We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Rabanzo-Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessica, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was really total serendipity that lead me to start my own business.

I had first become a group fitness instructor in NYC in early 2015. My previous experience in the fitness industry was as a personal trainer back in San Diego, getting my certification in 2010. From 2015 to 2018, I worked as a trainer and group class instructor for two different dance fitness companies.

During this time I learned a lot about the NYC landscape where fitness studios are as abundant as restaurants and the city’s fitness aficionados are eager to sample the plethora of workouts found on nearly every street. I learned about what it took to start a business, the layers of risk, the obsession over an idea, the investment of time and money, and the trials and errors. Being a trainer and instructor for already established companies was really all I wanted to do during that time. I was so much more interested and invested in creating and delivering amazing classes and connecting with my clients, rather than being the one running a business.

But everything changed for me the summer of 2018. At that time, my first steps out of bed were painful and walking up and down stairs brought on great discomfort. I was teaching several high impact classes and private sessions a week, jumping on hard floors, and dancing and moving full out every time I taught. Bottom line I was over-training and putting my body’s health at risk. ⁣And what I would eventually come to admit to myself, I really was not happy working for this particulate company. I constantly felt like I wasn’t enough – not fit or skinny enough, not white enough, not rich enough…there was so much toxicity that loomed behind the scenes and I knew deep down that my integrity was being greatly compromised.

I was diagnosed with patellar tendonitis in both of my knees and the only way I would be able to heal is if I completely stopped the activity that caused the injury. ⁣My knee injury got me really scared about the health of my whole body. I grew so tired of dealing with chronic pain, and trying to push through one day at a time. My knees were talking to me on so many levels – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I metaphorically related my knee injury to a need to “stand up” for my life, both to rationalize these circumstances and to spiritually provide strength and a positive outlook. In order to do that, I needed to root myself in my truth and decide how I wanted to “move” forward. I had to make a major shift in my life, and in essence, press restart.

I left that job teaching dance cardio. I took necessary time off, and when I did start moving again, I knew what I needed to do to rehab my body. My physical therapist at the time said to stick to whatever I was doing because it was working. Coincidentally during this time, I was given the opportunity to teach my own class at a new studio. I accepted the invitation. I had arrived at a readiness to share my voice, to create an environment where people would feel welcomed and acknowledged just as they are, with genuine support and encouragement. In rehabbing my body, I began developing my own method. ⁣

Untitled Movement is inspired by dance, and designed to strengthen the body and invigorate the mind. The fitness industry is saturated with images and verbiage that reinforce unhealthy ideals, goals and reasons to move. My message and my imagery encourages movement out of a place of deep honor and respect, and not out of punishment or comparison to others, or a need to change how we look.

We are an inclusive space that is body neutral, gender neutral, and age neutral. I have found and experienced that in hyper-gendered fitness spaces or even homogenized (affluent and white), where there may be no thoughtfulness with language promoting inclusivity of all different types of bodies, then people are often times left feeling “not skinny enough”, “not young enough”, “not strong enough” to be seen or taken care of by their instructors. I’ve taken weight and aesthetics goals out of the conversation, prioritizing and encouraging us to identify how we “feel” in our bodies versus how we look.

Untitled Movement is more than just a workout, it’s a full mind-body-soul experience to help people feel good in their bodies. We move with honor and with the awareness that our bodies are gifts that we are meant to enjoy.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Untitled Movement is a dance inspired fitness method that started in January 2019. Due to the pandemic, I lost all my in-person work and had to think fast how to keep me and my business afloat. I moved all my classes online and have been offering live virtual classes since March 2020 and have just recently launched an on-demand platform of recorded workouts. To think that Untitled started with in-person classes and has now existed longer in an online setting, really blows my mind. I never could have imagined being in this position, but I am proud of myself for diversifying and keeping my business alive.

I am a Type A perfectionist personality that under normal conditions takes time to plan things out, waits for the right timing, so things can be done “right.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been loosening up these reigns and have learned to dive in even when things weren’t right because what is “right” anyways? And especially now, when we are all still in the middle of a global pandemic, when almost everything has gone wrong, so many of us have been forced to make quick decisions, for our families, our businesses, and for our own sanities. ⁣

I have learned to forget about perfection – it doesn’t exist. If you have something to offer, now is the time to share. The road of entrepreneurship is not easy, but knowing that I am self-sufficient and that I am in control of my brand, is truly empowering. I am obsessed with how movement heals, empowers and can be a vehicle for expression and confidence. All I want to do is make people feel good about themselves and their bodies. I consider what I do a great privilege and honor, and despite the challenges of owning my own business, carving my own path has brought me so much joy and fulfillment.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Raised in Chula Vista, I have to say that hands down, we have the best Mexican food in San Diego. I would definitely take my best friend to Tacos El Gordo and my favorite since childhood, Hermanos Taco Shop. We could head to downtown Third Avenue and hit up any of the breweries – it’s so awesome to see how much downtown CV has expanded since I have moved back from NYC. My favorite ice cream shop is Oasis Ice Cream Parlor in Imperial Beach – family owned and operated for nearly forty years. Some of my other favorite must see spots in San Diego: Balboa Park, Chicano Park, Coronado Beach, North Park, and The Embarcadero.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We never truly do anything all by ourselves. There have been so many amazing friends and colleagues that have contributed to the development and success of my business. From the initial branding (Liz and Matt), to the studio owners who housed my classes (Sandra Herrera of Martial Arts Family Studio and Kajuan Douglas), to my business advisor (Julia) and to all my incredible clients who trust me to be their guide. My gratitude is endless and anyone who has the spread the word and done even the seemingly smallest act to support, it all has meant so much to me. And finally to my fiancé Rann who has been by my side every step of the way. He’s my biggest champion, my sound and tech guru, my emotional support…he’s truly my everything and I am so fortunate to have his love and to be his partner.

Website: www.untitledmovement.com

Instagram: @untitledmovement

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/untitledmovement

Image Credits
Melanie Brkich
Mike Esperanza

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