We had the good fortune of connecting with Lariesa Bell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lariesa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When you recognize a need, fill it! I have always been passionate about health and fitness, but as I grew into an “adult” I realized that there was a lot confusion and struggle for most people in this area. I recognized that most people want to be healthy and fit, but they either don’t know how to go about it, they are confused about what the correct path is, or they just don’t believe enough in themselves to make it happen. In each of these cases, I knew that I could make a positive change in people’s lives! Educatiing, guiding, and encouraging people to be the healthiest and fit that they can be is certainly my gift, and I am excited everyday to be able to help people (and make it fun!) along that journey. It was a huge growth process to get where I am today, but every hurdle and success was worth it.
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?
My business is all about serving others. We specialized in Pilates based fitness, and Corrective exercise to overcome injuries, or back pain. I started as an aerobics instructor, and then eventually started a business as a personal trainer. I worked in gyms, and trained clients in their home. It was certainly not easy considering I was also a single Mom, trying to make ends meet. I got up early everyday and pushed hard to gain more clients, learn more, and become a better trainer. My life wasn’t about social activities, instead, I was pursuing more certifications, knowledge, and business. Eventualy it led me to Pilates, where I would eventually settle in my career. One happy client led to another and eventually I started teaching private Pilates in my little garage. Obstacles and tenacity was certainly the theme, but any business owner will tell you that. Eventually I had enough clients to open my own Pilates studio. Years down the road, I had enough clients to open an even bigger center. I HAVE NOW BEEN IN MY CAREER FOR 20 YEARS! I have a state-of-the-art Pilates studio with 4 employees. Everyday is an opportunity to grow and become better, not just in your career, but also personally. I love my business, and never take for granted the opportunity to help others in such a huge way!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Living in San Diego certainly gives ample opportunity for places to visit and things to see! First stop, Better Buzz Coffee Roasters for some of their signature mint-infused coffee! Then off to walk the Ocean Beach pier and check on the local shops. I’m all about local hole-in-the-wall eats, so we would find a cool eclectic place close to the water to get lunch. Nightlife in Gaslamp with dinner at the Meze Greek Fusion restaruant.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have so many people to thank and ackowledge along my path. For example, the aerobics instructor who, after seeing my bombed performance of my first time teaching told me not to let anyone say that I couldn’t do this. She empowered me to keep learning and not give up! My parents were always my greatest support and cheer squad, and I wouldn’t be anywhere today without them. A shoutout belongs to Alan Harris from Absolute Body Power. He believed in me enough to invite me to have lead roles in Nationaly sold fitness DVD’s, be the expert guest speaker on Comcast, and many more opportunities to be a public figure in the fitness industry. He has been a good friend and mentor for years, and his confidence in me led to me to writing my own book, being published in more prestigous magazines, TV, and radio shows.
Linkedin: Lariesa Hodges
Facebook: Pilates of Eastlake
Youtube: Best Body On Demand
Other: My personal instgram is @LariesaBelle