“Real Success is Humbling” Ft. Ary Nuñez (@arysamerica)
In a world that puts so much emphasis on appearance, it is easy to want to look like we are constantly prospering. Imitating the superficial appearance of success comes easier than creating it for ourselves. I find it interesting that when I come across someone who is actually wildly accomplished, they can be extremely humble and keep to themselves because they don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
Ary Nuñez is someone who has been able to achieve greatness motivated by “faith, trust, and good deeds” rather than money, fame, or power. A Nike sponsored athlete, a personal trainer for Rihanna, and the founder of Gotham Global Fitness, this strong woman has made waves in the health and wellness industry and never forgot what was important along the way.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ary (via Zoom) and talking to her about her journey. She started in fitness because she “simply loved to feel and express movement.” She has been doing dance and martial arts since she was just 5 years old and when she entered the fitness industry she found “it was missing something real, something authentic, something cultured, it was missing true innovation.”
Ary combined her passion of philanthropy, psychology, mental health, and the human form to build a career full of opportunity, creation, and fulfillment. She says, “I am turned on by real innovation and the genuine care of others. One of her favorite experiences was working with The National Football League’s NFLPlay60 initiative which brought wellness and education to children in Urban centric environments.
Her mantra is ““I Say I Do I Am” ~ I live to accomplish anything my mind and heart desires for myself and not #forthegram.” I love this idea of success; following your passions, creating and achieving goals, and doing it for you and the people that you love, and not for the clout. Ary’s advice for anyone struggling to find motivation is this:
“You Are So Worth It and I Cannot Wait to See You Thrive! Now Get to It! There Is Beauty and Value in Your Contribution to Life.”
I couldn’t agree more, let’s get moving (with masks on please).
See Full Interview Below:
Ary Nuñez Interview
1. First of all, how have you been doing during the pandemic? What are some things you've enjoyed about this time and what are some things that have been hard?
Thank you for asking. I have been really good. I was in Charlotte NC on business at the onset of COVID-19 and decided not to return home and ride out the storm in a less populated and warmer environment. I was in Charlotte for four months.
I am a high risk person as I am immunocompromised and decided that self-quarantining was a blessing in disguise. I have enjoyed writing, cooking, checking off short and long term passion projects guided by faith and quietude.
Some of the challenges however, have been staying away from the people I love. I missed my family dearly - my mom, who is my BFF, is in the Dominican Republic and both of us are unable to travel. We had plans for the summer and that all changed. I also really, really missed my now seven year old niece. #NinjaAlexaNuñez is the light that keeps on lighting the way. Thankfully, I was able to drive back home and be present for her birthday celebration in her backyard.
The other challenge was creating a new #creatureofhabit “habit” in my own physical wellness practice. I lagged in that department and I am currently super on track.
2. When did you start to grow a love for fitness and realize you
wanted to be a personal trainer?
My love of personal care and human evolution was never riddled with this current concept of “fitness”. I was a professional dancer and martial artist that started at the age of five. The “Fitness Industry” was never a thought. I simply loved to feel and express movement. Movement is Art, Physical Art. The Art of The Human FormTM will always be my driving force.
My Personal Training career started as an additional interest to my already full palate exploring the Human Form. I was working in Corporate America for a British Company called Trafalgar House with Cunard, the Cruise line. If you know the history of the Titanic, you may know Cunard. I worked in Marketing, Branding and Public Relations as the assistant to the Vice President. My boss, who is still my friend today, Andrea Spiegel was and still is a HUGE female role model that inspired me to show up and do my best every day because she did. Andrea became my friend and my client. She allowed me to train her and learn in the process. It was hands on from day one. Andrea and I had a trifecta relationship (boss, client & friend) of mutual admiration and respect.
And so I worked a full time conservative Corporate job on Fifth Avenue, trained Andrea and trained myself in everything. I went from the MoGwon (Kung Fu School) to the DOJO, to Capoeira, to the Gym (Equinox), to most NYC Dance Studios and to gymnastics for fun and fantasy.
As a dancer, I was privy to performing on stages from the Lower East Side to Lincoln Center and from The Bowery to Broadway. I was also über active in Social Work, Mental Health Therapy and Female Centric Causes stemming from my education in Literature, Psychology and Philosophy.
It was a very vibrant and exploratory time in my life and I loved it.
It’s now around 1996 and as I peruse the life and culture in the gym world, I realize that it was missing something real, something authentic, something cultured, it was missing true innovation. And so I created Gotham Box, my first Martial Arts based class fused with various methods of training the Human Form. I trademarked Gotham Box and launched my company Gotham Global Fitness, LLC. Gotham Box received every industry and media accolade and was eventually voted “Best of New York” by New York Magazine 2000.
