This month’s Empowered Women Empower Women series features my mentor, life coach, and dear friend Maia Carney. She is a certified master trainer, a fitness studio owner, an author, a mother to three children and a wife among countless other titles.
Maia is the woman we all want to be-friend and need in our life. She believes in people and has a way of making them believe in themselves too.
Enjoy reading all about Maia Carney’s journey and how she became the amazing fitness guru she is today!
Know that scene from Moana, where she is standing at the edge of the ocean, and it calls her, and she never knows why?… Movement, Fitness, and Community is that deep calling for me.
And just like the ocean was forbidden for Moana, playing sports and being active was off-limits for me growing up. Being a Filipino female immigrant, I was taught to keep to myself and be"ladylike." My newfound American spirit though, wanted to find who I was and prove to my parents that my strength and capabilities would drive me to seek opportunities. The bigger the challenge of playing, the more I wanted to do it. I loved the challenge of being the only female wrestler in high school and a 5'0 collegiate rugby player. To me, it was more than just breaking barriers and being fit. What brought me the most joy, was being a part of all the the huddle, putting our hands in, the motivational speeches where you can hear the team breathing, and all of us serving one purpose/ promising each other to be our best!
After college, I wanted to be the best teacher and didn't listen to "my ocean" calling. That's when I learned the further you go away from your calling, the more it drains you. There I was teaching 7th graders, giving 100% to my students, and not taking care of myself. I was left depressed and anxious to the point that I would often lay in my bed, feeling a pile of bricks on my chest. At this point, I had just gotten engaged to my high school sweetheart, and yet I was far from joy.
Then I saw a post showing my childhood friends working out in their basement with the goal to workout for 90 days! P90X and Insanity, baby! Another challenge! Immediately, I was pulled in, and self-care became my priority! We called ourselves "THAT TEAM"! Sweating beside my new found team changed my life. I became committed and slowly noticed my time management and efficiency in the classroom improving as well.
The coolest thing happened in the "dungeon"… my voice in those workouts grew. I cheered my friends on, and I stepped right back into being charismatic, confident, and inspiring. My voice grew louder, and my calling led me to the Kazaze stage leading boot camp to a hundred or so people a night. Bringing joy and a sense of belonging to people through movement became my mission.
To fully accomplish my purpose, I couldn't do it from a stage. I had to build my team… the kind of team where everyone's individual light shines and people inspire one another through stories, sweat, and change everyday.
TheWorX by Maia gives people a home and a family. Just today... I hugged a client after losing her dad recently and let her know her coming back meant so much to the team. Just today… a client signed up to be part of the team knowing she didn't have a stable job but knew she needed positive change. Knowing that she worked with the elderly, I introduced her to another client who was having a job fair at a local senior living center. Just today, I recorded 25 personal video texts to my clients, just saying hello. I LOVE what I do!
For the first five years of my business, I was teaching 8th grade government by day, coaching a rugby team, and after all that I hustled to learn how to be a trainer, a business person, and a brand new mom all at the same time.
None of my family or friends owned a business. I never managed anything - which was a rough start when you have employees. I didn't major in business, management, or kinesiology! I wasn't a Physical Education Teacher…I taught history! LOL!
Let's just say I learned by fire and jumping right into the unknown. I read books, attended workshops, got a coach, and joined masterminds. I've made mistakes along the way…big and small. The difference-maker was finding clarity and the right people to mentor me!
The driving force to leave my job and security came one late night when I got home from The WorX. Baby Trystan was asleep in his crib. I picked him up to hold him for the first time that day. At that moment, I started crying because I realized the last time I saw him was 15 hours ago asleep in his crib when I kissed him goodbye to go to school. Before having Violet, my second child, I vowed I would go full-time. They were my driving force to get enough clients so I could commit to my family and Team WorX full-time!
Today, my hurdle is getting my voice out there and finding enough BUTT GLUE to share about my amazing community and getting folks online WorXing out! I would be lying to you if I didn't share that fear drives this hurtle. My fear shifts my focus on all the little fires in front of me rather than taking steps to achieve the big thing.
The game-changer for me was that I identified where that fear came from…a story from my upbringing that taught me that the best "me" was silent and hidden in its origin. Now that I know that…I can "SHHHHHHHHHHH" that story and maybe...just maybe...you will be WorXing out with Luwam and me soon as soon as I get my story out there!
1. Train people from the INSIDE OUT. Create experiences that remind your clients that what's inside of them is more important than any exercise they will ever do!
2. Always have your "And Then Some,"as my coach Todd Durkin would say. Put in the extra love to show that you care for your clients!
