In this month’s installment of About Her Business, a series about single women entrepreneurs we talk Christa Pryor founder of Elevate Mind Body Game. Christa is a former two college sport athlete and model turned fitness entrepreneur who has worked with athletes such as NBA players Aaron Gordon, Zach Lavine, Andrew Wiggins, Ronny Turiaf; WBO Champion Manny Pacquiao; and Tennis Champion Victoria Azarenka. EMBG is a sports consultancy that provides elite performance coaching for young and professional athletes that also includes personal training for everyday people. Not to mention, Christa holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Master’s degree in Human Biodynamics – so in other words she really knows her ish.
TSU: Christa! Thanks for taking the time for this interview! Tell us about your business, Elevate Mind Body Game. What kind of services and/or products do you offer?
CP: I work with individuals to improve their physical performance ranging from young athletes to professional athletes. Additionally, I work with “domestic athletes” or “weekend warriors” to improve their overall health and wellness. One of my favorite clients is Rose, who is 90 years old. She’s a pistol! We work on her core strength, balance and vision specifically her spatial awareness and hand eye coordination by applying some of the techniques that I use on my athletes. She less afraid of falling which is a big fear for elderly people. Our training has given her so much confidence to move about the world.
TSU: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
CP: I had a vision of what I wanted to do but I didn’t necessarily thinking of it as an entrepreneur per se, but just fulfilling a need. I was inspired because I experienced so many gaps in fitness and wellness as a college athlete. Then when I started my career in wellness as a massage therapist, my awareness just grew from there. I felt that there was a integrative approach to fitness and overall wellness that was missing. As a result, I now offer and do so much more than just physical training. I offer nutritional guidance, flexibility and mobility training, mediation, soft tissue therapy, injury rehabilitation, and sports vision. I also work collaboratively with a range of high level professionals to enhance all the work that I do for my professional athletes including a dietitian, osteopath, chiropractic and PTS.
TSU: You are a woman on the move, essentially you don’t at a desk or office but you still have paperwork and organizing to do etc to run your business effectively. How do you keep yourself organized?
CP: I’m old school when it comes to scheduling, I prefer to write things down in my Fit Pro Planner created by Dillon Kreider. It’s amazing tool for accountability and not just for people in the fitness industry. Invoicing has always been a challenge, and it still does. It definitely is not a perfect system and something I’m constantly trying to improve on.
TSU: Do you have a mentor?
CP: I’ve had two significant mentors in my life. Terrell Jones who is the former strength coach for the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has guided and given me direction in the world of working professional athletes. He really has supported me emotionally because there are very few females working with pro male athletes at my level. His encouragement has helped me push through many obstacles and rejections. He definitely challenges me to never give up. And, Todd Derkin, who trained a myriad of pro athletes and is an ambassador for Under Armour and TRX, and owns Fitness Quest 10. These two guys are the absolute greatest. Their mentorship and friendship have gotten me through so many tough times.
TSU: What experiences have influenced how you approach your business today?
CP: When I was the strength coach at Seton Hall, the limited resources that I were allocated to work with the student athletes really inspired the need I saw to provide more integrative services. Thank goodness the industry has evolved so much from 15 years ago. It’s come a long way in what we can offer athletes in terms of having a broader understanding of their mental and physical needs. It’s why I approach my business and work with clients with the same intent to give them a comprehensive plan, but each client is different and requires a different approach.
TSU: What’s the most challenging aspect of running your own business?
CP: Making sure the back office management like billing and scheduling is very tedious. Marketing and promoting myself to attract more clients is always a challenge for me. Also, my schedule is always changing depending on what my pro – clients needs are and where I might have to travel too.
TSU: The most rewarding?
CP: Seeing the client find their own success and confidence as they achieve their individual goals is the best feeling ever.
TSU: What are your goals this year?
I’m working on a really amazing product that I can’t quite reveal yet, but it should be out by the end of the year. Also, I’ve had some health issues, so I’m working on getting healthier and stronger in hopes of running a marathon. And, I’m not a distance runner, so this would be a huge physical challenge.
TSU: What is your favorite exercise or way to exercise?
CP: I love to get outside and play beach volleyball. Being active isn’t just about going to a gym. It’s all about moving. It could be dancing, beach volleyball- just find what makes your heart sing and do it!
TSU: I noticed on your Instagram account that you like to wear very colorful workout clothes. I for one, only wear dark colors especially on the bottom when I work out, because I sweat like a fiend. Tell us about your workout style. Is it important for you to look good when you work out?
CP: It’s more important for me to be comfortable than to look good. The gear has to be functional and comfortable. And, I love bright colors.
TSU: There’s a super strong and much need body – positive movement happening now in fashion and fitness led in many ways by Ashley Graham the model, and Jessamyn Stanley the yogi with over 300k instagram followers and a new book Every Body Yoga. You were a “plus-sized” model for many years on top of being a trainer. Talk to us about what it was like when you were modeling, how you feel about the “movement” now and anything that you would change?
CP: I loved modeling! This body – positive movement and need for curve models was just sort of starting when I was working. It’s so nice to see the evolution. It’s more important to be happy with who you are both inside and out – no matter your size. So, the “body-positive”movement helping women love themselves inside and out is a great thing.
TSU: Any advice for women looking to start their own business specifically sports related?
CP: Understand that it can be fickle and there is an inevitability that you will fail at some point, but just keep moving. Entrepreneurship is not linear. It’s a wild roller coaster. Have faith in yourself, lean on family and friends for support and have a circle of people that are smarter than you. Get a mentor! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s been a big lesson for me. I went at this all by myself for 10 years before I realized I couldn’t do it alone.
TSU: We talk about wellness and health all the time especially as women in our 40s. You are my go to source for all things fitness and rehab on my bum knee. What tips would you give other women in their forties about their fitness, wellness and overall health.
CP: Recovery is sooo important. Rest! I can’t overemphasize how important naps, meditation, and massage are to your overall wellness. More is not necessarily better especially when you are using your body. Learn how to manage your body’s stress response. Exercise is a stressor which can be advantageous, but it can be disadvantageous as well depending on where your body is. Manage your time and what your body needs more efficiently. If you sit at a desk you need to move more but again that doesn’t always mean hitting the gym. I encourage everyone, not just pro- athletes but everyone on the wellness journey to create a recovery strategy.
TSU: As a single woman, tell us how you “balance” it all with no “net” or support system? Your clients, growing your business, relationships, your own health, friendships etc?
I learned the hard way that I have to take care of myself first. I have to do it because everything rests on me. Self-care is integral and that includes socializing with friends. Getting to embrace my femininity more by dressing up after only wearing workout clothes all week really helps me feel balanced. I get to embrace Christa the woman, not just the coach.
TSU: How do you feel about the word Spinster?
It’s just a word that we can attach any meaning we want too. I don’t use it in my everyday life but it doesn’t bother me. We can define that word or any word however we like. Own and embrace it.
TSU: Our tagline and motto is Happily Ever After Begins Now. How are you living happily ever after now?
CP: What a great tagline. To me it means being present and happy exactly where you are. I’m not compromising myself with things that don’t align with who I am as a person because of a path I was “supposed” to take. I’m forging my own path. I’m happy with the journey. I’m enjoying who I’m becoming along the way.
TSU: Where can we find Elevate Mind Body Game?