Simultaneously in 1997, Cunard was relocating to Miami and I had a choice to make - either relocate to Miami or receive a severance package and stay in New York. That was easy! I am a “Real New Yorker”, born, bred, studied, lived and much more.
It was at this moment that everything changed. I had a clear “opportunity meets hard work” moment and I chose the wonderful world of Health and Wellness.
At this time I am certified as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Life Coach with countless CECs in every trending training method, aside from Yoga. In fact, I am one of the original Johnny G Certified Spinning Instructors. Johnny G invented Spinning. That is the beginning and I have never stopped. I helped to launch countless gyms, startups and boutiques from Equinox to my own private practice today. I have over twenty-five years’ experience in the Health and Wellness Industry. I have worked with many brands from Nike (2000 Sponsored Athlete) to Nintendo and Media Outlets from ABC to MTV in both English and Spanish.
3. What about your methods separate you from other trainers out there? Is there one method you use with everyone or do you adapt your style to each individual client?
The Modern Day Ninja Method (MDNM) encompasses all I know and what I am still learning. It is an intricate curation of Eastern and Western Philosophies of Movement and Adaptation.
The MDNM always remains intact and my client is the variable that sparks the evolution. Every client is different albeit what may seem similar at the surface.
As humans, we have certain general characteristics and as individuals those characteristics change. I love that!
4. What is the most rewarding part of your job and how do you hope
your clients feel while and after they work with you?
The most rewarding part of working with my clients is watching them evolve and become better versions of themselves. I am motivated by my client’s physical, mental and sometimes spiritual evolution. I WANT my clients to feel that sense of accomplishment and pride after our work together. And I repeat “Our Work Together” because, let it be known, I too am learning from my clients so that I may better serve them.
5. What passions do you have outside personal training, and how do
you explore those passions on your own time?
My passions outside of personal training include writing, filming, storytelling, travel, human rights advocacy, cooking, reading, travel and simply learning in any way. I explore my passions everyday by carving out time for all of it. Sometimes there are crossovers, such as writing about food, traveling and learning about a culture or simply watching a great film that inspires a “new” perspective about life at large.
6. Obviously training celebrities is a pretty competitive and demanding job, have you encountered a lot of toxicity in your journey? How has being a Latin American woman affected your progress, in this rather male, specifically white-male, dominated world?
The Fitness Industry today bores me as it is money and attention driven. I am turned on by real innovation and the genuine care of others. If you are doing the right thing, success just happens.
The Celebrity clients I train choose me in as much as I choose them, which makes it “ours”. There is no competition in “ours” as our goal is to achieve my client’s goal. That’s a huge high! I do not look at what other professionals are doing because that is “their business” and would deter me from “my own business”. I prefer to mind my own business and focus on real success - the actual work. And BTW and PS - All My Clients Rock!
As a Latin American woman, I have experienced racism, discrimination and theft. This is a recent “evil thing”. It happened at Peloton, the live-stream cycling company. It is a detailed reality that I would LOVE to share and I’ll share as much as you would like to publish. I can tell you that the Peloton people see now is NOT what happens behind closed doors. I have receipts and it is NOT just me. If there were a #MeToo Hashtag for how Peloton has hurt and stolen from people I would use it every day. The world needs to know what happens behind closed doors.
7. Can you share any of your favorite experiences as a personal trainer? Can you share any moments that really changed you or are particularly valuable or memorable?
There are so many great experiences! One of my favorite experiences as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor was being honored as a Sponsored Athlete by Nike, traveling all over Asia and teaching my Asian community my method of Martial Arts. This Latina from Williamsburg Brooklyn made an impact in their lives and they in mine. Another incredible experience was working with The National Football League’s NFLPlay60 initiative designed to bring the wonderful world of health, wellness and education to kids in Urban centric environments. I love working with kids.
Working with Artists and Athletes from all walks of life add a unique fuel to my fire because they are actively “on fire”. Artists and Athletes are always creating and evolving and that challenges me to challenge them. It’s a fine and magical space that always leave me feeling accomplished.
8. Who are some people who inspire you and keep you motivated?
I am inspired and motivated by faith, truth and good deeds. My parents are my first introduction to ‘real inspiration”. My parents dedicated their lives to us, their children and their investment is my success. And finally, I must say that bearing witness to my niece #NinjaAlexaNuñez’s life is awe inspiring and forever a source of hope and possibility.
9. Is there a specific mantra or motto that you try to follow or live by?
My mantra is inked in my skin “I Say I Do I Am” ~ I live to accomplish anything my mind and heart desires for myself and not #forthegram.
10. Lastly, do you have any advice that you can give people at home who may be struggling to find motivation and getting down on themselves?
For anyone who is struggling with the Art of Motivation, here is a tip - “You Are So Worth It and I Cannot Wait to See You Thrive! Now Get to It! There Is Beauty and Value in Your Contribution to Life”