Going from Depression to Beastmode with Vanessa Flores

About the episode

In episode of the Mom Owned and Operated podcast, Rita Suzanne and Vanessa Flores discuss raising a family, running a business and remembering yourself.

Vanessa Flores is a beast mode personal trainer and health coach. Before starting The Strong Fit Life, Vanessa worked for 9 years as a fitness trainer in multiple gyms. Today, Vanessa helps people across the US get stronger physically and mentally with her signature Strong Fit Formula and her online membership program, Unleash the Beast. 

She is on a mission to help you achieve an unstoppable mindset and get stronger physically so that you can conquer your workout and your day! When she is not leading a sweat-fest, Vanessa Flores enjoys a glass of Malbec and trying new restaurants with her hubby and two young kiddos.

You can access a free week of Vanessa’s Beastmode classes here.

Find out more about working with Vanessa on her website.

This episode is sponsored by Member Vault

Listen to more interviews by visiting momownedandoperated.com and apply to work with Rita at ritasuzanne.com/apply/

Listen to the episode

Show Notes
Rita Suzanne 0:01
Welcome to the mom owned and operated Podcast, the podcast about moms and for moms, where we have candid conversations about running a business, raising a family, and remembering ourselves. I’m your host, Rita Suzanne, a single mom of four, digital strategist and provider of no nonsense business strategies and tactics.

Rita Suzanne 0:31
Today I have my friend Vanessa, with me. Thank you so much for joining us, Vanessa. I’m so excited to chat with you. Please tell us all about you, your family, your business and all of the things.

Vanessa Flores 0:44
Yeah, thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here. My name is Vanessa Flores with the strong fit life. I’m a beastmode digital fitness coach. And my mission is to really help women feel strong, unstoppable and get in the best shape of their life at any age. I am 43 years old and I have two little ones, a four year old and an almost two year old. And I have a husband, family and my business going on at the same time. So before getting into fitness out, I wasn’t inefficient at fitness all my life. A lot of people think fitness people have been fit since they were little. I more got into it in college. And it was kind of twofold. My parents are from Argentina. And the culture in Argentina is all about looking like a model. And they’re like one of the highest countries that have anorexia, bulimia, plastic surgery, if you go shopping, at clothing stores, they’re like two sizes smaller, to make people think that they’re bigger than they are. So I always had you know, self esteem, you know, body image issues. And I always was yo yo dieting tried every single diet in the world. And in college is when I really started taking classes on kinesiology and nutrition. And I really love that topic. I first started going as a high school teacher. So I got an undergrad in Spanish teaching secondary ed. And in my fifth year of college, that’s when I started taking kinesiology nutrition classes. I’m like, This is my passion. This is what I really love. I want to learn all about it. But I was like, I can’t start all over at this point. But I’m so really dove into it. And I went one extreme I restricted my diet so much was working out like two hours a day. And I got all the way down to a size zero. So I achieved the skinny. But then medical issues started happening and lost my menstrual cycle. Things just started happening. And it was really how restrictive I was, and I wasn’t any happier. I thought if I got skinny, I’d be happy. And so then I started introducing the foods restricting myself and I went all the way to the other extreme binge eating to the point that I was making myself threw up. I was obsessed with food, every gathering, I was around the table, and just mingling around food and not my you know, friends and family. And I was really depressed, I really got to the point of depression. And I knew something had to change my relationships with my boy husband, which is my boyfriend at the time, my family things were just starting to shift the wrong way. And I knew something had to give. So I reached out, started looking for counselling and different ways of fitness. And I really found eating more plant based, and really eating to be like in tuned with my body and changing my mindset that food is just that food and really training myself where my workouts, they’re not workouts, they’re seeing my true potential in you know, unleashing my true potential. And when I was able to let go of that diet mentality and really jump into this beast mode mentality, which is what I am all about, is really when things started shifting and happening and I just, I saw what I could achieve and I wanted to keep achieving more and I just focused on that and everything else kind of fell into place. So that’s the strong fit life. My business model is all about gaining strength, feeling unstoppable, conquering your day, and getting the best shape of my life. And I do that through a membership that I have called unleash the beast.

