A Good Soul! Finding Inspiration Together With Yardley Padilla
I first met Yardley Padilla when our children were in school together, and I was immediately drawn to her warm, welcoming vibe. Judging from the loyal following that she and her husband Jason enjoy at their Soul Fitness gym, I’m not the only one! Yardley and Jason opened Soul Fitness in 2017 to provide members a place to build their bodies, and their confidence, by focusing on both inner and outer strength. It’s a natural fit for the 41-year-old mother of three who uses her own strength and confidence to build up other women and help them shine! I caught up with this busy lady to find out her secrets to success, and how she has built a life that fills her heart, and soul, with happiness.
How long has fitness played an important role in your life?
I have always been pretty active. I didn't play sports growing up but I was on the dance team at my high school in Miami, Florida. Fitness started playing more of an important role in my life when I met my hubby, Jason. He taught me to have a different appreciation for workouts and movement. Now, I workout because I need to stay active and I want to feel good in my body. It's a lifestyle for me, not a trend.
What is your fitness philosophy at Soul Fitness?
We want you to become "comfortable with the uncomfortable." Jason takes pride in offering challenging, creative workouts designed to teach people how to move with intention, and become stronger both physically and mentally with every movement. When people give up mentally during a tough workout, that translates to their physical performance. Our goal is to break down those mental barriers, and invite members to dig a little deeper, and get comfortable with movements they may have never thought they were capable of doing. We want our members to develop the confidence they need to build themselves up from within, and to leave our gym with a sense of gratitude for their bodies (regardless of fitness level) and the hard work they just put in. We want them to experience not only physical change but mental growth and strength as well.
Like many businesses, COVID-19 impacted Soul Fitness. How did you pivot and continue to reach your members?
COVID-19 forced many fitness professionals to bring something different to the fitness world, and for Jason and the Soul Fitness community it meant creating challenging, tough workouts without weights. It also forced Jason to step outside of his comfort zone by getting tech savvy, which granted him the opportunity to connect with different people all over the world through health and fitness. He was able to develop an amazing online community with both old and new members, which was awesome! It can be easy to become comfortable and complacent within our field, and I believe that sometimes we need to go through certain things in life in order to dig deeper and become more creative with our talents. We have had to shift our mindset and accept what has been handed to us, and turn it into something positive. Negative energy is not healthy for our lifestyle, so we had to embrace the new “norm.”
Speaking of positive energy, I personally know that you are a true supporter of other women and that you believe in lifting women up versus tearing each other down. What advice would you give a woman who is feeling intimidated about joining a gym or fitness studio?
My advice to women that are intimidated by gyms or scared to take that first step into the fitness world is to JUST DO IT!!!! Dig deep and embrace your body, love your body, and want more for your body. We have to learn to love ourselves from within, and we have to stop relying on social media for confirmation as to what our bodies should (or shouldn’t) look like. We need to learn to be realistic and understand that not every body type is the same. We need to shift the mindset from “perfection” to acceptance and self love. As women, we should work towards being a better version of ourselves from within and that will transfer over to every area of our lives. We have to continue to invest in ourselves because that actually completes us and motivates us to give more. These insecurities we develop only weaken the mind and the spirit, stunt our growth, and block our possibility to see beyond to what's truly important. We work hard to create a motivating and inspiring community at soul, and we build each other up. Remember that regardless of someone’s fitness level, or experience, we all have different struggles—and we all had a “first time,” at the gym or studio. So if a woman is intimidated by the gym setting, she needs to realize that there are other plenty of other people in that gym who have probably felt the same way during some point in their journey, but they pushed on and are still here.
As the mother of three, how do you impart that positive, healthy body image message to your children, especially your daughter?
Children tend to enjoy what they are exposed to daily, and it becomes a part of who they are. We are a pretty active family and the children understand the importance of movement, and taking care of your body---and they see my hard work first hand! The boys are athletic and enjoy sports. My youngest son loves running and actually asks me to pack his workout clothes when we go on vacation so he can run on the treadmill at the hotel gym. My daughter is a bundle of energy and loves to do burpees, push-ups and squat jumps. Her form is actually better than some adults! I always tell the kiddos that if they want to get results or see results, they have to put in the work---in every area of life from academics to athletics.
Putting in the work is something you know a lot about! How do you juggle your roles as mom, wife and business owner? I learned at a young age that being a mother should not impede me from working or achieving my goals. My parents are both Cuban immigrants, and all I saw growing up was hard work and no complaints. That was the norm in our house and I am thankful for that. For me, it's all about balance. If there's no balance then there's a problem. I make sure to keep my priorities in place. I make sure my kiddos are good, tend to my own clients efficiently, and assist where I’m needed at Soul Fitness. My family thinks I am superwoman and can do all things-- I guess that secretly motivates me too!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In Miami on the beach.