Name: Laura Centeno
Name of Business: Stay Fit With Laura C.
Length of time in business: 5 Years
Number of kids and ages: 3 kids who are 21, 19 and 12 years old
Pets: ZOE - Cavapoo (dog) - 1 year old
Before starting this business, what was your career?
I started off studying Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University Ramon Llull in Barcelona where I am from originally, but my career had a turn and I ended up in Human Resources at France Telecom in Madrid.
What is your business?
I run my Fitness business wearing two hats: one as a Personal Trainer and another as a Zumba and Group Exercise Instructor. At the moment, I am offering virtual and in person sessions/classes. And I also teach corporate fitness classes and special events in our community.
Why did you start your business?
5 months after moving from Spain to Rye, I had my third baby and I wasn't in a very happy place, both physically and emotionally. I made then the decision to make some healthy changes in my life by joining the Rye Y and started to work out with an amazing trainer that inspired me and changed my vision towards Fitness. I basically became addicted! I started weight training, and practicing Pilates and Yoga, but soon after I realized that I needed to add some cardio to my fitness routine, and then popped into a Zumba class...The music and the freedom that I felt while following the routines made me leave the class feeling much happier and invigorated. I was definitely hooked to Zumba as well... Between everything, I was working out 5 to 6 days per week, and it was the happiest and healthiest I had been in 4 years. That's when I decided that Fitness was my call and that it was time to give back. I wanted to help others make some changes (just like I did), and be able to live a happier and healthier life. That's when I reinvented myself starting off by getting my Zumba license in July 2015, then my Group Exercise Instructor in 2016 and finally I took a bigger step and went for my Personal Training Certification in 2018. I started my own business by offering In-Home Personal Training sessions either at my house or at clients’ houses; and teaching private Zumba Sessions.
What do you love most about what you do now?
I love to see how fitness changes people’s lives, not only physically but also emotionally. We deal with so much in our daily lives, and we carry so much stress (especially this year with the pandemic) that having that time for yourself to work out or to attend a Zumba class makes you feel better. And believe me, you get hooked to it!
What did you have to do to start?
I started teaching at my happy place, the Rye Y, and from there I shared my CV with all the gyms in the area (Harrison, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, Larchmont, ...). I also joined Indeed, since I felt that I needed to get out of my comfort zone in order to grow professionally. During these 6 years I've met amazing people (both students and other Fitness professionals) and I have been able to establish my own Brand Style.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
In one Zumba class I teach 12 songs, each of them with different moves and rhythms, and every 3 weeks I try to bring a new routine to the class; that's a lot of moves to memorize! At the beginning it was super challenging to memorize every routine inside out, but eventually I became able to cue them flawlessly and my students can easily follow them and feel accomplished.
How did you overcome that challenge?
In Zumba, it simply came down to countless hours of practicing and subbing many classes in different fitness locations. This helped me not only to build up confidence in myself but also to develop relationships with many students that liked my style and eventually followed me wherever I was teaching.
In the Personal Training area, I was lucky to start working from day one after getting my Certification at the Rye Y as well as at Healthy Fit since they already knew me from Zumba. Then some of my students started hiring my services as a trainer, because I could create for them the perfect strength training workout to complement their cardio/Zumba routine.
What is the thing that has surprised you?
The amazing power of Social Media. I realized pretty quickly that the only way to get out there big time was creating a solid social media platform. So I started my own YouTube Channel, my FB Page and also an Instagram account (thank you Liz for your workshop, which was very helpful!)
What is your best tip for fellow entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion, study, be knowledgeable and believe in yourself!. It does take time and effort but it is very rewarding to see your business growing!
How has the virus impacted your business?
In Zumba, as soon as the gyms closed down on March 13th, I started to teach live classes on Facebook and soon after I moved them to Zoom. I am still teaching two free (donation based) weekly classes and I have a solid number of students that either prefer the virtual classes over in person ones or find them a nice and highly convenient complement for their routines in the gym. I think this dual model will prevail in the near future. In April with more people vaccinated and warmer weather I started an Outdoors evening Zumba class at the Rye Recreation Center that is pretty popular as well.
In Personal Training, I moved all my clients to Virtual sessions at the beginning of the pandemic, and right now I have gone back to live Personal Training with almost all of them. I either train them at their houses, at my "Garage Gym" or in any outdoor space (parks, etc)
I have to say that I have developed a very much deeper and special bond with my clients and students during the pandemic.
Fun facts: During my free time you can see me walking my dog around Rye and listening to my favorite fitness podcasts. During the summer time, Elin Hilderbrand is my relaxing reading and I try to play as much tennis as I can with my friends during the spring and fall. My family ski trips in the winter are the best!
Do you have advice regarding reinventing yourself? What do you think is important for other moms to know?
Find what makes you happy and something that you believe you have a special talent in and just do it! Learn, study and invest all your energy in getting better at it.
YouTube channel: Stay Fit with Laura C: http://bit.ly/2JRAZHu