Rita Suzanne 5:04
Wow, that is a lot. Um, so how are you able to stay consistent because I find that that’s probably one of the biggest issues. I mean, it is for me, especially because I, I really love health and fitness. And I like you, I used to be a restrictive eater, I used to work out twice a day. So I would go in the morning and do cardio and then the evening and do weights and I got myself all the way down to a size two, but I always had like bigger hips. So even at a size two, I didn’t think that I was small enough, you know, I, but I was like, Yo, not not healthy and definitely not happy. And then I was having all these infertility issues, and I couldn’t get pregnant. And once I got pregnant, it was almost as if my body was like, Okay, you can eat everything, and I literally did i Everything I blew up once I got pregnant, and you know, and then, you know, then you get I was depressed because I was like the I’m not the same, you know, and now I have this, you know, this person, depending on me. And, you know, once you I think once we you become a parent or a mom, you start to put everybody else in front of you. And I think that consistency becomes the biggest challenge. So I’m just wondering, like, what do you have any advice because it’s easy to tell somebody, oh, just get motivated, right? Like, okay.

Vanessa Flores 6:46
And my biggest thing is, you can’t rely on motivation. One day, you’re going to feel awesome, you’re going to feel your best as another day, they’re going to feel like crap, and you’re not going to want to do anything. But keeping a consistent routine, whatever consistency means for you. And just keep working that if you’re just starting out, if you could do commit to two days a week, plug those two days in your calendar, what days what time, just like you do anything else, don’t let anything around it interfere. That’s your time. You know, I’m all about like self care, and really making that time yours. And then build from there. As that becomes a routine and it’s part of your day, can you add a third day, right, my whole magic number is four, if we can reach up to four days, a week of working out consistently, that is going to give you the most results. You don’t want to do too much. But you also can’t do too little as well. So really just plugged, you know, setting the days. And that’s why for my business model, I do live workouts, because a lot of people say they need that to you know, show up live, right? Yeah. And if they can’t make up, you know, go live, I record them all. But I have an app. And we you know, we have group accountability groups, and we hold each other accountable. So really, you know, finding a group that can hold you accountable and really setting the timeout for yourself. And like I said, life happens if something’s comes up, give yourself grace, and then just get right back on track. Don’t like throw in the towel. Or don’t think like, oh, man, I messed up. Why even keep trying? Keep trying until it becomes routine?

Rita Suzanne 8:42
Yeah, I know that some people think like it’s a make a misstep with their diet, then all of a sudden, oh, forget it, this whole day is ruined. I’m gonna just eat the whole thing. And, you know, for me, it’s like, okay, well, you don’t have to wait until Monday to start like, you could just start now, you know, and I know that a lot of people don’t have that mentality. And so do you feel like the focus should be equally on fitness in and diet? Or is there one that’s maybe more important than the other?

Vanessa Flores 9:16
So here’s the thing. For me, it’s a it’s a lifestyle, and it’s a long game, right? We got to take it step by step. If you try to do everything at once, you’re gonna you’re gonna get overwhelmed, it’s not going to be sustainable. That’s why I even said if you’re just starting out and you could commit to two days start there, in built there, right food and fitness do go hand in hand. You can, you know, work out a bad diet, right? So with the food if you can make one small little change, one, you know, small little tweak. And again, focus on that one thing. And until that becomes a habit, a new habit. And it becomes comfortable, then add something else, you know, we’re not in it for two weeks, or six weeks or 12 weeks, you know, it’s a, it’s a lifetime thing. And if we take it step by step, that’s when we can make it sustainable.

Rita Suzanne 10:15
I love that you’re focusing more on like Intuitive Eating versus having someone, like, give them a restrictive diet of you should only eat this, or you should only do this because I think that’s where a lot of people fall off too, because they are on this diet, everything is going well. And then all of a sudden, an event happens, or there’s an outing or something, or, you know, something maybe happens in their life and they get stressed, and then they break from the diet, and that can definitely take somebody off track. And then all of a sudden, you know, they feel demoralized, because they have, you know, failed in their eyes, you know, so I love that it’s about more intuitive eating, which is what I’ve been trying to do more recently, in the last couple years, because when I was restricting, it was certainly low carb, and definitely highly restrictive. And which is why when I got pregnant, it was no denying, like, you need all the things.

