Carmel Rodriguez is a fitness expert whose unique barefoot workouts, inspiring form, and signature handstands are worthy of the avid 296k followers on her Instagram account. Beyond looking good and losing weight, Rodriguez’s dedication to fitness was born from her fight against severe anxiety and depression. “Postpartum, I had no direction, a lot of difficulty, and had a vision of needing to do something with my body to make myself better,” she shares. She started running, and because having babies couldn’t afford her going to a gym, Carmel created her own exercises, and worked out on the driveway outside her home. Carmel put in the work, and overcame her challenges.
Finding mental and physical empowerment through training, Rodriguez’s fitness led to commercial acting and becoming a fitness trainer. She has realized her purpose: to show women and people that anything is possible. Rodriguez is currently filming her first fitness program, continues to share workouts online, and is traveling to shoot a commercial for a fitness brand and lead charity fitness events. “My style of training gives me life and direction. I’m working doing what I love.”
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What do you do?
I am a trainer, fitness influencer, and creator of the YG12 Series: a series of workouts that anyone can do in 12 minutes using their own body weight.
What breakfast kickstarts your day?
I’m a shake kind of girl: chocolate vegan protein, a lot of greens, half an avocado, coconut milk, ice, and some frozen blueberries.
What keeps you up at night?
My brain, programming workouts, business strategies, and my first major lecture at the canfitpro expo this weekend.
What would your 16-year old self think of you now?
It definitely would be a shock because my 16-year old self was a bit of a little brat. I think I’d probably be pretty proud of myself for what I’m doing.
When were you happiest?
I keep going to a happy place. Happiness never lasts, neither does being angry. In anything, I feel like it keeps recycling itself, so I keep having my happy moments.
What are you like when you’re stressed out?
I will make myself busy. I will run around, I am an energizer bunny, I just keep going, and I keep talking until my husband is like, slow down, take a second, breathe.
What is your daily practice?
Taking every day moment by moment and remembering that I’m not always in control, and that’s okay. That’s a daily reminder so it’s in my head. It is a practice for me.
What is your vice?
Popcorn. You can catch me on any given day: I will have an entire bowl of popcorn in front of me, and I will finish it.
What jobs have you had in the past?
I have been a janitor, a telephone sales girl, I’ve worked at Ikea, I worked at a bakery, I ran a chiropractic studio health office.
What brings you comfort?
My husband and seeing my kids at home. And eating. I don’t know why, but when my fridge is full and my kids can go in there and get the food that they want and need, I feel super happy.
How would you like to die?
Knowing that all is okay. That everything will run okay without me.
What’s in your freezer?
Frozen blueberries up to my yin yang, packaged chicken, a bag of edamame that’s been there for I don’t know how long, lots of ice. I may have a couple of pizza pops in there for the kids.
What is your power song?
When was the last time you cried?
For real? When I heard about Vegas.
Who is your mentor?
My dad is still my mentor to this day. But in the physical sense, Bruce Lee. Hands down.
What are you most insecure about?
My ability to help others. It’s scary to me to make sure that I am helping than just doing it for the sake of doing it.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I do love a cold beer and a glass of wine every once in a while. And I like to go out and just dance my butt off.
What’s your favourite swear word.
Shit! I always say, shit!
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What is your favourite movie?
Natural Born Killers. I don’t know why, but I love that movie so much, it’s so bad.
What are your favourite emojis?
What is your motto?
At some point, you have to stop thinking about it and just do it.
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Let go of my control. That’s super hard for me.
Do you love what you do?
Oh, yeah. Hundred percent.
What is your true calling?
I think that I am here for more than just to be the obvious: a woman, a wife, a mother. I think I’m here to help people in the best way that I know how. And that’s by doing my fitness and teaching people that you can achieve the things you want to achieve if you just put everything you’ve got into it.
Article Photos courtesy of Carmel Rodriguez
Feature Image by Matthew Chen.