Health & Fitness Q&A with a Personal Trainer

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By Lily Allen-Dueñas, Hola Iowa

Meet Paola Victoria Juárez, a fitness trainer originally from Venezuela, living in Muscatine, Iowa where she has spent the last eight years honing her skills and building a global clientele. With over 362,000 followers—a number that is consistently growing—she shares expert fitness and nutrition tips.

Why do you do what you do?

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I used to exercise in Venezuela, but when I came to the U.S. I gained 15 pounds. I was exercising, but food was the problem. I needed to learn how to eat properly to get my mind and body healthy. I knew that if I could help myself, then I could help other women. 

What do you say when people say to you: “I don’t have time to work out or eat healthy?”

That’s an excuse because everybody has time. A lot of people spend so much time on their phones—on TikTok, Instagram, or Netflix. If you have time for that, then you can do exercise for 30 minutes. You can do the free workouts on my Instagram. We have the time. People say I can’t, but you can! 

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What advice would you give to women who may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by starting a fitness journey, and how can they stay motivated and committed to their goals?

Everybody is at a different point and is afraid to start. We all have to learn how to use the machines or how to exercise. With fear or without fear, just do it! 

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Can you share some of your favorite fitness tips or exercises that busy women can incorporate into their daily routines?

Short workouts and full body workouts three times per week. Trust me: you will see the results. Use small weights; 5-pound or 10-pound dumbbells are not too expensive. And follow my workouts on my Instagram— they’re free! 

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Other fitness tips are to park your car farther away from your office, use the stairs, and start the day drinking water. If you like bread, change it to Ezeikiel brand bread. If you like cheese, buy one that is low-fat. Start doing little things and then you’ll start seeing positive results and then you’ll want to make even more changes. Little things make a difference.

What are some common misconceptions or challenges you’ve observed among your Latina clients regarding fitness?

Women don’t always have the help and support they need to make healthy choices, but you have to choose. You only get to live once. 

Do you have any nutritional advice you’d like to share? 

I think there is not enough information about nutrition, especially in Spanish. But there is too much conflicting information because we hear so many ways to eat— this is good for you, that is bad for you. I don’t believe in a strict diet or that you should eliminate anything from your diet. I drink wine. I eat cookies, tortillas, and ice cream. But not always. Not every day. I am trying to be an example to eat what you want, but to make healthy choices, too. 

Nutrition matters. I have a client who never thought they’d be able to have a kid but when they changed their food, they got pregnant! Also, people say that they don’t like vegetables, but you don’t have to eat vegetables. You can drink your veggies like aloe vera and celery with pineapple. Or maybe try veggies that you haven’t tried before. 

What sets your approach to fitness content on Instagram apart from others, and why do you believe in offering workouts for free?

I think there are a lot of people on Instagram doing workouts, but if you’re doing it for the money, it’s not a good way to do it. When you help people feel great, that is what matters. Helping people is the most important. I am one of the few trainers on Instagram that do workouts for free. Everything is in Spanish but this year I plan to offer things in English, too.

Achieving wellness is not about perfection but about consistency and self-care. Incorporating these tips into your daily routine can pave the way for a healthier and happier life, personally and professionally. If you’d like to follow Paola on Instagram, you can find her at @paoolasaavedra.

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