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Home / Making Waves: Fall Issue 2018 / Shatera Hillyer: Be your own brand of fitness

Shatera Hillyer: Be your own brand of fitness

Feelings come and go, but your goal stays the same.

Rachel Xiao

Photo courtesy of Shatera Hillyer.

Photo courtesy of Shatera Hillyer.

Shatera Hillyer is always looking ahead. Currently an Equinox fitness trainer and Hidrate Wave Maker based in New York City, this bold personal trainer has big dreams: she wants to relocate to Atlanta to become a fitness influencer who owns her own company and her own clients. The ultimate goal? “Be my own brand of fitness.”

Although this may seem daunting to some, Shatera is no stranger to making big moves. At 17, she moved out of her parents’ Maryland home to attend school and has been on her own ever since. While she may still call home after a rough day (her mom is her biggest supporter after all), her adaptability and independence are characteristic of the strength she brings to her daily mentality and commitment to fitness. She stays driven by reminding herself: “feelings come and go, but your goal stays the same.”

As a trainer whose schedule is based around her clients, Shatera has learned how to find small pockets of time to take care of herself throughout her busy days. Sometimes that means a power nap in the yoga studio or a quick green tea break, other times it simply means taking some time and space to recharge and find peace with herself. When she’s feeling unmotivated, Shatera tries to remember that this “lack of motivation comes from how [she’s] feeling” – it’s not a permanent state of being, but a temporary obstacle to overcome.

This was a crucial practice in forming her mindset in order to get to where Shatera is now. A career in fitness didn’t always feel like an easy option for her. Growing up, she was the biggest of the women in her family and often felt like she didn’t fit in. This sentiment followed her as she launched her career and discovered within the profession of fitness training itself, “inclusion is not something you always see as a black woman.” But as she’s gotten older, Shatera has further embraced her beauty and the close connection she has formed with her culture. As such, she emphasizes throughout her training that “one body type is not the end all be all.” Rather than highlighting a certain ideal, Shatera knows that true body positivity and health consciousness lie in embracing all body types and skin colors.

When things get hard, Shatera often turns to her family and her faith to help her remember who she is. And while they are incredible wells of support, her biggest source of strength is herself – after all, she knows that she is “not proving anything to anyone but [herself]” along her journey of growth. The key, she says, is to be who you are and continuously move towards who you want to be.”


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