Name: Avamaria Rivas
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Where do you live? –
What does it mean to have a voice?
Having a voice means being YOU unapologetically and expressing yourself honestly and authentically. Your voice is your power and nobody can take that away.
How did you find your voice?
I found my voice by going to therapy and through my fitness journey. I started digging deep and understanding my behaviors. When you gain more confidence in yourself, you’re able to share and connect with others honestly.
What event or series of events led to you finding your voice?
The most powerful lesson I’ve carried from my childhood is you become who you surround yourself with. As a kid, I used to get in trouble in school by association. I never did anything bad, but because I was hanging with them, I got into trouble. As you get older, you realize you don’t want to hang around people whose interests don’t align with yours, and you need to ensure you’re surrounding yourself with people who motivate and inspire you in every way. That’s how you grow! When asked how to find those people, I always say it’s synchronicity! I’m really grateful that the people I’m surrounded by are very self motivated and we really just want the best for each other. We encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves. I honestly believe you attract what you put out.
You also have to be your own biggest cheerleader because if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. I’m practicing to become more confident in my ideas and to work towards my goals instead of just keeping them in my head. It’s a more rewarding way to live!
Tell me about when you finally found your voice.
I started expressing my voice at 17 years old when my father passed away. Losing my father brought me to the lowest point in my life, but has shaped me into the person I am today.
When he passed, I lost myself. I lost faith and became unmotivated. I detached myself from friends, the world, and went into a depression. I didn’t understand what was going on in my head so I decided I needed to talk to a therapist. Going to therapy and finding my voice, a healthy voice, by digging deep and understanding my behaviors was the most rewarding and uplifting moment. It made me aware and made me feel like I was not alone. Everyone is going through something, it’s the way you deal with it and move forward that’s most important– which is my motto “I shall either find a way or make one.” No one else is going to do the work for you, you have to want it for yourself and find a way.
My fitness journey was also part of finding my voice. I’ve always been super determined, but I had a lot of fear about what other people thought about me. That all changed during my fitness journey because I was sharing a very vulnerable side of me. I wasn’t confident, but here I was sharing the workout I did being super self conscious about not fitting in my leggings a certain way. I’ve gained so much confidence and use my voice now to empower others to say WHO CARES what other people are thinking; as long as you love and care about yourself, no one else’s opinions matter!
How valuable is walking in other people’s shoes, or empathy?
Empathy is super important! You will be surprised by how much we are all alike and go through very similar emotions. The more we share and understand one another, the more we’re able to grow. It also helps us to see different perspectives on things because everyone’s experiences are unique.
How has your voice influenced others?
A year ago, I decided to share my fitness journey on Instagram. I really did it to hold myself accountable and to see my progress over time. Through sharing my experiences and connecting with others, they shared that I’ve inspired and motivated them to start their own journey. It makes me feel so good inside to know that my journey has impacted someone else to start their own journey. Now all I want to do is help others become the best versions of themselves.
Where will your voice lead next?
I’d like to start doing more things that challenge me and make me feel good. I would also like to start creating more events for people to come together to crush goals together. I’m very excited about completing my first half marathon. It was the MOST challenging thing I’ve ever accomplished because it challenged my mind to the max. My airpods died and for the last 5 miles it was really just me and my thoughts. I had to fight all the self doubt and fear out of my mind and push through, but I’m so proud that I did it! This past November I started working as a Spin Instructor at two amazing facilities: Spiked Spin & HIT Factory BK. It has brought SO MUCH JOY in my life. Every day I am able to motivate, inspire, and empower people to work towards their goals. I love that I am a part of people’s lives, encouraging them to be the best versions of themselves inside & outside the gym!
I’m just blossoming into a confident, goal-oriented woman and I’m just going to be doing more things that serve my happiness and passion while bringing others along.
Avamaria Rivas is a full time Human Resources Manager for a non-profit organization and a part time fitness Instructor. After going through her own fitness journey, she realized she had a true passion to inspire and empower others to be the best version of themselves through movement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she took her passion to another level & started hosting virtual full body workout classes.