Vanessa Flores 11:19
Yeah, and that’s why I’m always about being consistent with a realistic ask. We have lives, we have, you know, a lifestyle that we like to carry on, right, and we just, you know, just working on balancing it out. You don’t have to get up, give up your favorite foods or drinks or, you know, anything like that. But like I said, if you just if there’s one habit that you know that really holding you back, how can you tweak it to get a little bit better, and to help you, you know, reach towards your goals. Like, for example, for me, was it this just happened recently, I was in my business, and I had, I was 37 weeks pregnant when I started my membership. And I had my baby two weeks later, while my membership is going, and then I got hit with a cease and desist, notice that I have to shut down my business. So I just had a baby, I’m nursing, my hormones are all over the place, I just received a notice that I had to shut down my business in a moment’s notice. And if I lost like a piece of me, you know, like, I was still working out consistently. But my mind wasn’t there. And I kind of I went I did go back to some bad, you know, old habits, I was mentally drained, physically drained, I just wasn’t all there. And I just tried, you know, keep working through it little b little bit by little bit. I’m finally feeling like I’m on the other end. And, you know, I let the holidays get to me, I was like, I’m not in the best shape of my life. And that’s what I want people to get that so how can I, you know, preach that if I’m not there. But you know, January, it wasn’t because it was January, it just happened. My I was like, You know what, I’m gonna make one little tweak with my food. I knew I was feeling groggy, and I knew that wasn’t helping my mental state. And I’d made one little change in January, just stuck to that one little change in February, I was like, Okay, let me sit on one more little change. And I took a before picture in January, just because I was like, It’s January, let me you know, and then I was like, let me take a picture in February. And I saw a difference. And I really didn’t change much, but just one little thing. And so that’s even myself as a trainer as a coach. Like, there were Tyler seasons in life that you have to give yourself grace, in business, in your personal life with your kids, and you just pick right back up, you don’t try to make up time you don’t try to you know, erase everything that happened and start completely fresh is just where’s that one little tweak that you can make to just help you put one foot in front of the other

Rita Suzanne 14:24
Especially that’s that’s a lot for you, you know, as a new mom and then a business owner and then all of a sudden, you know, having these complications is like oh my gosh, and then we’re all in the midst of all these changes going on and you know to just it one after the other I can see why you would fall back and you know I think that you know you recognize it and you said Okay, I’m ready to change and and move forward. And I like that you said like that you took pictures versus like getting on the phone scale because if someone takes pictures of themselves, they can definitely see the change. Whereas like, when we get on the scale, sometimes the scale might go up. And you know, for some people, that’s the, the, you know, the bad, that’s bad. So, you know, I love that, and I do the same thing I do, I don’t even look at my scale, I just rely on how my clothes fit and doing pictures and measurements,

Vanessa Flores 15:27
I don’t even own a scale, if you ask me how much you weigh, I have no idea. And that’s what I help my clients with, as well as like, I want you to fix focus on how you feel on the inside, you know, I say get in the best shape of your life. And I don’t mean physical best shape of your life, I mean, being able to keep up with your kids, climbing up steps and not getting out of breath, you know, you feeling strong, you feeling confident on the inside, like that’s being in the best shape of your life, not some physical appearance that we’ve seen, in, in our culture,

Rita Suzanne 16:07
right, because that’s definitely like you said, that’s not going to make you happy. And overall, you know, it’s more about your mindset, and how you feel about yourself and, and those around you. And, you know, like, when you start a business, you don’t realize that all those things are gonna come to the forefront.

Rita Suzanne 16:29
Hi, it’s Rita, I just want to jump in real quick and talk about courses and membership sites, and what platform I recommend outside of WordPress. So the number one platform that I like to use and recommend is member vault. If you haven’t checked them out, and you want to add a membership site, or course to your business this year, go and sign up for your own account, you can grab it, access through my link, ritasuzanne.com/membervault. And now we’re going to go right back into the episode. If you do sign up, come and let me know.

Rita Suzanne 17:07
So because you have two young kids, and you’re running your business and all of these things, how are you able to juggle all of these things? You know, because I always like to say, we’re running businesses raising families, but how are we remembering ourselves? And so what are some things that you’re doing? Just for you? Yeah, so

Vanessa Flores 17:30
like, I like I said, before I was, you know, I kept my consistent workout. But that didn’t, wasn’t the only thing that filled my cup, I still felt a little empty. So, again, this year, I’m in a better, you know, headspace. And I was like, I want to focus on gratitude. I’m like, instead of looking at everything that has happened, look at the positives. And each and every day, look at the positives, and my kids and my husband and myself in my clients and my mentors, you know, like, really focusing on gratitude. And I’ve always wanted to make time to read, but I never did. And now, when the kids are just like playing on their own, I’m like, let me grab a book, even if it’s five minutes, you know, that’s five minutes to me. So I’m really trying to add in gratitude and just adding in, even if it’s like five minutes of quiet time for myself to really just transition my brain to not always be business, business, business business, but try to be more present. Because I feel like running a business. There’s been times that I feel like, I don’t even know what happened five minutes ago, because I’m thinking on what needs to get done. You know, who needs me? And

