CHRISTINA Gonzalez is always on the move. As a dancer, physiotherapist, and now a certified personal trainer, she has created a niche for herself in not only moving her own body, but in empowering other women to experience the joy of movement, too.
"As women, we're all very powerful beings," Gonzalez shared with All Woman. "And I've always believed that it is a part of my purpose to help other women to unlock their own power. This can be done through various means, but the most empowering tool I have found is learning control of your body through movement â€” whether through dance, or at the gym, or by doing home workouts."
Her recently launched free 30-day home workout e-book The Empowered Woman is one of the many ways in which Gonzalez has been able to assist other women to become more powerful.
"Since becoming a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified fitness trainer, I couldn't help but reflect on times when I could not afford a trainer," she said. "And I know that is still the case for many women. I've also found that many women prefer to start their fitness journeys on their own at first, then start seeing a trainer or going to a gym when they feel a bit more confident. This free e-book is for all those women."
While the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts graduate is more widely known for her glamorous career as a dancer and choreographer, she is happy that she decided to pursue further studies in movement as not just an artform, but as a gateway to holistic health and wellness.
"The experience thus far has been great and very rewarding," Gonzalez said. "I've been able to take a more comprehensive approach in assisting my clients in each area, using knowledge I've gained from training and experience in the other areas as well."
She noted that, for example, physiotherapy helped her to understand why some people feel as if they have 'two left feet' when they dance, no matter how much they work on a routine.
"So many people casually walk around not realising that they have muscle imbalances, or range of motion deficits that can hinder them from performing dance moves and/or conventional workouts well," she explained.
With these factors in mind, Gonzalez does a thorough initial consultation with all her clients, whether for dance classes, personal training or physiotherapy, which takes into account their medical history, including orthopaedic injuries or concerns. She then uses this information to create a unique programme to match the client's goals and needs.
As a well-known Carnival ambassador across the Caribbean, Gonzalez has participated in carnivals in countries such as Trinidad, the Bahamas, Grenada, and Canada this year alone. She's already excited for Jamaica's carnival, which will take place in April next year, and her more than quarter million subscribers on YouTube (@Chriss Choreo) are excitedly looking forward to it with her.
"Carnival is definitely a passion of mine, even more so now that Jamaicans are becoming more accepting of soca as a genre and are having more fetes, bands and parades locally," she said excitedly. "And knowing how empowered I feel when walking and dancing confidently in a carnival costume, this year I wanted to help other women to experience that as well."
She's doing just that through her recently launched carnival body fitness programme, which includes exercise to improve one's endurance, power, and strength, which will come in handy not just for the road, but for a more fulfilling life.
"This programme is designed for women who are looking to lose or gain weight, or to tone and tighten muscles, and can be done virtually in the comfort of your own home, or by joining me in person at Tuff Fitness in downtown, Kingston, or Express Fitness on Constant Spring Road," she said, adding that people can still register for the programme at chrisschoreocarnival.com.
And though she delights in being on the move, Gonzalez shared that she is also passionate about maintaining good mental health, which often requires her to pause and be still.
"I take days off and I pray and meditate often. I also spend quite a bit of time speaking with my loved ones for support," she shared. "Pursuing multiple passions, especially as an entrepreneur isn't always easy, but having a support system that can just act as a sounding board every now and then has truly helped. I also like to be pampered so I will regularly check into my favourite spa."
But even though her work can be physically and emotionally demanding, Gonzalez keeps moving forward, because she knows she is stepping in the right direction.
"Life is short, material things don't matter, because you can't take them with you anyway," she said soberly. "What truly matters in this life, to me, is how many people you can help with your own resources. That could be just by being a friend, or by providing a service that helps others to become the best version of themselves."