If you recognize this gorgeous face, you know that Ariel has been bringing her infectious energy and huge heart to Studio Tone It Up ever since the 2019 Love Your Body series. From the moment we met her, we fell in love with Ariel’s magnetic personality, her fun and accessible approach to fitness, and her always-positive vibes. We knew the TIU Team wouldn’t be complete without her! And this week we are so thrilled to have Ariel take center stage, leading you girls through her incredible Level Up HIIT workout! (Find it in week 5 of your Summer Tone Up program, or in the “HIIT” On Demand section of your Tone It Up App!) You can also sweat with her LIVE @toneitup on Friday 8 am PST — Abs With Ariel! Be sure to checkin with us, send Ari all the love, and let’s level up together as a team! <3
Meet Your Tone It Up Trainer Ariel
Tell us how you first got into fitness.
Fitness has always played a major role in my life. As a kid, I was introduced to fitness through team sports. I played tee-ball at age 6. And although the height of the bat and I were practically the same size, I was definitely that girl who showed heart and grit on the field.
How would you describe your workout & wellness philosophy?
My philosophy for wellness simply means living my happiest, healthiest life in a way that’s sustainable and balanced. It’s not about perfection. It’s about how honest I can be with myself to show up for what I need. I have an acronym that helps me keep this philosophy at the forefront of my mind: L.E.A.N. — lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition. I ask these questions to myself: What aspects of my lifestyle afford me to be happy? What type of exercises helps me feel good and target areas I want to improve? What attitude and mindset do I need to prioritize my needs? And what fuel do I need in my body (food) to help me operate at the highest level? And no matter what, I always try to keep moving. All forms of movement matter to me, no matter how small or large. Movement is the key to staying strong and motivated. I tend to want to eat better and take care of myself when I move. I love finding small moments to fit in simple exercises and I take pride in helping busy women find time to fit movement into their jammed-packed schedules. It was my greatest challenge working as a high-level corporate manager.
Was fitness always a part of your life, or was there a more recent "aha" moment?
My ‘aha’ moment came about a year or so after leaving college. It was a tough transition from being a D1 Rugby athlete at Boston College to entering the corporate world. I worked 80+ hour weeks in finance, had a gym membership that was collecting dust (eek!), and picked up unhealthy eating habits. I decided to invest time in finding ways to reincorporate exercise into my busy schedule. I committed to doing home workouts at least 10 minutes a day. They grew to 15 minutes. Then 20. My approach was to start small and add more things over time. Once I got into a rhythm with exercising, I shifted my curiosity to learning more about nutrition. 2012 became the year I rediscovered my love for movement and fitness, and once I started seeing the results, I knew I was onto something! Things got even more interesting when women at my job saw my transformation. They were shocked that I only worked out at home for short amounts of time. I was determined to share the success I found on my health journey with other women. And so Gym Hooky was born. My mission since starting in 2015 has been to help women not only look their best but feel their best. I became an advocate for healthy and active living, and got certified as a fitness instructor, trainer, and health coach. This past March, I made a leap from working in tech to focus on fitness and wellness full time. I am so excited for the journey ahead!
What can we expect from an Ariel workout?
My workouts match my personality — fun and energizing! You can expect HIIT workouts, dumbbell dates, whole lotta ‘YASSSSS!’ to keep my girls motivated and moving. You’ll definitely leave classes feeling like the unstoppable queen that you are! Side note: virtual high fives are my jam, so all high fives are welcome!
What was the inspiration behind your NEW Level Up HIIT workout in the TIU App?
‘Level Up’ by Ciara is one of my favorite songs! The energy, the message, the vibe — so inspiring. Anytime I hear this song I think of elevation and growth. This is the type of energy that I will be bringing to the Tone It Up Studio. I also love that HIIT is a challenging, yet rewarding type of exercise. Each set pushes you to do your absolute best. Oh, and you're going to LOVE the surfer burpees!
What was it like leading your first Tone It Up workout with us?
I was nervous, but mostly excited to show up for my TIU girls in this way! One year ago, Tone It Up invited me to join them for the Love Your Body Series. While I’ve been teaching classes for 5 years, this was still my first time being in front of a professional camera as an instructor (talk about being nervous!). From Day 1, the Tone It Up Team believed in me, and I feel incredibly blessed that they created a space for me to learn and grow while still being a part of the team. When they asked me to film my Level Up HIIT workout back in December, I was nervous but knew it was time to stop being shy. Leading my first workout was so much fun, especially with Kat, Karena, and the TIU team and trainers cheering me on!
How do you balance work, life, and your busy boss babe schedule?
Balance is a never ending quest! I rely heavily on the time management skills I’ve learned through the years. I am generally a very organized person, but I find that being intentional about planning every aspect of my day is the only way I can get it! I need my to-do lists. I need my calendar up-to-date. I need my Sundays for meal prep and goal planning. I have a rhythm for how I manage my time that keeps me happy and focused.
Where does your overwhelmingly positive outlook come from?
Much of my positivity is deeply rooted in my values and lived experiences. I routinely practice reciting positive affirmations. I take time to journal and reflect on what I’m grateful for. And I wholeheartedly believe that a positive mindset brings positive outcomes. If I start with believing, I know I can make strides toward achieving what I want in life!
What's the one mantra you live by?
“Forget the mistake. Remember the lesson.” Like a lot of people, I’ve never liked the feeling of ‘failing’. Especially as a Black woman, I often feel I have very little room to fail personally or professionally. So I work hard to change my perception of failure. Instead of allowing shame and perfectionism to consume me, I push to look for the lesson in every experience. I remind myself that I am not a bad person because I made a mistake or because I didn’t get something right on the first try. I extend grace to myself and grow my curiosity for the big picture.
OK, tell us 3 more things we don't know about you!
1. My mother named me after the movie ‘The Little Mermaid’ — I was born the same year the movie came out!
2. I am a proud Caribbean girl from Trinidad and Tobago.
3. I am obsessed with trying out new nail polish colors — I haven’t repeated the same color in over 2 years!
What would you tell someone new to finding TIU?
[A big virtual hug]. WELCOME!! Thank you for choosing us to be a part of your journey! We are SO lucky and happy for you to join our strong, supportive, and loving community! The joy and positivity of the TIU women are infectious, and I know you will find the inspiration and motivation you need on your personal health journey! See you in the studio! <3
Besides the TIU App, where can we find you?
Join us for the 6-week Summer Tone Up! You'll get daily at-home workouts, motivation & connection, mindful meditations, and healthy recipes!