Next month we are taking the Urban RAID Championship to NYC! In our RAID Athlete Spotlight we got in touch with an inner city fitness inspiration by the name of Madelyn Montijo. For the past 25 years, Madelyn has used the strength and passion she has for fitness to reach out to a large urban community in Harlem, New York. Today, she is the owner and founder of her own company, Empire Soul Fitness and we sat down and chatted with her about how she and her team are getting #RAIDReady!
RAID: Tell us about Empire Soul Fitness and what was your inspiration to form this group?
Madelyn: The name of my group is Empire Soul Fitness Empress originated on April 5, 2013. As of March 2014, we are now Empire Soul Fitness Empress & Emperors. Empire Soul Fitness is a health awareness and fitness startup company with a mission to create a movement towards nutrition and weight management. My goal is to reach out to a large urban community and collaborate with women and men under many nations to lead happier and healthier lives. I want to be able to teach them to free their souls to fitness and I would like to continue to inspire all women and men to believe in building their own empire within. This Empire is powerful beyond measure, stronger then we seem, braver then we think and blessed with all we need. Leader, Life Coach, Inspiration.
RAID: What do you hope women will gain from being a part of your group?
Madelyn: I believe that every woman will gain self awareness and confidence to break the barriers and believe that being overweight is not the norm. I also know that women will feel good in their skin when they lose the first few pounds in a week. This group gives them the opportunity to build up their self esteem.
RAID: Why do you think Urban RAID will be a positive experience for your group members?
Madelyn: I think that Urban RAID will be a positive experience for my group members for many reasons: self esteem, gaining strength and empowerment, realizing they have the ability to accomplish things that they never thought could, and being surrounded by others with bigger goals which inspire them to go to the next level.
RAID: Also, how do you think Urban RAID will help you spread the world about this great organization?
Madelyn: I believe exposure such as this is an impactful resource for spreading the word. It is beneficial to see the women participate, cheer each other on, and share transformations of several members. We understand that there are many groups out there attempting to do similar things, but the difference between Empire Soul Fitness and the majority is simple. I am targeting the Hispanic and Black community, a market that is extremely in danger because it is surrounded by fast food, has limited resources to good produce and predominantly eat and live on enriched refined foods. To be healthy does not mean you have to spend a fortune. Many groups are just workout groups and not groups that offer mentorship, gatherings, weekly conference calls, special events, and yearly annual functions. I created my Empire based on a mission, which was to move monuments and create clear paths and healthier lives. I did this by leading by example. I am a Latina born and raised in the Bronx, I was not always a heavy child but was battling 190lbs just last year. During college and working full time, I gained 33lbs, did not even realize, so for me today at 159lbs, age 47 , training for 23 years, I must admit that If I can, we all can. I am in the best shape of my life. I accomplished Rugged Maniac finale which had me running up a 6ft curved wall, which I leaped and jumped over with no fall and I was amazed at this myself. I was empowered to go to the next level at Urban RAID NYC. With all obstacle racing its not just an obstacle course, its what we do to prepare. And trust me my Empire prepares, trains, motivates and even does weekly weigh ins. We have boot camps 4x per week, with little or no equipment at all. We are preparing physically and mentally, we are ready, willing and able.
RAID: What other activities does your group participate in?
Madelyn: Boot camps, Zumba, Sculpt classes, which I offer in all of my classes.
RAID: How can women get involved and support your group?
Madelyn: My group name on Facebook is Empire Soul Fitness Empress & Emperors they may request to join and I will have a screening call with them to find out what his/her goals are. I will also invite them to one free class to see if they are a true beast or beauty? Maybe both. Also I am on Instagram: maddie_empiresoulfitness
RAID: Are you guys ready to experience Urban RAID NYC?
Madelyn: We are preparing, 4x per week, we’ll be ready!