Rita Suzanne 18:52
right, yeah, I once heard this thing and it stuck with me and I tell everyone this, but everything that happens is for your benefit, whether it’s good or bad. And the thing is, is you just really have to find the lesson and a lot of times especially if it’s something negative it’s hard to see the lesson What am I supposed to learn from this because you’re so like, hurt and distraught and upset or you know, who knows? But you know, there’s always something that you can take away from it and and use it and you know, it’s hard to remember in the moment but oftentimes I find that when I’ll sit down and journal I’ll try to you know, come up with a good you know, I don’t know reason or you know, like something positive that came out of this thing.

Vanessa Flores 19:50
And we I was talking about this a little bit before like all although this all happened. I really it helped To me, coming back and being able to pick up my business is to really focus on a business that I want. And I enjoy versus having a business run my life. So I run my business now versus my business running me, which was a big shift in mindset because I thought I’ll take anything. Yes, yes, everything. Yes, yes, yes. And now we’re like, oh,

Rita Suzanne 20:27
yeah, you’re like, I’m gonna try to do it all I can do it all. I’ve got this. Sorry, my dog, she hears Amazon delivering something. She is a maniac. Okay, so if a another mom came to you and said that she wanted to start her own business, what would be your advice to her?

Vanessa Flores 20:52
Um, my biggest piece of advice is, know what your limitations are meaning, know what you can contribute and set those boundaries from the beginning. And if we don’t set boundaries from beginning everything, kind of runts in all smears together, and it’s all a blur, and you never feel like you get anything accomplished. So really know your capacity in set those limits and those boundaries from the get go.

Rita Suzanne 21:26
Yeah, I love that. I think that that’s super important. I always tell people, one of the things that I did from almost the beginning was to not put my work email on my phone, because I was obsessed with it. And then over the years, I’ve learned to actually take off on the weekends and not work on the weekends, which again, was super hard. But it was, you know, I needed to because I was burning myself out otherwise

Vanessa Flores 21:55
absolutely. Very important

Rita Suzanne 21:57
and saying, you know, and like, everybody’s always saying, Oh, well, you should be able to help everyone. But I’ve now niche down to a point where I have to say no to certain people who are not a good fit for me, and then you know, just tell them, you know, send them in the right direction to someone else who would better suit them, because I don’t want it to be a bad experience for me or for them. So, you know, it’s that I think that goes hand in hand with what you’re saying? Because you’re only working with people who actually can benefit from working with you. Yeah,

Vanessa Flores 22:34
I, you know, I really focus on helping you know, entrepreneurs and busy professionals that, you know, possibly work from home. And that aren’t scared of a hard workout, right? We do intense, you know, vigorous, you know, workouts, that’s why we only do you know, four days a week. But like you said, if someone comes my way that isn’t a fit it I do try to refer them to someone that is a good fit, because I want them to have the best experience. And as a business owner, when in the beginning, when we say yes to everybody, and you know, the results that you can give aren’t happening, you start to doubt yourself. And as a business owner, you know what to do you know what you can promise what results you can give, and you need to believe that it’s there and that your clients can do it. So I totally believe in niching and really finding the clients that you love, and that you can give the best results to.

Rita Suzanne 23:44
I love that. So where can everyone find you online? Um,

Vanessa Flores 23:50
so I am an Instagram and Facebook, the strong Fitlife and I’m LinkedIn, Vanessa Flores.

Rita Suzanne 23:59
Thank you so much for sitting down and chatting today, Vanessa, it’s been a pleasure. Yeah, thank

Vanessa Flores 24:06
you for having me. Thank you so much for the opportunity of being here and I hope everybody got some you know, shed some light and entrepreneur world and being a mom.

Rita Suzanne 24:18
Yes, definitely. If you guys need anything reach out to Vanessa and all her links will be in the show notes. And there you haven’t, I want to encourage you to remember that being a mom who runs her own business is not easy. We all struggle but just keep moving forward. And don’t forget to make time for yourself as moms we are usually the first thing to go to the bottom of the list. If your business is overwhelming you and you need real solutions, not just some sugar coated suggestions apply to work with me at ritasuzanne.com/apply

sound amazing?

Yes, yes it does!

Sign up to get notified when a new episode comes out so you don't miss out.

White arrow Moms run business
white down arrow owned business