“I believe in authenticity,” says Trish Ignacio, 24 Hour Fitness influencer and personal trainer. And authenticity is exactly what draws in her nearly 37,000 Instagram followers to her near-daily devotions, workout tips and motivating “real talks.”
“When you are true to who you are, you’re going to naturally attract people like you,” the influencer says of her growing following. “I’m proud of my bigger legs, my bigger butt. I’m proud of that! I saw that people were interested in my workouts whether they’d never seen someone that looked like me [before],” or other women who did look like her but were not confident in their own skin.
Fully embracing her body for the gift that it brought her, and continues to give her every day, Ignacio hopes her gratitude and confidence rubs off on those tuning in. Ignacio, who’s featured in the 24 Hour Fitness “Worth It” campaign, figures if other women who share similar physical attributes (like strong legs and glutes)—or have a different body type altogether—see the personal trainer embrace herself for who she is, then eventually their insecurity will melt away.
“I feel like I actually have something of value to tell people, whether it’s to inspire them to get a workout in or whether it’s just to be a good person,” she says. “I think we need more of that. There’s a lot of negativity in the world, and I feel like if you use your social platform for the positive, for the good, you’re going to bring around good and positive people. I want to be that. I want to leave that mark.”
And while this motivating positivity is what keeps her tens of thousands of followers coming back for more, Ignacio admits that her outlook didn’t always used to be as encouraging. After her parents got divorced when she was 18, Ignacio became a full-time caretaker—with the support of her aunt—to her four younger siblings, all while juggling a packed schedule as a student-athlete. But when her collegiate career ended abruptly following an ACL injury, compounded upon her aunt’s death after a battle with cancer, Ignacio’s life was in shambles. Not only had she lost her physicality, but she also lost her entire support system in one fell swoop.
After losing her aunt, who was like a second mom to her, Ignacio says, “I gained almost 30 pounds because of that injury and because of my depression. Imagine being an athlete your entire life and then not being able to move. You know when they say, when it rains, it pours? That’s kind of what it was. … It was this ripple effect.”
Ignacio decided to channel all the pain, bitterness and anger she was feeling and turn it into something good.
“I made a commitment to help as many people as I can live healthier lives,” she says.
When working with clients who say, “I used to be an athlete but I hurt myself,” or when someone says, “I had somebody who passed away and I just don’t know how to deal with it,” Ignacio is right there ready to help because she’s been there. “I think, in a way, God was prepping me for [this],” she says of her experience as a trainer and coach. “Now I’m using my platform to be able to influence others for the better.”
One group Ignacio loves engaging with over her social handle is strong women and mothers. As a first-time mom to a toddler, the trainer is a huge advocate for self-love, and she finds that working out is one of the best ways she can give back to herself, as well as other women.
“You take a mom who is burnt out at home, burnt out at work. She feels guilty for working out, [but] I take her … and in that personal, one-on-one training with her, I feel that I’m able to build up her confidence,” she says. “A confident mom leads to a loving mom, a loving wife, a loving person at work.”
Promoting that confidence in oneself is tied to self-acceptance, happiness and love. Ignacio reaffirms through her platform that just because she’s a mom doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve time for herself.
“I’m showing people that I’m a mom—a working mom,” she says. “And I’m making time for myself to work out because health is the best investment that you’ll ever have.” And ultimately, isn’t taking care of yourself one of the greatest acts of love you can do for yourself and others?
Though Ignacio never intended to become a social media influencer, she will continue to reach as many people as possible, spreading her strength, stories, positivity and energy to her followers. “I believe in energy,” she says.” Everything in the universe is energy. So what you put out, you get back.”
Photo, video credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com