“I think my fitness success has helped many people that I know AND that I don’t know over time. Besides posting workouts, tips, motivation, nutrition, etc that encourage my followers online, the tangible clients and people around me that I train and coach have changed their lifestyles and always are grateful to me for that. Like I said, I’ve always wanted to help people. By being myself and doing what I do best, preaching health and fitness and mental strength, I have been able to change many lives. My goal of course is to touch even more lives.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sofia Rodriguez, also known as “SoFITfia,” a Fitness & Health Expert in the VA/DC area. She has a Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology and has worked with cardiac, cancer, diabetic, and injury rehab patients in the past. She is a Certified Personal Trainer ranked among top trainers in the country who has many years of experience training various populations for weight loss, muscle gain, and overall health. Sofia has been the Go-To Expert on many TV morning shows, has been featured in several magazines and online publications such as Forbes & Huffington Post, is a published fitness writer, a fitness model and specializes in bodybuilding and nutrition. She is bilingual, speaking fluent Spanish and English.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
No problem it’s my pleasure! Thanks for having me. Backstory?! Well I come from a military background, traveling all over the country and world practically as a baby until a teen. I also am biracial/bicultural and bilingual so I guess you can say I’m pretty well rounded and have been exposed to different types of people and places. I have always been into fitness and exercise since I can remember. Even before I officially became a trainer, I was always the “trainer” in my groups of friends. Doing sports, reading fitness magazines and researching in books (this was pre dominant internet times LOL) really gave me that background before formally studying in school and becoming a certified personal trainer. I’ve always wanted to help people.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
Wow how do I narrow this down? Being in the clinical/medical realm and then the fitness industry, you see A LOT. Nothing phases you. I could probably write a whole book on the many stories. But one particular instance sticks out. I was working in cardiology at the time as a cardiac tech. We saw all sorts of patients, even ones that came from the prison and mental wards. The mental patients came with one or two caretakers. One day one of the cardiologist was seeing a patient from there and I just remember seeing the door to his room open and the patient was coming fast towards the nurses area. I had to react quickly so I grabbed my coworker and we jumped up and away from where we were. The patient was belligerently yelling and was tackled to the ground by his caretakers. Mind you this patient was HUGE. He was probably 6’5″ AT LEAST. They didn’t have anything to sedate him so had to wait on backup. My coworker was so shaken because the area he was on the ground was where her workstation was. That was a pretty crazy day.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Perhaps not in a direct way, but I think my fitness success has helped many people that I know AND that I don’t know over time. Besides posting workouts, tips, motivation, nutrition, etc that encourage my followers online, the tangible clients and people around me that I train and coach have changed their lifestyles and always are grateful to me for that. Like I said, I’ve always wanted to help people. By being myself and doing what I do best, preaching health and fitness and mental strength, I have been able to change many lives. My goal of course is to touch even more lives.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
Honestly, I always tell people this: don’t try to be anyone but yourself. Use other people as motivation and maybe a guide, but at the end of the day, focus on making yourself better. I would suggest figuring out exactly what you want to do first. Then try to figure out a blueprint and map on how to get there. Focus on ONE goal at a time. If you try to think of too many things at once you want to accomplish, nothing will get done. Also be flexible with yourself and be OPEN to things. Looking back now, I did not plan many steps I ended up taking. Keep an open mind to things because it may be the opportunity of a lifetime. But in general if you want to become a fitness professional, look into getting your credentials and gain experience. Although not necessary, I got college degrees. I don’t regret it because it separates me from many fitness people and it establishes credibility as well as has given me angles and experiences that have really helped. Get a certification, intern at a gym or another exercise facility. Listen to and learn from the veteran trainers. But most importantly…BE YOURSELF. Don’t try to emulate someone, try to do what others are doing just because or be fake. It is not sustainable. The one thing that never goes out of style is being yourself.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?
There is a lot of people that I can say have mentored me along the way. But the one person that I am forever grateful to is my dad. He has never missed a beat with me. Although he is not in the fitness industry, his constant support has helped me tremendously. Since a little girl, my dad has always gave the right balance of helping me but letting me be independent. If I ever needed anything, he was the one I could count on. But he let me figure it out most of the time. I always joke with him that I owe him a million dollars and could never repay him for what he’s done for me. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have the drive, inner passion, hard work ethic or humbleness I possess today. A strong man in a woman’s life is priceless and I think the key to a woman’s success.
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
My own show on Health is Wealth Network!!! This is such an amazing opportunity and I am so humbled I was picked to be a part of this. It is going to be a TV app platform much like Netflix where people can tune in from their phones, smart TVs, or computers. You will be able to subscribe much like any other app or TV platform. Its crazy when so many goals and aspirations come together. Not only am I having my own show but they are giving me free range to do what I want, be creative and be myself. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I will be offering my show in both English and Spanish. Stay tuned for this!
What are your “Top Five Ideas About How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand” . (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Reach out to companies you already believe in/use and pitch to collaborate: See if you can get product in exchange for a post, or even cash if you have a strong following. For example, if you use a particular shampoo or hair product already, reach out to their team and let them know how much you love their products and would love to work together to further brand success and sales. Give them ideas on how this can happen. Lay it all out for them. They are more likely to work with you if you have it all figured out.
- Become an affiliate with a company: If you help sell their product, you get a percentage of the sale. Do this for products you believe in and use. Don’t do what many people do and market a product just for a quick buck. Your followers trust you and can smell deception.
- Show your craft/expertise with videos and photos: If you are a chef, prove it! Post fun and entertaining videos of you carrying out your expertise. People are more likely to buy your services or products (your brand) if you prove you are an expert.
- Engage with your followers on IG stories or Facebook Live: Show your audience your personality. If you are a likable person, the consumer is more likely to invest in your brand. This may take some time to convert to monetization but be consistent.
- Events: Plan an event where people can purchase tickets, or try to host an event and get paid to do so. This may be for more established influencers and stars, but is an amazing way to monetize your brand and meet your followers in person!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
This is a tough one! I would say either Gary V or Warren Buffet or any Spanish/Black Woman Entrepreneur. Not only because these individuals are successful but I would love to pick their brain, get some insight from people who have made it big being themselves and creating their own spaces. I would surely train them and offer fitness/health advice in return LOL!
Originally published at medium.com