How I spent most of my life unhappy, unhealthy and hiding in plain sight……
Hey, girl, hey! Remember that silly phrase? It may be cliché, but I do like some basic b*tch stuff. I think that woman was on Rock of Love with Brett Michaels. I love 80’s rock bands…….Ok, focus Moe!
I love pumpkin spice, yummmm! And I am comfiest in sweatpants, a sweater, and furry boots, but it wasn’t always lattes and messy buns.
It’s important to know where I started to know how I got to today.
At some point during quarantine,
I became obsessed with Baby Yoda.
Here are 3 things I want you to know about me:
I am passionate about PEOPLE. When I see a black male being pulled over, I stop and wait until he leaves the scene alive. I grew up on buttered noodles and frozen chicken patties from my Puerto Rican grandmothers’ church. I take nothing for granted. Your life matters to me. When I’m not supporting clients, I donate my time doing donation-based Zumba® classes for local charities like Players for Pits in Joliet, IL, Hopeful tails in Joliet, IL and The Dream Catchers Foundation in Chicago, IL. (A Chicago based female organization fighting to end human trafficking.)
I am an averagely, 90’s hood kind of mom who thinks she’s cool, however my kiddos don’t think so. While I am writing emails, the younger 2 are talking about bottle flipping and playing swords in the bathroom #BoyMom. My oldest only comes out when he’s hungry and is smart as heck sprinkled with laziness! All 3 of them are sweethearts and caring humans.
My clients see results.
Here is what some of my clients have to say...
(this was super fun to receive and my heart is full of love)
A little bit about me...
Growing up I had an interesting childhood. I saw alcoholism, drug deals in my kitchen that was passed off as oregano, lived in basement apartments where I would swing from the water pipes with my sheets (don’t try this at home), ate buttered noodles with salt and pepper for dinner and wasn’t allowed to go to the park alone because of the Latin Kings who sold drugs there. It wasn’t a bad childhood to me. In fact, I loved it. The dark moments I hid in the back of my memory and always focused on the good.
I think I'm around 4 here.
Note how I'm rocking that side pony!
Camping at Arrowhead campground in Wisconsin was always my fave. I can build a fire, assemble 6 tents in under an hour with a beer in one hand. Ok, I am not that cool, but I can camp, not glamp.
I was born in Pearsall, Texas and my family moved back and forth from Texas to Chicago. From Chicago we moved to the Chicagoland suburb of Joliet, IL.
At this time, I was just starting high school and I’ll never forget the brochure that said it was 90% white.
When I saw that Plainfield central was a 90% white school, I was nervous and excited! I had never gone to a school like that. I grew up in a minority and immigrant neighborhood and it was dope and a complete 180 from suburban Plainfield High.
Might seem a little silly to some, but it was true. My whole world was changing. No more getting recruiting attempts by the Latin Queens. I was going to play Tennis!
I saw bubbly cheerleaders who became my friends and I joined basketball, tennis, Rugby, multicultural club and more. I couldn’t get enough. There were these “jocks” like in the movie The Breakfast Club, they even wore those letterman jackets and shirts that said “Tight T-Shirt Tuesday” and I just chuckled my little brown butt off. No brass knuckles or punching a boy for pushing you down the stairs, here.
I would meet my minority friends by the cafeteria where us 10% would gather. It was awesome. I could be friends with everyone and anyone! This was a whole new world, call me Princess Jasmine!
I liked high school! And like always, I was putting a cloak over the dark times.
If I think back to the first time I threw up, it might have been towards the end of 8th grade. It was very gradual. I had no idea it was coming, but before I knew it, years had past and it was on and off. Then in my teenage years it hit me hard. I was surrounded by fit cheerleaders and I was the fluffy friend. I hated wearing a bikini while my friends couldn’t wait to go try them on.
I can’t pinpoint if it was my weight or a combination of feeling exposed, vulnerable and heavy, but I didn’t like it. I NEEDED to be thin and not feel this way.
Slowly, my bulimia was building up. I was active and still couldn’t lose weight and I started taking Metabolife and doing The Atkins Diet. I remember the radio station B96 talking all about the new Atkins Diet and Metabolife trends and I wanted in! Quick weight loss? Yes, please!
The bulimia jacked up my metabolism and ordering a cheeseburger at McDonald’s with no bun was not helping. Add in the Metabolife and you’ve got the perfect concoction for failure.
I lost weight and my appetite. I was happy about the weight, but it wouldn’t last. Like all fad diets, I stopped taking the pills and the weight came back with a vengeance. It was as if I had stolen their boyfriend. Weight came back and punched me in the gut.
How could I be so careless? How could I pack on the lbs. again after I had begged and prayed to lose weight and promised myself I would keep it off if it happened? How could I be so inconsistent? I felt low. Low enough to go full force with my vomiting. I started tracking single stall bathrooms and putting my head deeper in the toilet so I wouldn’t splash on the walls. No,it’s not pretty.
Don’t feel bad because I promise good times are coming.
After years of self-doubt, abuse, lots of drinking and being mistreated by both men, women, lovers and family members, I finally stopped. When I was molested by a boyfriend’s dad at 17 and went to court, I started building my confidence and a thicker skin (with a soft heart).
At 19, I was kidnapped by my baby daddy and sat on I-355 for hours peeing myself while he wouldn’t let me out of the car and I was 8 months pregnant. That launched me into being a badass, young single mom.
From then on, I still faced hard times, but each one made me better at being a boss b*tch (Ha! Can I say that? Yeah. Let’s do it).
In my 20’s, I finally joined a gym and found Zumba®. I fell in love with a freedom workout. What’s that? A workout that makes me feel free, comfortably vulnerable and I can be myself (broken or shattered). No matter if I was crying before a class, I would leave feeling like Beyonce with her bank account!
