Strong Athletic would like to introduce you to Aja Marsh, a momentum coach that inspires her clients to show up everyday and be their best selves. Strong Athletic owner Nadia Kean met Aja at the Austin Marathon in 2020. It was a combination of Aja's massive smile and her willingness to simply talk about real things that made her stand out. We've kept up with Aja ever since and wanted to introduce her to the Strong Athletic Community. In this post you'll meet Aja, find out about what she does for her clients and you'll be introduced to the term multipotentialite. We hope you enjoy this interview.
Tell us your name, your pronouns and where you are from?
Aja Marsh, she/her
I grew up in San Antonio, TX, and then went to college in Florida, and spent the majority of my adult years in NYC until my partner and I moved to Santa Fe, NM in 2015 for a change of pace and scenery.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your focus is as a momentum coach.
Professionally and personally I have done a bit of everything and wholeheartedly embrace the label multipotentialite*, coined by Emilie Wapnick. I’ve explored many careers and passions rooted in a desire to do good.
I studied photography and design, trained and worked as a natural foods private chef, founded a community-based running club in Brooklyn, managed projects at a sustainability nonprofit, managed operations at an organic food manufacturer, and currently work in human resources at a spa resort.
In my non-work time, I love to read, get outside, work on my veggie garden, and eat big salads.
In my work as a Momentum Coach, I help ambitious, driven people, primarily BIWOC, achieve their goals by giving them the tools and guidance to set intention-centered goals and create the path for getting there. And true to my multipotentialite nature, I work with people in a few different ways: running and fitness (I’m a certified running coach and personal trainer), financial wellness, and general personal development and accountability.
You seem to be a mission-driven trainer/coach, please tell us a bit about what drives and motivates you or what you are passionate about?
Through my own meandering path, I have gained empowerment by pushing my mind and body through fitness and play while also practicing finding more patience through gardening and mindfulness.
For me, it all begins with intention--no matter what “lens” we’re looking through, I always try to get to the root of why we want what we want. Because once we really understand that, free from the distraction and limitations of external influence, we can be empowered to move forward from a place of confidence and excitement.
And ultimately, I believe we need to be challenged and supported to do what it takes to make our life great, and that’s what I’m really focused on in my work.
How has your experience been as a coach and a business owned during COVID-19?
On one hand, it’s helped me to reach a broader audience since, in the summer of 2020, virtual events really took hold and I presented many workshops and webinars through partnerships with organizations like Ladies Get Paid and General Assembly. It’s been great to connect with folks from all over the world this way and I’ve continued to offer my usual group and individual coaching services.
But on the other hand, it meant the in-person work I did with some of my running clients went away as races were canceled and working in-person wasn’t feasible. I have continued to work with a couple of clients remotely as they competed in virtual races and/or craved the structure, challenge, and accountability of a training plan.
All in all, it’s been a mixed bag, and I’m excited to see where things go from here.
You have a Strong Athletic shirt (which we love). Why do you choose to wear Strong Athletic? How do the shirts make you feel or what do you hope they make others see in theirselves?
When I saw Nadia’s small Strong Athletic stand at the 2020 Austin Marathon Expo, I was immediately intrigued. As a short, petite woman I have often been underestimated as to what I’ve been capable of physically and I’ve always been proud to be strong and athletic.
Wearing my “Strong Athletic Woman” tank on runs always gives me a confidence boost and reminds me of what I’m capable of--so important during those hard sessions. And I also hope when I wear it and am running through my neighborhood or across town that someone sees it, sees me, and maybe feels a little inspired.
Is there any part of your personal story that you like to share with people, and that you’d like to write about for the blog which drives you?
I participated in team sports my entire childhood and enjoyed them all, though I was not particularly “great” at any of them. It wasn’t until I started running track in high school I saw that I could be on a team and still compete with myself. I wasn’t naturally the fastest (and am still not!), but I worked hard and put in my best effort season after season. And I began to see what was possible when I pushed myself outside of my comfort zones: faster times, stronger body, healthier mind.
I never won any real awards in high school track, but that work ethic and integrity created a foundation for so many things I have done since--on and off the road.
Running has been a big part of my adult identity and although i have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it at times, it gives me so much. And I’m still finding ways to challenge myself--including qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2019 (thanks to many nudges and endless support from my partner who is an excellent runner) and I hope to run Boston this fall after 2020’s cancelation.
Do you have any special coaching or training methods you like to utilize while working with your clients? Any tips or ‘how to’s’ that you’d like to share?
There are two things I stress to my clients across the board:
- Pre-Hab! Prepare your mind and body for what you’re about to work towards. Identify what obstacles might get in the way of success (a weak ankle, an over-committed schedule, chronic illness, etc.) and start planning ahead of time how you will overcome those challenges when they arise.So if you’re training for a race or a competition, make sure you put some extra attention into strengthening your weak spots. If you’re working towards a big personal or professional goal, make sure you’re clear on your intention and what it will take to get where you want to go. Avoid future excuses and set yourself up for success.
- Do anything at all. We often waste a lot of time waiting for the “right” moment or to “feel ready” or to be “motivated”, but this is all BS! We gain confidence, momentum, motivation through action. There will never be a right time and you will (probably) never be magically inspired to do the thing. So whether you start with one pushup, a run around the block, saving $5, or writing one sentence, it’s more important that you start anywhere than starting “perfectly”. Start now.
Are there any people that really inspire you and that have influenced the person that you’ve become or are striving to be?
Everyday people living life according to their own rules, showing up as their fullest selves, and doing the things that really mean something to them individually. These folks inspire me every day to be more true to myself and to help my clients and friends and family do the same.
Find Aja on her website www.ajamarsh.com and on Instagram: @aja.marsh
If you'd like to learn more about the meaning behind multipotentialite, coined by Emilie Wapnick, click here to be *redirected to Ted.com.
This blog post covers the following topics: momentum coaching, financial coach, online remote running coach, Aja Marsh, being a multipotentialite, being a strong athletic woman