3. Find the right mentor that speaks to your character and not about making money… It took me six years to find my coach. I would have saved a lot of resources if I listened to my instincts rather than following the new shiny object.
4. You generate your own joy! Once you get that, you can be a high performer!
1. Do this exercise!
2. Think of a time when you felt most alive.
3. Write down that moment as best as you can remember. Be vivid in your description.
4. Close your eyes, imagine yourself back in that moment. What were you doing? Feel it! Hear it! Breathe in what it smelled and felt like several times before you open your eyes.
5. Quickly, write a list of all the different ways you can describe yourself at that moment for a whole minute!! No cheating…. just write, write, write.
6. Circle the best three adjectives that describe YOU at that moment.
7. Finish each sentence with as much description as possible for each of the three adjectives.
“I was (insert adjective) because ________.”
Now, MOVE… press play on an online workout, go to a WorX class, go for a walk… and BE the three words you described above as you MOVE.
Here's the thing, if being active and healthy is your goal, and you rely on doing it when you FEEL like it, then it won't stick because feelings come and go. If you are BEING your three words when you move, you will do it consistentlybecause it makes you feel ALIVE. That's the secret to making it a life change.
I would have started a blog and recorded my journey and my WorXouts from the beginning. LOL! So much change has happened since I started, and I only wish I recorded it all. Never too late to start? Right, Luwam?
TheWorX is a unique and powerful community! We are only in our baby stages of what kind of impact we can have in this world. I'll definitely still be teaching my Saturday class! It's my favorite day to teach. Yes, we will still be doing our number 1 thing- inspiring people to BE WHO THEY ARE & BE IT WELL in the fitness arena. I'd like to go LIVE more on social networks, so we can reach more folks LIVE in adventurous places like the Philippines. I’d love to create worXouts for the whole family, especially my mom and my aunts' age, AND continue to attract more families at The Worx.
For everything, I strive to BE WHERE MY FEET ARE.
When it's date night, I'm sexy and a flirty, knowing that I'm with my favorite person in the world, and having that fire in our relationship matters. When I'm with my family, I snuggle hard and play endlessly. My kids are ages 5, 4, and 2… they are all active little people who have their little battle cries and personalities, so I don't want to miss out on the adventure of raising them. When I am teaching, I bring my most charismatic, confident, and inspirational self to lead the WorXouts so I can deliver more than just a WorXout. When it's business time, I focus on the one thing that will make the boat go faster? Right now, I'm heavily invested in the people - My amazing trainers, my awesome staff, my clients, and other potential lives to change. After all, its people who make the business.
Honestly, this might sound crazy, but my most significant achievement is feeling joy daily. Depression and anxiety love to sneak its ugly head in my life from time to time. My life can be super stressful, so I have two options: allow the stress to consume me, or I can honor the struggle and bring joy. I choose joy.
I have made it. Now, there is always room to DO BETTER, as my coach Frank Pucher would say.
Here's what is up…I wake up every morning with the man I love beside me, my high school sweetheart. The man who swords fights swimming noodles with the kids in the backyard and who has my back for my dream to come true. We celebrate our tenth anniversary this year, and I still melt in his arms when he hugs me. Most nights as my kids wind down, I'm snuggling on our couch with Emmet lying between my legs, Trystan on the right side, and Violet on the left. I got friends I can count on at the drop of a hat. Lastly, The WorX is almost nine years old, and it's really become a life-changing home to many people. I'm so blessed and grateful for my life.
The very first time I put on a mic and taught class…I wanted everyone to know that no matter what level of fitness they were on or how much of the WorXout they accomplish…I wanted them to focus on bringing their best that day! … so DO YOU came out of my mouth. DO YOU is my way of honoring the person they are while at the same time challenging them to BRING IT!
"Grant me the strength to focus this week, to be mindful and present, to serve with excellence, to be a force of love." This prayer sits on my desk and is often prayed.
Dream BIG! If there's something you want more than anything, commit wholeheartedly, surround yourself with like-minded people, do your WorXouts and have fun doing it.
PS: Thank you for being who you are in this world. Now, make it happen!
I hope you enjoyed reading Maia's journey and testimony to the power of staying true to your dreams, following your heart, and being consistent. More importantly, I hope her story inspires you to listen out for your calling and DO YOU at any stage of life.
Lastly, if you live in the DMV area, come check out her fitness gym The Worx by Maia in Alexandria, VA. You won’t be disappointed! Make sure to follow Maia's journey on social media at The Worx by Maia.
Please be sure to stay tuned for monthly featured posts from other empowered women. Contact me if you would like to share your story and empower our readers. As always, I'd love to hear from you.