Move forward. That simple. Move forward in a way that honors where you are going next. Doing this from a a place of clarity and learning is true wisdom and resiliency!
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela Gentile.
Angela Gentile, founder of the Sweat Remix wellness brand, motivates you to start and sustain physical exercise, guides you towards greater self awareness, and provides keeping it real life coaching. If you’ve been stuck and feel ready to move and grow, this trailblazing 40 year old creates opportunities for folks to live strong, authentic and EPIC lives. Follow her and join her community at https://www.sweatremix.com
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Thank you so much for giving me the space and opportunity to share my story. I appreciate it. I grew up pretty humble and middle class in a small Massachusetts city; then, after my parents divorced and my mom remarried, we moved to a small tobacco farming town in Connecticut during my adolescence. And as a result, I think my childhood was vibrant with a variety of experiences. Truly, it was a combination of regular run of the mill experiences of bike rides, beach vacations, a Disney trip mixed in with addiction and familial trauma. I have been facing adversity and navigating my out of it from as far back as I could remember!
I never thought of owning my own business, yet I knew that I was destined to do something powerful to move, shift and uplift the people. I was always pretty outspoken and used my voice to advocate for others staring in high school.
Being able to have such an opportunity for resiliency throughout my childhood, I also have a bunch of fun accolades and accomplishments to boot! I have a BS in English from Fairfield University and a MS in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University. I have licensure for secondary school English, English program director and Principal in Massachusetts. I am a certified Life Coach and Life Purpose Coach from the Transformation Academy. I am a certified AFAA group fitness instructor, Core Power Yoga Sculpt Certified Instructor and have completed hundreds of hours in professional learning and continuing education. And, yes, I do use every single piece of my formal education in my entrepreneurial endeavors.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Absolutely! I met myself. Probably not the most glamorous answer, but it’s the truth! I say it all the time and it is the honest truth. I mean, there have been some pretty interesting events, people and experiences, but all of those are the byproduct of self-exploration. Learning how to love yourself is the JAM! Traveling through grief and pain and my own inner suffering has helped me to better understand how I show up in life and in business. It helped me to create my Business, Sweat Remix. It was born out of my own struggle with mental health, grief, loss and a way to understand myself through my own spiritual journey.
When you look back on former version of yourself and you recognize how much you didn’t know through the lens of how much you know now is really a valuable opportunity for gratitude. It is powerful to be here, on the other side of some serious struggles of changes, loss, grief and death to be so comfortable in my own skin. I am much better equipped to handle all kinds of adversity that shows up.
I ran into a former colleague from my teaching years and she said: You look so young! And you look happy!
And to me, that was it. That’s when you know you are on a path: when you are radiating. So much better than botox!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We stand out because we have SOUL. Sweat Remix is elevated, transformational and mindful fitness.
Our brand and classes are NOT about losing weight, posing selfies in matching legging sets, barely sweating or being sexy in a very mainstream way. We are about moving in a way that is safe and effective for all levels with conscious programming that elevates the mind, body and sprit, not just the booty, ya know? We don’t use fitness to check out, but rather a way to check in and connect deeper with the self.
Sweat Remix is a fitness class to fully experience all that is to be human: the mind, the body and the soul, the whole spectrum of emotions using the #ZenRageHeal process.
We remix mediation and movement to create a vision of our best, most epic self and use movement to connect our bodies, mind and spirit to where we are going.
When I was a teacher back in 2015, a decade into my public school career, I was so misaligned, miserable and not living up to my full potential. Take about disconnected! I just felt so stuck trying to be less, shrink down and make myself more digestible and available without reciprocity or care. I was constantly catering to everyone’s needs and in a classroom with 30 kids, 5 times a day, their parents and the administration, I was being pulled apart. Legit, my boundaries were no where to be found. I was giving and depleting on all fronts, left as an angry shell of a human trying to fight to keep her bright spirit alive in a profession meant to control and stabilize.
