I am so very excited to share an interview with Victoria, creator of the Tangoflex® workout (review coming later this week!). She’s such an inspiration-with a new baby, and a new workout, and huge dreams. Tangoflex® is an amazing flexibility workout-think Eccentrics meets P57…with attitude. I love it, and Smalls loves to do it with me! I’m hooked on the core routine in her original workout.
Tangoflex® focuses on flexibility, balance, core strength, and coordination.
The Tangoflex philosophy is to have fun, to love your body from the inside out, and to let your light shine through.
Tangoflex is about knowing and understanding your body and yourself.
Victoria’s story is inspiring, and her workouts are So.Much.Fun. I can’t wait to share them with you!
Tell me a little bit about your background-where you’re from, what you wanted to be when you (eventually) grow up, what’s your favorite food, etc.?
I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I lived there till I was 19 years old. I always loved to help people and I am passionate about defending the ones that are less fortunate and cannot afford legal services.
I wanted to give them a voice, so I decided to become a lawyer. In Argentina you go to Law School right after high school and you study law for 6 years to become a lawyer. I did the first two years of Law before life took me to the United States.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
Everything started with training in ballet and in gymnastics at a very young age. Having that training caused me to develop a mind set and the belief that I can do whatever I set my mind to.
One of my dreams was to study here in the United States, so initially I thought of a possibility of a scholarship in gymnastics. But there were a few obstacles, one of them was that my parents did not want me to move to the United States.
I started studying English in order to take the SAT and required university tests. I began applying to several universities to see if I could get a scholarship in the sport that I love. One day I woke up and said: “I am going, I am going to make it all on my own.”
I was ready to take on whatever challenges life may bring. So I came to the United States, at just 19 years old, I did not speak the language, I had very little money, and I was alone! I am a very independent person and asking my parents for money was never an option for me, especially as they wanted their ‘little girl’ home.
I wanted my independence and did not want to ask for anything from anyone. I wanted to earn every accomplishment, little or big on my own. My mom always inspired me to get an education and to get a degree, and she said how important it is for women to get an education, because if you have education, you have power.
If you have power you can fly!
So the first thing I did when I arrived in the states was to enroll in college. I worked, I tutored other students in French, Spanish and Math, and meanwhile I was learning the language and the culture. I was even a cheerleader, and that was fun!
It took me about a year to learn the language and I started tutoring students in English Grammar. I majored in Advertising and Public Relations, and after graduating, I had to decide between going back to Law School or doing my masters.
I decided to do my masters in Interpersonal Communication and I was offered a scholarship, invited to become a member of an Honors Society, and was also given a teaching position. I worked as an Adjunct Professor of Communication.
A few years back I did not speak the language and now, here I was teaching college students about communication (and we were pretty much the same age!). That, along with my thesis and writing a few scientific articles that were published in the American Psychology Journal was my first true accomplishment.
These were accomplishments that overwhelmed me with happiness and a sense of pride. I remember that the day that I did my thesis defense: I got the most rewarding comments from the professors on my thesis committee. Their comments truly touched my heart and made me so humble, yet at the same time so very proud.
I believe in dreaming, but I also believe in hard work, in perseverance, in giving it all to accomplish your goals and your dreams.
In the meantime, I also taught fitness. I worked my full time job, then went to the University to teach and then to the gym to teach fitness. I was the instructor in the gym who taught the late fitness classes. I taught one particular class called “Flexibility Yoga” where I worked with college athletes and dancers.
Many of them came to my class with sore muscles , back pain, muscle spasms. Others just wanted to increase their range of motion to perform more efficiently in their sports. What happened with this particular class was that the flow of the class and the format was so unique that participants started talking about it.
The class became so large that we started adding more classes. Every class reached their limit of members attending: 80 people per class!
Participants would tell me, “This is not a yoga class, but whatever it is, I love it!” The truth is that it was not a ‘yoga’ class, it was something different. I knew that something big was about to happen, I just didn’t know what.
I began investigating the benefits of stretching and flexibility from the physiological and functional aspects applied to different stages of people’s lives. Soon after I started to scientifically make sense of all of this.
After 15 years of teaching fitness and flexibility, Tangoflex® was born. I wrote my first book on flexibility and aging. I also researched why tango music has amazing effects on memory, patterns, and continuity of movement.
The combination of music and movement could have exponential results.
After writing the book I came across a neurosurgeon that was interested in the Tangoflex® method. He specialized in back surgeries and Parkinson’s Disease, so I started using the method with his patients. After practicing Tangoflex®, their pain went away.
Most patients did not need surgery, and for his Parkinson’s patients after only on or two Tangoflex® sessions, they could overcome some of their challenges, such as freezing attacks, improve turns, continuity in the walk and better posture, among others. It changed their lives!
That is my next project. Tangoflex® for Parkinson’s.
I had a huge demand for the class and gyms began contacting me to teach Tangoflex®. I got emails from from people who wanted to practice Tangoflex® from all over the States and even Internationally!
So I created the first Tangoflex® DVD, which includes a full 50 minute Tangoflex® class and 5 min lower back pain release routine; a 10 min Balance routine; and a 15 min Core Strength routine.
I want to share my passion with everyone!
I also work with athletes (tennis, baseball, dancers, golfers, MMA, soccer) and make specific flexibility training plans depending on the sport, age, and the athlete’s needs.
What is your fitness background?
I was a very active child. My mom always says that I could not stop jumping and flipping on the couches, chairs and everywhere around the house. I started ballet at age 3, then gymnastics at 5. A few years later I became a member of the National Gymnastics Federation where I competed for 12 years.
I started training and competing at a very young age. My life revolved around gymnastics. I started my day very early to do physical preparation, then went to school, then back to the gym. I practiced until 10:00 p.m. every night, and 5 hours on Saturday.
