Miami fitness trainer Nathalia Ferr’s fitness journey started post-pregnancy when she was on a mission to lose the 65 pounds she had gained. Now, Ferr can be found around South Florida teaching HIIT classes and helping clients find the balance in their life with wellness coaching. We caught up with Ferr for a Quick 10 interview, but you can also follow her on Instagram – @nathalia.ferr.

Tell us about yourself – where are you from and how did you find your way to the 305?

I was born in Brazil but moved to Connecticut when I was five. I bounced between Brazil and CT for a while and then settled there for 20 years. I moved to the 305 four and a half years ago, and like every northerner, the weather was a big motivation as well as the quality of life.

How did you get your start in fitness and as an instructor?

While I have been dancing since I was a little girl, it wasn’t until I got pregnant and gained 65lbs that I actually turned to fitness. Through my personal weight loss journey, I fell in love with fitness and it’s been an amazing relationship since. Throughout the years I’ve done certifications and expanded my teaching into an overall wellness company.

What is your favorite part of being a fitness instructor?

Nothing compares to the human connection element of teaching, but more than that, it’s knowing that you are helping people in a health journey that encompasses not just the body, but the mind and their inner self as well. Connecting with them allows you to celebrate the milestones, help them fight through the struggles and be part of their overall growth once they commit to a healthier lifestyle.

How would you describe your classes?

My classes are a mix of “Dayum” and “Hell Yeah.” I like to challenge people to break out of their comfort zones and I don’t stop until they embrace what their body is capable of doing. So where they start off with wide eyes mumbling “Dayum,” they’ll finish off with a high five screaming “Hell Yeah.”

What is one fitness myth you would like to bust?

That “100 squats to a bigger booty” BS. Because of a personal goal of mine, I have spent a lot of time educating myself and consequently my clients/participants about the reality of building and toning a booty and I can tell you this … squatting 100x a day will NOT grow that booty! It takes way more than one repetitive movement and more like a series of many moves and added weights.

Tell us a little bit more about your specialty.

I specialize in booty and lower body focused boot camps and group classes. I am a master trainer for a HIIT program called, Strong by Zumba™ and have been a trainer for the past eight years. I am a trainer who loves to get sweaty, so I do the workout with my participants with them and next to them. I feel like that gives an extra push and it also allows me to be hands-on even in a group setting. Form and alignment are huge for me, so if I need to fix it, I fix it! Ohhh … I occasionally break out into dancing too, it seems to entertain as they are mid sweat.

Other than where you teach, where is your favorite place in Miami to train?

I absolutely love to train anywhere outside. South Pointe is a favorite, but I actually love just going to the beach and whether I’m stretching, meditating, running or doing my bodyweight workouts, I feel like the salt in the air and the sound of the waves give me such an exhilarating feeling. I tend to not have music on when I go there!

Besides fitness, what’s one thing you’re passionate about?

I cannot describe the passion I feel in helping people come out of their shell, find their inner strength and see them falling head over heels for exactly who they are. I do this through my wellness coaching where my focus is breaking unhealthy patterns, restructuring inner conversations with self, and prioritizing needs vs wants. This has become a fire within me that is only fully described by the crazy facial expression I make and how my eyes truly tear up when I get to talk about it.

What is the one thing you do every day to stay fit?

While I can sit here and talk about my workouts and my nutrition, I truly believe that I stay fit by investing in my mind first. For me “fit” starts as a mindset before it actually takes physical form. You can workout all you want, but if you don’t have purpose and intent, it won’t last and it will become a chore and not a lifestyle. Same with nutrition and any other aspect of a balanced life. So yeah, I meditate, I set intentions, I write my goals and I read and focus on them, every damn day! It’s my version of that fit picture on the fridge I guess! HA!

How do you practice mental health in your everyday life?

This is a BIGGIE for me! My life changed once I started to invest in my mental health. I had been a prisoner of anxiety ever since I was a teen and it wasn’t until my 30s that I took control. I began to meditate, do breathing exercises and even be more present and alert to what brings more peace. I have a playlist dedicated to my mental health; I call it “Mood lifter.” I read, I write, and I love podcasts. Mental health is not a right or wrong, it’s a “whatever works for you,” and that is something I wish people would understand. You don’t need to be in complete silence for 20 minutes to meditate, you just need to find what it is that works for you in bringing forth that serenity you should feel within yourself.