That was it. I had to become an instructor and in 2011, I did it! After a few years, I was fired from a Zumba® job, and it was the best thing ever! I was taking all my pain and turning it into success. I taught in my basement, then my garage, and in 2018, opened Motivation Fitness Joliet.
Me with Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman
at the Motivation Fitness Grand Opening.
March 3, 2018
This girl is on fiyaaaaaaahhhhhhhh 🔥. Oh yeah, focus!
I still cannot believe I opened a place. Gives me chills!
But even before and after opening MoFit, I was unhealthy because my eating habits were 💩.
I believed doing Zumba® a dozen times a week meant I could eat whatever I wanted, so I did. I had drank after long days at the studio and threw caution to the wind each night eating Chicken wings, Big Beef Sandwiches and Gyros with extra fries and cheese, whenever I wanted.
I worked out a lot so I would be fine. Or would I? No, I wouldn’t.
After, going and getting every license and certification that Zumba® had to offer, I started doing more charity work and building Motivation Fitness. I assisted in awesome expos and have traveled near and far to learn as much as I can.
And even as a business owner, instructor and volunteer, I was still learning. I taught 45 classes a week at the studio and hired a marketing team that launched my studio over 300 clients in a short period of time.
I was busy!
It wasn’t until my boss became my employee that I finally found the missing piece in my life.
Sweet uniform, am I right?
I worked at the Plainfield, IL Red Robin® for almost a decade and in that time I met the 1 guy for me.
Enter Jeremy. He started working at Red Robin® as my boss, years after I had been there, and I’ll never forget the first time I saw him. My boss, Mike, introduced us and all I could say was “ I am going to marry you and have your babies.” I kid you not.
I hadn’t felt some type of way about a man in …………….heck, Idk.
We just get each other...
Fast forward and here we are. Together years later and 3 kiddos. I guess if you say it out loud things really do come true. I remember reading the book The Secret and clearing out my closet and buying a second pillow to make room for someone in the future (it’s a chapter in the book) and soon after he came into my life. I got lucky. A southern little brown girl with a dark past found someone she could tell all her dark secrets to and he would love her for every scar.
Yeah, he’s a good guy 😊
We can rarely get them
to sit still like this.
So yeah. That’s me in a nutshell. After dealing with bulimia, abuse and seeing the dark side of health I knew I wanted to get into health and fitness. I even went to Lewis University and studied Psych for 5 years. I didn’t graduate, and I believe it was for the best.
Things could be so different and that brings me to the big blow I never saw coming in my business.
Jeremy was still working at Red Robin® full time and we had 1 kiddo in school, the other 2 came with me to work at the studio where we had hired a daycare attendant for our play place.
As time went by, I was spent. It was a lot of work and I loved it, but I was unhealthy. I started looking at some online mom groups and found support. I even joined a 16-week challenge, while I was running a 16-week challenge! (Coaches need coaches, too).
The one I joined was so special to me because it had like minded moms, businesswomen and human beings who were lost even when they were successful. It made me feel at home even though it was a weight loss challenge. That’s when I knew I needed to share this kind of experience with the world.
I had a great community of women at Motivation Fitness, but I wanted to help them more and live my truth of being healthy.
Then 2020 punched me right in my throat. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The pandemic hit and I had to leave my business and hunker down for “30 days”. I wanted to go full force with more challenges and offering online classes and boy did I not realize what I was manifesting. We all know that 30 days was way longer...
That’s when I cried a lot and when I stopped, I bossed up. I hired a coach and told her I wanted to go online and give my clients a 100% real, honest and authentic weight loss program.
I went to work. Finished my online food certification and started building my 12-week program.
Planning out my first online program
that will drastically change lives!
As time went by it came alive.
Women joined during pandemic, lost weight, and even though I still had rough days, I was living my dream. Helping women, even in the worst of times (2020).
I love speaking about losing weight in a healthy way and talking about how carbs are an energy source, not a weight gainer. I am an education junky, but that’s one part of me.
I sometimes think about what would have happened if I hadn’t found my passion with health and wellness. I could be sitting in a chair helping people on a couch, but instead I am a couch.
Wait? I meant coach. I could retype that, but ya know what, let’s be real 😊.
Screw it, I’ll be your couch, too. Or give you one to sit on.
It’s ironic how I wanted to be a psychologist, listen and help others with their struggles, but instead I am helping women by listening to their same health struggles as me. All my struggles have helped me help them and that’s why I’ll never wish them away.
I am a coach because it lights my soul on fire. It’s the bee’s knees, crème de la crème, once in a lifetime dream job that I needed to fulfill my life.
Instructing a STRONG Nation™ Demo class at the
Motivation Fitness Joliet Grand Opening.
March 3, 2018
I am insanely passionate about health and my story is why I do it. I hope this helps you understand me better and how your health is important to me. I want to keep every women’s head out of the toilet and standing tall and confident in a healthy body that they have fallen in love with.
So now I am asking you to make a choice…
Would you like to join me and my group?
*BEWARE: You’re going to get loved on pretty hard! 😊 Enter at your own risk ( I am also obsessed with Halloween , talk to ya soon!)
What do small habit changes do?
Hi, I'm Monique...
My name is Monique Salazar
and I have worked with 100's
of women over the years.
One of the things I hear most often is " I have tried everything and nothing works."
Here is the secret. Are you ready?
DIETING IS HARD!!
So why do it?
Because we ultimately want to feel happy and healthy in our own skin.
As a mom of 3 who has struggled with weight most of my life, I am here to let you know all the tips, tricks and to help support you 100%
We all need help and as a health and wellness coach, I can assure you that a support system is crucial to success...