Despite 2020 seeming like it was perhaps a giant dumpster fire, Women came out on top! Women did a tremendous job of getting. shit. done. I am inspired every day by local women I see get up and paved their own way in this still male-driven world ( I know men cue the sigh) but for real women do still have it harder. We are expected to keep everything moving, not have emotion in careers, and then not complain. So I believe that suppression pushes women to make sure they do their own thing. It makes some truly BADASS WOMEN. Each Wednesday I will be featuring a local fierce, independent, smart, and courageous woman that shows there is no glass ceiling because they blew the roof off!
My first lady truly defines badass. A mom, fitness guru, wife, and just damn inspirational.
Tonya Robinson, co-owner of Max Level Fitness & Athletics (yourmaxlevel.com) in Saratoga. I was able to ask her a few questions to get more insight into who she is, how she got there, and how she keeps going. After hearing her responses I was pushed out of my chair and forced to rock out a few jumping jacks, she made me feel that not only should but I could. Her shirt says it all, meet the Queen of Beasts!
Q. 1 When did the entrepreneur bug bite you?
Tonya : I always knew I wanted to work for myself, not for "the man" or anyone else for that matter. That said, I wasn't confident enough to actually do so until about 10 years ago. I worked in Corporate and Tech PR for one of the largest global agencies around and was absolutely miserable - living in a big city by myself, unhealthy (mentally and physically), and just not fulfilled. When my dad got sick (he's okay now!), I moved home from Boston back to Saratoga Springs to be with him and my family; I knew I'd never return. I started working at a small boxing club, quit my corporate job a couple of years in, and then started working for myself, with my then-boyfriend (and now husband).
Q. 2 What is your passion?
Tonya: My husband and I own our own adult fitness and athlete training facility (Max Level Fitness & Athletics) so the obvious answer is fitness, health, and wellness, but all of this stems from my broader passion - helping people. I love being with people, helping them build confidence, and watching them achieve their goals, whatever they may be. We only have one body to live in and we all need to take care of it and enjoy it as much as we can. My goal is to help as many people as possible realize and strive to be the best version of themselves in every way. Our society needs to be more proactive and less reactive when it comes to our physical, mental, and emotional health, and I'd like to think I can contribute to that.
Q.3 Who were the women mentors that encouraged you or inspired you?
Tonya : There were a couple of women who inspired me to do my own thing and just go for it (shoutout to my mom, the Queen of Queens, and the boxing club owner for seeing my potential before I did!). That said, there were A LOT more men who really pushed me - not because of their encouragement or positive reinforcement but more so due to their opposition and deterrence. My husband is one of the only men (besides my dad, of course) who supported me, pushed me, and reassured me. Nathaniel (my husband) calls me the secret weapon to our success, but really it's both of us and we're such a good team and partners - he's the yin to my yang in every way. I'm all about women empowerment but I'm also about equality and leveraging the good men around us to thrive, too.
Q.4 Why did you pick your business niche? Was this something you went to school for etc?
Tonya: Fitness has always been an interest of mine, but it became more of a passion when I met my husband who has a degree in Exercise Science. I really learned how to workout from him - it's definitely a science and how you deliver it is an art. I'm more of the art side of fitness - focusing on the fun, entertaining, vibe, and community aspect; I leave the science up to him. I actually went to school for Communications and Political Science and I have a Master of Science in Public Relations - so not directly related to fitness but it all 100% contributes to the success of our business. I do all of the business and PR side of things over here. I'm big on using my strengths and seeing my weaknesses as strengths in others - working together to make it work.
Q.5 What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?
Tonya : I do this for myself and my family - my husband, Nathaniel, my son, Maxon & my daughter (who's still in my belly), Lola, as well as my parents, sister & extended family. Family is so important to me, and it becomes more and more important every year it seems. I need to take care of myself to take care of others well, so I put myself first sometimes, and I think more women should.
Q. 6 How do you balance your entrepreneur life with friends/family that don’t understand the challenges we experience?
Tonya: The balance gets a lot easier for me with every year. You've gotta have (and keep) the right people in your corner. I'm blessed enough to have the ultimate support system - both at home with my family helping with my babies and (literally) building my business, as well as an amazing team of coaches who I trust to run this place without me and my husband. Balance starts with YOU. I think there's a lot of men out there who are so into themselves and want their name on everything that they don't really get to reap the benefits of their hard work. You won't catch me training at 70 years old or ever working a 9-5 again. You'll catch me on the beach or traveling Europe with my family and friends while my business runs with the younger, fresher, and hungry entrepreneurs who come after us. Don't get me wrong - we were grinding hard for the first couple of years (and still are), but I see so much potential in our business with or without us, which is very rewarding and reassuring.
Q.7 What Is the mission of your business/job?
Tonya: Max Level Fitness & Athletics specializes in adult fitness & youth athlete training. Our Lions & Lionesses aim to achieve MAX fitness potential - adults staying fit & aging well, athletes safely outperforming the competition, & ALL sustaining long-term results. We’re a community grounded in service, education & working with local specialists to empower adults, athletes & entire families to be the best versions of themselves - every day….& well beyond the gym. Is your goal weight loss, building strength, sports performance, injury rehab, or just an overall healthier lifestyle? Are you serious about your goals? MLFA is the place you come to if you want to train for real life!
Q.8 What do you want readers to know about your business?
Tonya: I want people to know that fitness is for everyone and you do see results when you put in the work and have the right template. We're the template, but you've gotta put in the work... and it takes time. All are welcome at Max Level Fitness & Athletics if you're ready to WORK - women, men, and kids - we've got something (that works!) for everyone! Nothing worth it comes easy or quick, and I think the fitness industry is really inundated with (false) social media expectations - girl, photo editing apps are REAL! BUT so are the results you get from busting your ass and working hard. Young girls need to know their power and worth, know that they deserve respect, that they can do anything a guy can do (if not better), and know how amazing they are. Ladies - we can make babies; we can literally grow life. How amazing is that? And we CAN bounce back from it, sisters! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect, hit us up on social media or our website - www.yourmaxlevel.com to connect and continue being the best version of yourself NOW; it's never too late!
Q.9 With many challenges with being a woman in business, what about being a badass woman has benefited you and your business?
Tonya: I think it's crucial to do YOU, and only you. I've seen a lot of great women kill it, but I'm not them and I"m not gonna try to be them. I'm not your typical sister for sure, but I'm true to who I am - day in and day out. I swear, I speak my mind and you know what you're getting with me. I want to see women succeed - your success does not mean my failure. Basic is BORING. If we don't support each other as women, how can we ever expect men to?? I stand up for what I believe in, I speak out if something is wrong and I sleep well knowing that I'm doing the best I can every day - even if my best isn't so great that day. We can't be so damn hard on ourselves - we've gotta live and love - and I hope this shines through in my daily life as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, and business owner.
Q.10 Finally - What is a quote that inspires you !
Tonya : Good 'ole Dr. Seuss got it right - "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Or in my own words - "FAWBA - F**k Around, Won't Be Around!"
To learn more about how this Bad Ass Woman can help you visit their site! For you all, you moms out there they do offer awesome programs to kids as well. This business is an amazing, unique small business locally that deserves our support!
165 High Rock Ave
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
T: (518)596-0380 N: (518)369-4512