did not judge me or my body like so many fitness “professionals” do. She came from a place of tough love, but the key word was LOVE. Now years later, Aja runs a successful fitness studio in Brooklyn and has developed a very special relationship with the plus size community. In January 2013 she is launching a “Paid to Get Weighed” fitness challenge to encourage everyone, no matter what size, to transform their bodies in a healthy way. Because of her dedication to getting everyone in shape, I will chose Aja over a pizza slice any day! Read more about her below and check out her website http://www.newbodybootcampnyc.com/ and sign up for the challenge by visiting http://paidtogetweighed.com/ .
1. In the short time I’ve known you, you’ve gone from having a small bootcamp to now owning a fab fitness studio! As a young female entrepreneur, what’s your key to success.
As a young entrepreneur, i think the key to my success has been to find mentors, people who have done it before and learn from them. I try not to pay attention to what everyone else is doing and learn from those who have accomplished what I want to accomplish. It’s easy to be a copy cat, but at the end of the day you have you find what works for you and your voice.
2. While many plus size women feel that the fitness industry is not so welcoming to them, you have managed to have an amazing system that empowers and encourages them without making them feel ashamed of their bodies. How did you develop this type of sensitivity?
All I really did was listen to people and their problems. I wanted to create a place where everyone felt welcome. Being fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to be a size 2.Getting to a size 2 doesn’t even need to be the goal. Instead, I encourage people to feel healthy and strong in their bodies, no matter the size. The truth is, not everyone is going to look like Jennifer Aniston no matter how how hard they work out or diet. The good news is, not everyone even WANTS to look like her. And I think that’s fabulous. You can be plus-sized and healthy and energetic. You can make good decisions about the food you eat and how much you exercise. You can do kind things for your health and yourself everyday. Over time your body will conform to it’s best natural state whether that be a 2 or 12. Everyone starts from somewhere and if you aren’t starting from fit place, that’s ok. In fact, that’s the point. I always think it’s funny when people tell me they need to get in shape BEFORE they join one of my programs. Of course that defeats the purpose! Come as you are. Get started the right way with the correct help and guidance to really help you succeed.
3. What is the “paid to get weighed” contest and how did you come up with the idea?
Paid to Get Weighed is a body transformation contest designed to get dramatic results through our unique high intensity interval workouts and custom meal plan with the added bonus of having a chance at being paid to lose weight and get into great shape. Participants place a $35 wager into the pot. At the end of the 28 day contest, we determine a winner based on pounds lost as a percentage, percent body fat lost, inches lost, and performance on a fitness test. The winner wins the pot. I came up with this idea after reading an article about how money is the single best motivator when it comes to getting people to do anything. I wondered how motivated people would be if they were being paid to lose weight and get into great shape. Turns out the article was right! When I first tested this program in my studio last year, I was blown away by the results my clients were getting. It was as if all of sudden everything clicked at once for so many people. The winner won $1500. I ran it a few more times and had the same great results, so I wanted to open it up to all of Brooklyn and get as many people involved as possible. This time, I’m working with local businesses to sweeten the pot and we have some amazing prizes to give away in addition to the pot. For people interested in finding out more and entering the contest, they can visit www.paidtogetweighed.com. Of course the more people we have, the bigger the pot and the more money people can win.
4. If someone can not afford a gym membership or trainer what are a few simple things they can do at home to get fit and healthy.
Well, online there is a wealth of resources and I would suggest people start there if money it tight. For instance, I have a DVD series for those looking to workout at home which can be found at http://fatlossworkoutsecrets.com/bootcamp_expressdvd/ . Or people can subscribe to my Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/newbodyadmin where I often post free workouts and healthy eating tips.
5. I know you always eat well, but do you have any guilty pleasures at all?
Yes. I do love my cheat days. My favorite guilty pleasure is a good brownie with vanilla ice cream. I will go on a hunt for a good brownie. Believe it or not, they can be hard to find!
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