Then, when my dad died suddenly in December of that year, I was like what am I doing? I had no more space to give to anyone. I couldn’t fight against them and feel at the same time. I started asking myself deeper questions about what I wanted: Why am I doing this? Why am I wasting one more second of my life not loving it, enjoying it and being great??
I recognized I needed a place to land and sort out all that I was feeling and experiencing. I was making sense of changes, loss and a new life without someone so important to me. I was transforming and what was available to me was not enough. And, the support I needed wasn’t available. I wanted to hit things, yell, cry, be peaceful and not get out of bed all in the same moment. I wanted to find peace in my workouts AND also rage like a beast. I wanted to be around people who understood me, where I was and all the chaos I was feeling while holding space for me to be in my feelings.
I wanted to move through what I was experiencing and have always found my tribe through sports and fitness. But it wasn’t enough. The gym was strictly about the body, making gains bro, checking out and keeping the problems OUT of the gym. So, I ended up leaving all my workouts depleted and spent from being in place and around people where I couldn’t be my real self.
Yearning for a chance to leave the gym feeling whole and complete, ready to move forward, I knew there were more people who felt like I did, they just weren’t talking about it or just didn’t have the place to.
So, I created it!
I created Sweat Remix and the #ZenRageHeal process as a way to embrace the complexities of the human experience from the pain to the joy and the anger to the aligned. We don’t have to pick a side ya know? Why can’t we be everything? We can get healthy inside and out by moving our body and spirit. Workout or meditate, why not remix both!?
And the #ZenRageHeal process is just that: a proven remixed process to connect with the self and intentionally get results inside and out.
First we begin each class with ZEN, deep breathing and intention setting to get clarity about why we are moving. Then, we get to RAGE out the toxic stuff that isn’t ours, shifting out energy with a kick ass workout. We close down class, clam the central nervous system and HEAL with a grounding mediation.
And the best part is, not one person’s experience is the same! What connects us all together is the willingness to figure it out and GROW! It helps to know we aren’t in anything alone and we have more in common than we think!
And here we are: a dope community of humans committing to being their best most epic self. It is so rad!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My parents, for sure. Although most of what I have learned about myself and life has come though loss. So this posthumous lesson from my dad’s passing has been life changing. My mom is also my biggest support and fan.
Having a solid friend circle has been a game changer, too! My friends who have strong vision, self-awareness and an entrepreneurial vision are the rocks in my life. It can be lonely when you are creating something that hasn’t been done before. It will NOT be understood. So having people in my life who get me, who see me and see the call to action I am on is the biggest and best gift.
And, I am also grateful for every major knockdown, toxic relationship and friendship. Not like I am going to reach out to every toxic ex, but those moments really showed me about myself and allowed me to grow and build resiliency. They were definitely teachers.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is opportunity. Seriously! We have these things that are placed in front of us as challenges and opportunities for us to learn about ourself. We get a deeper understanding of who we are and where we are going. So, when we are faced with a challenge, we can run away and search for an easy way around it. That’s the easy way and doesn’t help us grow at all. What’s easy doesn’t grow us. Say that to yourself as many times as you need to.
And, the funny part about circumventing the struggles, is that they always come back around, sometimes tenfold. The bill always comes due; so you can pay it when it comes or pay interest, ya know? All we end up doing by avoiding the struggle is exhausting ourself; the short cut we take brings us right back to the thing the universe wants us to learn.
When we meet the struggle, we get to go THROUGH the experience Game of Thrones style! That’s where we grow and learn and get the lesson to put in our toolbox that makes us resilient. We have been through it, we have learned and we can take on the next challenge. That wasn’t the thing that broke us ya know? It sucks but we made it and we can keep going. We repeat each and every time. That’s what makes us resilient.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
They are definitely linked. Having courage to get up when you are face down in the arena, like Brene Brown says, is what makes someone resilient. We all face the obstacle, but what we do when we are actually face to face with it is the important part. Resiliency is connected to purpose. When you have a clear, laser focus driving you from the inside out, each fall, set back and knock down is just another hurdle, not a deal breaker. The inner calling isn’t negotiable. All you are doing is just being honest!