I basically grew up in a gym. Gymnastics (at a competitive level) requires full commitment, dedication, and concentration. You have to give it all: mind and body, to the sport. I did not see myself doing anything else.
Gymnastics taught me about dedication, concentration, and hard work; about physical and mental pain; and about overcoming obstacles. I continued to practice gymnastics in college. Life as a gymnast is very short, and as a very active individual I was very interested in sports and fitness.
It was when I got certified as a Group Fitness Instructor in everything related to fitness: Spin, Weight Training, Personal Training, Nutrition, Weight Loss. I also acquired Specialities Certifications, such as Pre and Post Natal Fitness, Metabolic Diseases and Disorders; Major Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diseases and Disorders; Osteoporosis and Osteopenia; Arthritis and Fitness; among others.
But I always had a special place in my heart for flexibility. I was not naturally flexible, I had to work extremely hard to gain flexibility. What I realized that there are no classes focused specifically on deep muscle flexibility.
I wanted to work on dynamic and static flexibility at the neuromuscular level, connecting body and mind, not only through a pose but maintaining flexibility through body movement.
I always practiced dance as well. I had classical training and at 15 years old I started Tango. Initially this was to choreograph a gymnastics floor routine, But I ended up falling in love with the dance and I continue Tango today. After 20 years of dancing tango, I am a professional tango dancer, choreographer, teacher, and performer.
When did you know that this was the path for you?
I love sports and fitness. I love every aspect of it. I also love to be able to back up ideas with scientific concepts. I love to research everything that is connected with the human body, specially body movement.
In Tangoflex® I emphasize the body-mind connection to our internal musicality, and how we project confidence through movement.
I put all of me, my experience, my passion, the scientific research, the connection between body and mind, the ability to believe, the physical aspects of the human body into my Tangoflex® Method. And everything came together.
You just became a mom not too long ago…what was the most surprising thing about motherhood?
I became a Mom 5 months ago and to me the most surprising thing about motherhood was the instant, greatest, most pure kind of love. Nothing compares to that. People can tell you what it feels like, but you really understand it when it happens to you. I look into my baby’s eyes and I can communicate with him in a thousand silent ways. That connection is the most pure, selfless true kind of love.
Has motherhood changed your view on fitness? How?
When I was pregnant I recorded Tangoflex® For Mommies. This new workout is based on the Tangoflex® method, but is unique and different form other workouts out there. It is low impact and focuses on each specific challenge that we go through during pregnancy.
The workout prepares your body ready for delivery and post partum recovery. I filmed the DVD’s at the end of each trimester and doing those exercises ignited a special connection with my baby. I felt that we were working out together, even stretching together!
As a professional dancer your figure is very important and to me my body was the instrument that got me to reach the highest goals and achievements, in gymnastics and dance. However, after having the baby, the pressure of bouncing back and looking perfect right after delivering the baby went away.
I was overwhelmed with love that I did not even think about having my body back so soon. I loved this body now that just delivered a baby and I knew that I had to let time do its job. I started working out after 6 weeks of having the baby.
I kept doing the Tangoflex® for Mommies, but I reversed the trimesters, I started with the third trimester, that is low impact and focuses on breathing and relaxation and of course posture and core control, when I felt strong enough I moved to the second trimester and finally to the first trimester.
By the time I did the first trimeter exercises, at about 4 months after Valentino was born, I was at the body weight and shape I had before pregnancy. I started doing Tango shows at 3 months after delivering the baby.
The pressure I had was that we had scheduled shows as soon as 3 months after delivering the baby! I had to to fit in those show dresses, and I wasn’t sure they would fit!
Being a working mom is a big job! How do you find time?
Finding time is a challenge indeed! What I learned when Valentino was born is to be 100% in the moment. Whatever I am doing I am there 100%:
- If I am working, I give it 100%.
- If I am with my husband enjoying family time, I am there 100%.
- If I am with baby I am with him 100%.
I never feed my baby with my phone on my hand, I don’t even bring the phone with me when I am with the baby. I realized that they grow so fast. I don’t want to miss any moment.
I have been with my husband for 15 years, married for 10 years (wow time flies!). We are professional Tango Dancers, instructors and performers. We traveled to the most exotic places to teach tango and to perform. I’ve been to India, Japan, Ecuador, Argentina, and Europe!
When Valentino came into the world, We did not want to stop doing the things we love, rather we wanted him to be part of it. At times is extremely hard to make it all work. I feel very lucky to have the best babysitter in the world: my mom! She comes with us and when we are performing my mom and my baby get to watch the shows.
What are you top 3 tips for new moms out there?
First, teach by example. Children are like little sponges. They observe everything!
Communicate with your children, husband, partner, and family. If there is something that is not working or not making you happy, communicate those feelings with your partner, don’t expect for them to understand what you are thinking, because they don’t! So make it easier on them and on yourself and talk about things that are bothering you or that need attention.
Take time for yourself. As women we are naturally predisposed to give. We give our time, our love, our patience, we give it all. Take time for yourself to recharge. Take an hour everyday to do something that you enjoy.
Take time to relax and breathe. For me this is the time when I do Tangoflex®, I put my own DVD and just follow directions I don’t think, I just do… I relax, I breathe and I stretch and my whole body seems to gain the strength I need and on the inside I feel like I just had an internal body massage. Priceless.
I also take a few minutes to read at night. This is the time that I like to read about things that have nothing to do with the business, but that make me grow as a human being.
If a child walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi is “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
If a child walked up to me asking for advice and I had only a few minutes I will tell him or her:
“Learn as much as you can, respect your peers and your elders and believe in your dreams. With education, sense of respect, and a dream, you can conquer the world!”
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