We had the good fortune of connecting with Mychal Prieto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mychal, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
The balance between work & life is an interesting one to say the least. My work consists of teaching, coaching, listening, observing, and learning, while being empathetic and sympathetic to myself and those around me. So in essence my work is my life, but in order to keep it in balance I must allow myself the time and space that I need to recharge, regenerate, and fill my cup back up to the brim so that I have plenty to give to others and those who I teach and coach. Figuring out what refuels my soul was simple, nature. Being submerged in mountains, trees, wildlife, and a clean body of water. Figuring out what drains it was simple as well, overworking, and it came with some valuable lessons along the way which I am very grateful for. When I first started out as a personal trainer I had no idea about the work culture that I was stepping into at Equinox. Very quickly I learned that in order to be ‘successful’ you had to put in a lot of extra hours to grow your business and grow it quickly, because if you didn’t grow it quickly you weren’t going to last. Hustle was the name of the game, but hustling wasn’t why I got into training. Luckily for me I’ve always been able to adapt to my surroundings and being in an environment where it was sink or swim I had only one option, I was gonna swim like I was Michael Phelps, but more like ‘Mychal’ Phelps. This is where I learned my lessons of overworking myself. Throughout the next 2-3 years my business blossomed organically and I was consistently one of the top five producing trainers every month, most professional trainer of the year back to back years, and was doing multiple photo & videos ads for the company. All sounds and looks great from the outside, but on the inside I felt like I had been running on 6th gear in the fast lane going cross country on fumes. I was exhausted, and the environment that I was in only cared about more production. More production means more money and more opportunities, but is it actually worth it? This was the question that came into my mind while taking a week and a half long break for Christmas & New Years in Costa Rica I finally felt like I had the time and space to let the nervous system relax and boy did it feel GOOD. My work & life balance was off and something in my soul knew it and was vocal about it, I got the message and knew that something needed to change when I got back to Los Angeles and it did. Starting with a seed that was planted in my mind about teaching yoga, and later that year that’s exactly what I did. I received my first wake up call in regards to balancing my work and life schedule and I listened to it and won’t ever forget it. I realized I needed to take more time to let myself recharge and the more clear it became for myself the more clearly I could see it in others. Most of us need a healthier balance and to be honest it’s pretty damn hard and takes effort to lessen the output of effort in our work and put more effort into life and play. That sounds funny, but it’s quite true. Play more, explore more, laugh more, cry more, do more things that light you up and most importantly surround yourself with people that do the same. A question of inquiry to ask yourself that I came across, do you live to work? Or do you work to live?
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art comes in the form of the human body, and in my opinion the most beautiful because we only have one and it’s unique. What sets me apart from others I believe is my background from growing up as a minority throughout K-8, to my athletic career in high school and college, and the experiences with movement/training that I’ve had along the way. I’m most excited about where the future of teaching and coaching is headed in the next 5-10 years and hope that development will evolve. I got to where I am today by taking risks! Jumping when it felt scary and unpredictable but all the while listening to and trusting my heart, gut, and soul, and not letting a sense of security hold me back, and no it hasn’t always been easy but it has sure been a joy with beautiful lessons along the way. Trust yourself, have honest conversations with your soul and it will tell you the answers and guide you in the appropriate directions. Take risks, don’t let the herd influence you, and more often than not mistakes/failures are the best teachings, learn from them and grow. I’m here to help, assist, and guide. One can only receive what he/she gives, and that is very true always but specifically when it comes to effort, consistency, and change. You must want it yourself. I won’t bullshit and promise I can change someone’s life, but I can promise to help, assist, and guide with my best effort, enthusiasm, and capabilities. When the will and determination is there and the guide is present and egoless, that is a successful and healthy recipe for growth and everlasting change. Love, Mychal
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the area and getting in on Monday morning the first thing that I would do is take him/her to Erewhon and grab a build your own breakfast burrito and whatever coffee or tonic he/she wanted! From there we would go on a hike to Los Leones in the Palisades and hopefully get a great view of the ocean and downtown. Finish the day off by grabbing some Booch Craft and cooking a nice homemade meal from food I got at the Sunday farmers market in Mar Vista. Tuesday morning we would start off by grabbing coffee at Bulletproof Café then taking a day trip to Joshua tree and spending the day hiking and climbing all afternoon. We finish off the day driving back to LA and dining at Café gratitude in Venice. Wednesday would start off with my homemade superfood coffee then going to the farmers market at the promenade and picking up a bunch of goodies for a picnic and hike at Malibu Creek State Park, followed by an afternoon beach hang in Malibu. Dinner by Satdha for some fresh vegan Thai food. Thursday morning beach training with some kettlebells + yoga followed by a swim and breakfast burritos from The Great White in Venice. Spending the afternoon at Pause for a nice relaxing float, infrared sauna, and cold plunge therapy which would lead into picking up pizza from Gjelina Take Away and relaxing at home watching a good movie. Friday funday, starting off with some movement and breathing at my private gym then breakfast burritos from Cerveteca. From there, packing up the car and hitting the Sierras and camping for the weekend That’s a vibe.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My fiancé Erin Rose Ward! My teacher’s Charlie Samos, Travis Eliot, & Lauren Eckstrom!
Facebook: Mychal V. Prieto