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Meet Trailblazer Athena Concannon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Athena Concannon.

Athena, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My fitness career actually started in college. I guess it wasn’t so much a career back then, but my journey began teaching Butts + Guts and Step + Sculpt classes for my on-campus job at Providence College!

After college, I continued teaching group fitness classes as my side hustle while I worked full-time at a medical software company. During these 8 years, I worked in a few different roles until I became the company’s wellness coordinator and created and built a corporate wellness program from the ground up. I guess my entrepreneurial spirit was coming out then before I even realized it!

During this time, my fitness side hustle continued to evolve as well. I expanded my certifications and education: I became a personal trainer and group cycling instructor, I completed a wellness coaching training program, and I also started a fitness blog. I quickly realized how much I truly loved sharing my passion in the online space, so I started exploring possibilities for how I could turn online fitness into a viable career.

The more I learned, the more I knew I simply was not meant for the 9-5 life. Yes, my full-time gig was related to my passion, but I didn’t want to ONLY coordinate and organize corporate wellness events. I wanted to work in a much deeper capacity with clients to help them reach their health and fitness goals. Also, deep down I knew I wanted – needed – to spread my message beyond the walls of one company, reach even more people, and truly call my business my own.

I finally took the leap in March 2016. I gave my notice, and I’m proud to say I haven’t looked back! These days, I run a thriving online coaching business, and I still teach group fitness classes for Fit Revolution in Lynnfield and Seaport Sweat in Boston… teaching is still my side gig and happy place!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of the things I struggled with at first was being able to ask for help. I thought I could wear all the hats and figure everything out myself. Wrong! My strengths lie with working with clients, not building websites or shooting videos or creating catchy brand images. I wish I had invested in my business sooner than I did, because I spent a lot of time spinning my wheels.

I recommend that any woman just starting out on a journey, whether it be business, fitness, or something else, trust that investing in yourself will pay off and open you up to new opportunities, new ways of looking at things, and bigger and better things on the other side. I’m incredibly grateful at this point that I decided to hire a business coach who has helped me in so many ways, both professionally and personally.

The other thing I recommend is finding a tribe who will inspire and support you along the way. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely and confusing place, but networking and connecting with other like-minded women who have similar goals and who just get it has made a world of difference. Just like the girls I coach in my Empowered Together Coaching Club support and encourage each other in their fitness, I have my tribe of fellow online business owners and female entrepreneurs who I know I can turn to for questions, encouragement, and honest feedback. Every woman deserves to have a squad that has her back and lets her shine for who she is!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Achieve with Athena – what should we know?
Through my work at Achieve with Athena, I help women who feel stuck use fitness and nutrition as tools for getting strong in both mind and body, finding purpose, and stepping into their most empowered selves.

I am known for my #AntiPerfectFitness approach. There are so many ridiculous programs out there that don’t set people up for success because they require hours in the gym, they prescribe restrictive eating protocols, and they are one size fits all solutions. This is hands down why so many people yo-yo back and forth for years.

I believe that health and fitness should be as simple and sustainable as possible. It should enhance our lives, not complicate, burden, or require a complete life overhaul, which is why my signature Empowered You coaching method 1) employs efficient workouts and simple meal prep strategies, 2) doesn’t require giving up any foods (yes, pizza and wine are allowed!), and 3) requires that my clients have a say in their own journeys. There needs to be autonomy involved, or results just don’t stick.

My approach is completely customized because wellness will never be a one size fits all model. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else because we all are so unique with different preferences, past history, schedules, likes, dislikes, and other circumstances.

Yes, I help my clients achieve the physique changes they desire, but as much as they love seeing the number on the scale go down or being able to fit into new pant sizes, what they end up loving even more throughout the process is the newfound confidence and sense of empowerment they get from becoming their healthiest and best selves!

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
I think one of the biggest challenges for female leaders in the health and fitness space is that there is so much emphasis on the physical. Fat loss is what sells, plain and simple, which is why programs that promise flat abs in 7 days exist.

However, in my experience, any lasting physique change has to also come with a whole bunch of not so sexy stuff: mindset work, habit building, effective goal setting, PATIENCE!

The online space is noisy, so it can be hard to speak the “boring” message when there are hundreds of other women out there selling pills and powders, talking about their latest fad diets and juice cleanses, or dishing out outdated and/or incorrect fitness advice.

That’s the other thing: there are still so many misconceptions about what women’s fitness and nutrition should look like (don’t even get me started about how we shouldn’t be in the weight room!) that us female fitness entrepreneurs have our work cut out for us!

I am always reminding myself to stay authentic and true to my beliefs, as the women in my industry who aren’t afraid to speak their truths and walk a different path are the leaders who have inspired me the most!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Nick Cosky

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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