We had the good fortune of connecting with Fernanda Rocha and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fernanda, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
In the beginning, I spent many years putting all my focus and energy into the process of building up my gym. I had to make some sacrifices and didn’t have much time to enjoy other areas of my life. As I grew in my career and as a person, I felt the need to create a more balanced lifestyle and learned to enjoy the process instead of focusing only on the results. Finding this balance has been helping me learn more about myself and focus on what really matters in my life.
I learned to manage my time and energy towards my business, personal growth, love and fun. I even made a tattoo on my foot to remind me of the importance of fully nurturing each of these areas.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started my career as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and fitness model, but I have always had the vision to eventually open my own gym. I wanted to be able to make my own decisions in the creative process of building a studio gym. My vision was to create a business model to leverage exceptional professional fitness services and more personable member experience. It was also important to me to build a creative, non-judgmental environment where people feel free and safe to work on themselves both physically and spiritually. I’ve always wanted my establishment to be a true reflection of me, weaving my kindness & positivity into my passion for health and wellness. I also love to connect people in a joyful way. No one wants to feel like working out is a chore and I believe we do a great job of connecting people and our classes are judgment free and a lot of fun.
I am a risk-taker in all areas of my life. I like to follow my heart and I pay close attention to what it is telling me throughout the process. In my early twenties, my heart was urging me to expand my career. That’s when I decided to move from Brazil to the U.S. I left my family, friends, a great job because my inner voice was telling me it was time to leave my comfort zone to experience my passion for fitness in California. When I arrived in LA, I didn’t know anyone in the fitness industry to help me. I didn’t speak English, but I had a strong desire to learn about the fitness industry in California. I started to network around the best gyms in LA and met incredible professionals in the field. I trained my mind to visualize my ultimate goal to open my own gym every time I had self-doubts, fear, and felt lost. That vision put me back on track every single time. I learned to trust the process while following my heart and passion.
The single most important decision I made was to move from Brazil to the U.S. It allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I am a true believer I am a product of my decisions, mindset and surroundings. My decision to move to the U.S., my mindset to succeed, and being surrounded by amazing like-minded people who believed in me had the greatest impact on my life.
Daily focus on the goal, discipline, determination, energy, passion, and true love for what I do are the essential factors to the success of my business.
The most difficult decision I ever had to make in my life was coming out to my family after being in America for 10 years. I didn’t share much about my personal life with my family in Brazil. It took me a while to realize that I could only live my life to the fullest by being my authentic self and by sharing my truth with those I love.
Coming out was a difficult process in the beginning, but today I am in touch with who I truly am. I feel free and much more creative. I have released all the fears and doubts about myself. As a result, now I feel complete, supported, and loved.
I like all quotes related to manifestation, higher self and higher power. I believe we can create the life we want when we learn how to engineer and train our mind, body and soul.
I’ve always been very active. As a kid, I loved to play sports and dance because these activities made me feel alive and happy. I pursued a creative career so I could be around that type of energy. After I got my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology in Brazil, I started my career as a PE teacher, fitness instructor, and personal trainer. All these paths led me to become an entrepreneur.
I want people to remember that Fernanda Rocha is in love with life, I always try to follow my heart, I’ve faced my fears, and I am a woman of faith.
My gym, Art of Fitness, is located in the beautiful town of Laguna Beach, CA. It has been 20 years of hard work and support from our local community. We are constantly creating new concepts and paying attention to the needs of our Laguna clients. It takes time, dedication, and focus to understand your market. It’s very important to stay creative and positive even when things are not working out the way you expected. We are known for creating a very personable space for our clients. I’m told my gym feels more like a family gathering than a gym and I’m very proud of the reputation and energy we have been able to create in our town of Laguna Beach.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely start by hanging out and getting a good workout at Art of Fitness. Then I would take them for a walk around Montage Hotel and Victoria Beach. I would take them to my favorite places: Larsen’s at Hotel Laguna, The Deck, Sapphire’s and A’s restaurant; a new favorite that just opened in Crystal Cove, which is a few doors down from my favorite clothing boutique called Piajeh for some retail therapy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A big shoutout to my family. My mom, dad, and brother are my support group. Their unconditional love has given me the strength I need to keep moving forward.
Linkedin: Fernanda Rocha
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photo credit Mary Hurlbut @lagunabeachphotographer