So meeting yourself and getting honest with who you are helps to create the courage to dare greatly and resiliency to keep getting back up.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
There isn’t one person that comes to mind. I don’t want to idolize a certain struggle over another, like it is the Olympics of Struggle. No one really wants the gold medal ya know? We all have unique lives and lessons personal to us. And we get these universal truths by learning and listening to whatever adversity is placed in front of us. I just think that someone who keeps getting knocked down and still keeps going. Sometimes we learn from the touch of a feather or the weight of bricks. We just gotta learn. That’s it!
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Um, my whole life?? No lie. I don’t think anyone outwardly told me something was impossible. But my big dreams were definitely belittled and criticized, especially in my young adult life. I wanted to take a path not traveled. There were not people around me who were able to champion ideas and desires that they couldn’t see. My dreams were beyond the scope and capabilities of some friends, family, boyfriends and even bosses. So, I was automatically gaslit and talked out of wanting more and creating something that has never existed: greatness challenges mediocrity any day!
So, my solution to that was to keep a low profile, do what I wanted and tell everyone after, if needed. I just didn’t want the noise so to speak. Always trusting my gut instincts and knowing what I was feeling was spot on. I didn’t entertain any naysayers. Sometimes, you just have to hold tight to your own vision, belief set and honor what your instinct is telling you! And call your mother AFTER you go sky diving.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
For sure. Those moments are necessary! They are the bedrock of resiliency. The loss of my father was the most earth shattering moment and divided my life into a before death and after. And let me be clear, the bounce back wasn’t like a 24 hour turn around time. This took, and is still taking, years to understand, heal, evaluate and keep growing through the pain and fear.
Being able to meet grief fully and invite it into my life, helped me to truly see each obstacles as an opportunity and a gift. The worst, most painful event in my life has transformed into the largest lesson that has shown me how to live life fully and love deeply.
Finding the gift in whatever is painful and tragic will be the single most strategy you can use to elevate yourself.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Having little failures in school, not having things go my way all the time, being disappointed and let down, even for something age appropriately trivial is part of it for sure. And, also having pain and major trauma in childhood and young adulthood were just opportunities for a bigger bandwidth about the complexities of life. Each one always just gives you new tools in the tool box for next time.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
Only five?? Just kidding!
First, slow down. That’s important. Being able to truly pause for a minute and get clarity about your life and what is happening has to be the first step. Otherwise, how can you even put things into perspective when you are constantly on the go, chasing, hurting, distracting and whatever else?
Secondly, start identifying what is most uncomfortable. Those are the places where you grow. What is happening in your body? Why are you triggered and what is this bringing up? What is this calling you to dive deeper in to?
Thirdly, decide how you connect this lesson back to your values and your vision. What is this teaching you? What do you now need to learn and understand about you, how you move and where you are going?
Fourth, Trust yourself! You know what you need and what you don’t. The more you slow down to meet the discomfort and hang out there for a bit, the strong the connection will be to yourself.
And lastly, move forward. That simple. Move forward in a way that honors where you are going next. Doing this from a a place of clarity and learning is true wisdom and resiliency!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am doing it! Sweat Remix is a way to change the way we move and maintain our health from the inside out. It is a revolution for the fitness and mental health industry. No more checking out, external body esthetic noise, arbitrary shit with fitness. Let’s be human together and MOVE in a way that works. We matter. Our human experience matters. So, join us and we can make magic to change the world!
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
Oh my god! Can you please set this up??? Hello Oprah, Brene Brown, John Kim, Iyanla Vanzant, Mel Robbins…let’s have lunch!! I just admire their perspective on growth and self-awareness. Each journey has been vastly different and yet the universal truths they share really resonate with me.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Oh for sure! You can find me on instagram @SweatRemix and visit out website www.sweatremix.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!