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Building Strength in Non-Traditional Methods

aapi month fitness and health fitness career fitness coach healthy lifestyle healthy living May 16, 2024

Influencing the Fitness Industry to be Stronger by Diversifying Outside of AAPI Heritage Month:

I take my role as a fitness coach very seriously. I am changing hundreds of people’s lives with my workouts and positive mindset! But beyond physical strength, I want to show another kind of strength – diversity – by showing others that you CAN be an Asian American working in fitness. 


I once had the chance to interview two Asian Americans for Men’s Health Magazine who work in the fitness industry. We had a great conversation and all agreed that we are influencing the next generation to not be scared to take the leap and get out of their comfort zone. While, yes – May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and it is a wonderful time to recognize the contributions and achievements of AAPI individuals in various fields – we collectively firmly believe that Asian Americans are here to stay in the fitness industry. We are not just here to be a part of the brands' Lunar Year and AAPI month campaigns. We believe that we can change how fitness is viewed and would love to see more of us represented throughout the year. 


Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I always wanted to fit in. I felt as if I was the odd one out. I would dye my hair lighter and wear colored contacts in high school to feel better about myself. During one of my boxing classes, my coach asked why I was coloring my hair and wearing colored contacts. He said, “Your dark brown eyes and dark-colored hair are beautiful; embrace it.”

That’s when the wheels in my head started to turn. If I look different from everyone else, will I still be beautiful?

Years later, I met my husband, and to my surprise, he said the same thing as my coach! He couldn’t wrap his head around why I was changing my appearance. Ever since I met my husband, I changed my hair back to black and got rid of my colored contacts. Today, I see that my beauty is different from how I grew up and that it’s a blessing to stand out with natural beauty!

Did you know that according to statistics published by USA Facts, Asian Americans make up 36.4% of computer hardware engineers and 43.1% of medical scientists? So it’s no surprise the social expectation for Asian Americans is to work in the medical field or finance. Despite this trend, I chose a different path: fitness. When I told my family that I wanted to work in fitness full-time, it was a HUGE disappointment. It felt like I was the laughingstock of the family. No one would take me seriously. In their minds, I was supposed to be a doctor or a nurse. Nevertheless, I held onto my vision despite the adversity and challenges.

 In college, I dreamt of becoming the first female physical therapist for the NY Yankees. I pursued a degree in Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, which led me to become a trainer while also saving money for grad school. Lo and behold, I fell in love with coaching. From there, I never looked back.

I never had a Filipino trainer/coach to look up to when I was first getting started. There was no blueprint, no guidance, no one to relate to. I realized I had to be the leader in my industry.

Guess what? I've seen success. I built a business, created an app, modeled for brands like Adidas and Tommie Copper, and have been featured in magazines such as Health, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, and Strong Fitness. After my family saw that this “fitness dream” was so much more, they fully understood my vision and have supported me ever since.

As a Filipino descent in fitness, I want to influence other Asian American women to realize you can create a career and build a business despite challenges. Believe in yourself!



Coach Tatiana


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