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Want to Get Fit for Summer? 3 Latina Fitness Gurus Share What Works

Memorial Day has come and gone, so it's countdown time to summer shorts and yes, bathing suits. In order to inspire and motivate those of us seeking to shape up for beach and pool season, we interviewed three Latina fitness gurus. These women have all built a business around being and staying fit, and are passionate about sharing their fitness and health tips on social media.

Robin Arzón

Arzón, 35, is based in New York city. She is an ultramarathoner, the author of the New York Times bestseller Shut Up and Run (Harper Collins, 2016), and Vice President of Fitness Programming and Head Instructor at Peloton Cycle. Arzón was a lawyer for seven years, during which she realized she was living a pretty sedentary life.

Robin Arzon Ja Tecson

She gives hope to those of us who have not been previously too athletic.

“I didn’t run my first mile until Law school. I felt like I was living a divorced existence, where I had to struggle to carve out time for running late at night,” Arzón told NBC News. She realized she wanted to be paid to work out and she made it happen.

Her workout hours

As an ultra marathoner, Arzón can log in 80 to 100 miles a week when she’s in training. Between leading Peloton cycle classes, pilates, yoga and running, she is physically active between 30 to 40 hours a week. She doesn’t expect her nearly 100K instagram followers to do the same, however.

“I tell my clients to honor what their body can do and manage their fitness schedule like they are the CEO of their body,” Arzón said.

But she confesses to having a low tolerance for excuses, so when people tell her they don’t have time to exercise she recommends they swap out TV watching or a social engagement for a workout. Arzón adds it’s a good idea to schedule workouts in advance, even if they are on 30 minute sessions.

Tips for those seeking to shape up for the summer

For Arzón, fitness is like a marathon. There are no quick fixes. “There is no magic pill. This is a lifestyle. You need to hold yourself accountable. It’s not supposed to be easy. Nobody learns anything from an easy life.”

For those who get easily discouraged, Arzón agrees it’s common to feel that way at first. Wanting to shape up for the summer is great if it acts as a catalyst to get up and get moving, she said. For long-term success, she recommends creating actionable fitness goals with deadlines. For example, exercise twice a week for the duration of the summer — and stick to the goal.

In order for exercise to become part of your lifestyle, Arzón recommends starting out with a solid reason to work out. “If you exercise to be able to play with your kids, have more energy, then that will get you through the bad days.”

If you want to try running, Arzón recommends starting out slow, and count the minutes, not the miles. The biggest mistake most people make is trying to do too much too fast. Build up your stamina slowly, and remember you should be able to have a conversation while running.

Gia Fey

Fey, 33, is based in Manhattan Beach, California. She launched her fitness-based business BodyByGia motivated by her own weight and fitness struggles. Fey became a certified trainer and fitness instructor 14 years ago, after gaining 30 pounds during her first year in college. She thought it would be a hobby at first, but she was soon hooked and made a living as a personal trainer. After eight years of personal training and teaching classes in studios and gyms, she launched her Youtube channel, where she now has nearly half a million followers.

Gia Fey Nicholas Kaat Photography

“My videos were originally made to give my clients added workouts while I wasn’t around. Then after my divorce I focused more on my Youtube channel because it became a place [from which I could help people] around the world,” Fey shared in an interview.

How she works out

Fey says she typically works out between 4 and 6 times a week. She takes indoor cycling classes, yoga and resistance training classes. She also practices TRX, beach workouts and sprinting.

Fey’s tips for people wanting to shape up fast for the summer

For clients that want to lose weight fast, Fey recommends a personalized three-day detox diet. She couples this with three to four days of high intensity training for two weeks.

“I would tell someone wanting to get in shape fast to cut all carbs after 3 p.m., but don’t starve yourself — it slows down your metabolism," said Fey.

She also recommends drinking one gallon of water a day.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Get More Out of Your Workout

For those who dislike exercise:

Not everyone enjoys working out. In order to make it a part of your lifestyle, Fey recommends finding a workout you like with the right coach or trainer. You can do this in your own home or in a group setting.

“If you know you like working out at home, then find some workout videos and a fun instructor. Knowing what you like would be the first step [towards getting fit].”

Idalis Velazquez

Velazquez, 33, is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is the founder of ivfitness, a business that helps people get and stay in shape to enjoy life to its fullest potential.

Velazquez played sports in her native Puerto Rico, competing at the collegiate level in track-and-field. She sustained an injury that forced her out of competitive sports. When later on she became pregnant with her second child, health complications led her to feeling frustrated and unhealthy.

Idalis Velazquez Courtesy of Idalis Velazquez

“I didn't know how to have a healthy lifestyle other than by training for competitions that I was no longer able to do. My body became weaker, and I also had poor nutrition habits,” Velazquez told NBC News.

Her path back to health and fitness made her aware of the struggles of non-athletes and regular moms to get and stay fit. She became a certified fitness instructor so she could help them shape up. Now, her Instagram feed, with almost 60 thousand followers, provides women with plenty of fitness tips and motivation.

Her workout schedule

Velazquez works out between four and six times per week and her fitness routines are between 20 and 60 minutes long.

“I prioritize strength training, functional movement patterns and complete three to four strength training sessions per week. I always do full-body routines that are metabolically challenging. I keep it challenging by using moderate to heavier weights and resting less in between exercises.”

Her tips to help you make exercise a part of your lifestyle

Velazquez recommends focusing on using fitness as a stress reliever, an energy booster and more importantly, a way to feel stronger in everyday life. When you know that exercising is a great tool to living a healthier and more productive life — and not merely as a way to burn the extra calories you ate or to fit into your skinny jeans — you’ll be more likely to stick with it and enjoy all the benefits.

“Keep your workouts simple and basic and focus on what you can do each day to connect with your body. Make it a goal to become a stronger and each week aim to do a little more. Whether you do 10 or 60 minutes a day, aim to do your best!”

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