1. Who is Claudia Soto?
Occupation: Business Owner/Pilates Trainer
Education: Texas State University
Major: General Studies
Motto: “Connect to everything, attach to nothing.”
Unknown facts: “I am the youngest of 15 kids. Also, I am a first-generation Mexican American. I am the only member of my family born in America, in Houston. My parents had a business in Mexico, sold it and came to America. I’ve had to watch the difficult time my older siblings have had trying to navigate the immigration process. I truly believe my purpose centers around bridging some sort of gap, whether it be immigration, fitness or people.”
Fitness start: “I have always been active. I played sports in high school, middle school and in college. In 2016, I got really active when I was offered a corporate job. I began hanging out with trainers and learned more about fitness and myself. Looking at my Instagram page, people would ask, ‘What do you do to stay fit?’ That’s when I began to think that I could be helpful to others.
“Also, I had a health issue and lost a lot of muscle. Fitness helped me to get back to me. I worked out at a Pilates studio and took time to focus on myself. The Pilates instructor took me under their wing, and I fell in love with Pilates. Pilates its more of a niche form of physical fitness. People who do Pilates understand fitness overall but want to go deeper into it. They want to explore something outside of the norms. It was new back then, but now people are into it.”
Motivated by: “My parents motivate me and my siblings to find purpose within ourselves and to continue our story. We are all creating our story through our family. These stories will be told for generations to come. It’s our job to pick up the seeds our parents have planted and to be the best versions of ourselves they can imagine.”
Fitness goal: “My top fitness goal is to be happy with my body. I’ve fluctuated from being skinny and anorexic to feeling like my jeans were too tight. I look at what’s going on around me that’s causing my weight to fluctuate. I look at my habits. My fitness is a reflection of my life.”
Fitness advice: “Challenge yourself. Any workout is a great workout. The best workout is one when you feel like you’ve pushed yourself and pushed through the pain barrier.
“Just try something…anything. We are the middle of a pandemic where everything is different, we have a roller coaster of emotions, and weight can fluctuate. Find something you can do in the comfort of your home. If you need someone to motivate you, ask a friend to try some things with you. You’ll be surprised by how fun it is. I have many friendships that have started that way.”
Claudia’s top 3 fitness tips:
1. Learn your body. Everyone is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Learn your body type and what’s good for you.
2. Try different things. Try it and see what works for you.
3. Everything that taste good is not good for you.
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2. Nutrition: I like to do intermittent fasting.
“Intermittent fasting is more a lifestyle and not a diet. I fast for 16 hours and eat for eight hours.
“In the morning, I’ll have a cup of warm lemon water to take care of the hunger pangs. Once you break through the barrier, it’s more of a lifestyle and gets easier.
“I love breakfast foods, so for my midday meal, I’ll have avocado toast. Sometimes, I’ll have an egg white omelet with veggies. I also really like boiled eggs with fruit.
“Protein is my secret to being fit. I eat very lean proteins. Sometimes, I’ll have a protein shake, and oatmeal with bananas.
“I do love my carbs though, I’m Mexican! Basically, I try to make the right choices throughout the day. For dinner, I like rice, beans, and turkey. When my family gets together, I take Beyond Meat (plant-based product) to my mom’s house and have her cook it. I love Mexican food, so this way, I get the taste without the carbs.
“My sister got me into fruit as a little girl. So, that’s what I snack on. Go to farmers market for your fruits and veggies, it’s so much better. Eating fruit is like eating candy. I also eat almonds, nut bars, or other good fats that keep me full, so I don’t pig out on chips.”
3. Physical: I love to do everything!
“I love to do everything related to fitness. I didn’t realize I was a runner. With everything closed this year due to quarantine, I had been running until I hurt myself in May. Before the injury, I did anything that got my heartrate up … running, Pilates, kickboxing, yoga, and hiking. I also do band workouts and other resistance training.
“The biggest mistake I see others doing related to fitness is not knowing how to do it correctly. I feel some people are pushing hard, but don’t see the results they want because they aren’t doing it correctly. Sometimes, it’s a matter of tweaking something simple. They could learn the moves through trainers or YouTube videos, so they don’t cause injuries. Also, they need to be aware of when their body has plateaued and starts not to respond to a certain exercise. That’s when it’s time to switch up.”
4. Mental: I create alone time to center.
“I’m the youngest of 15 kids, and have more than 30 nieces and nephews, so I create a lot of alone time to recenter myself. During that time, I can organize the next few days. After secluding myself for a couple of days, I can get back to being present with others and not worried about other things I need to be doing. It’s really important to stay in the moment, and not be worried about what needs to be done.
“Also, I surround myself with others on the same wavelength. So many people are caught up in the matrix of social media, but I try to be content with where I am currently. I am very ambitious and have big goals, and realize the world is limitless, but I also enjoy the moment.”
5. Spiritual: I’m spiritual versus religious.
“I grew up with a very Catholic mother. We’re a Mexican, Catholic family. Once I explored my own spirituality, I didn’t connect with the beliefs and traditions. Emotionally, I connect with the traditions and some things I do out of habit. I see myself moving into a Christian-based focus on being. I sometimes attend church with friends to be on the same wavelength of honoring a higher power. I see myself as more spiritual versus religious. Religion is just an organized way of dealing with it. Spirituality is much greater than it all. It’s about honoring something bigger than us, so we don’t get attached to earthly things and problems.”