Girls Inc. Online Home

Meet Ary!

FirstName LastName

Kicking Into High Gear 

Ary Nunez started practicing martial arts when she was five years old and she hasn’t stopped since. Now, she’s mastered her skills, branched out to explore her dreams, and is building her own fitness empire as a personal trainer and entrepreneur.

Photo Credit: Kristian Ranker

What is a typical day like for you?

I get up every morning at 4 or 5 a.m. and I walk three-quarters of a mile to the train. I like to warm up in the morning before I do anything to get my mind and my body going. It’s a form of meditation for me. Then I train clients in the morning from 6 or 7 a.m. to about noon. Around mid-day I work on creating projects or develop existing projects, and build my business. Then in the evening I teach classes at a gym or train clients.

You do so many things, how did you get where you are today? What was your career path?

My father was a martial artist, so I started karate at five. Then I began tae kwon do and kung fu. I was also a dancer.

I put myself through college then went to work for a cruise line doing marketing work. The company re-located from New York to Miami and gave employees the option to keep their jobs and move to Miami or stay in New York, receive one full year of pay, and find a new job. I told myself that this meant that I now had one full year to develop what I really wanted to do.

I designed a fitness class based on martial arts and dance, got certified as a personal trainer, and started practicing. Gyms went crazy wanting to host my class and it became really popular. I started receiving press and responding to it. Life just happens. It’s like catching a ball and saying, “This is an opportunity, what will I do with it?”

In your workouts you combine dance and martial arts. What made you incorporate these specific styles?

My goal in life is to fuse everything, and I think that’s because I come from a mixed background(Dominican, Spanish, Argentinean, Haitian, and English). Nothing exists alone and we are affected by everything, whether it’s your environment, your family, your genes, or your culture. If you take hip-hop and kung fu and fuse them together it becomes a completely different movement and it’s beautiful.

I also think fusion promotes education. [It might encourage you] to learn more about the regions where these arts, like kung fu and hip-hop for example, originated. I fuse culture, movement, and philosophy because I like to mix it all up and see what happens.

What advice do you have for girls who want to turn their interest in sports into a career?

  1. You need an education and a strong foundation. No matter what your passion is you need support.

  2. Practice everyday. No one feels 100 percent everyday, so one day you might want to work on a certain aspect of your sport or maybe you need to meditate and think about your sport.

  3. Embrace your talents and let go of what you think people expect you to do because if you know what your talents are, you won’t second-guess yourself. You have to trust yourself, whatever shape or color you are.

  4. You should compete against yourself, not your competitor, not your neighbor. If you compete against yourself you’re always going to be better.

As a fitness instructor how do you motivate your students, especially when they are new to a class?

I like to motivate people by finding something that we share and just making people feel comfortable and welcome. I start class by saying that we’re all in the same place and let’s focus on what we’re doing now. Let’s get out of yesterday and tomorrow and just focus on “right now.” Once you are in the moment you don’t care about what everyone else is doing and you just focus on yourself.

In previous interviews you have said that you are very aware that you are a role model, especially for young Latinas. Who were your role models growing up?

My first role model was my father for giving me the practice of martial arts, literature, and confidence. My mom instilled spirituality and girl power in me. She also raised four children alone after my dad passed away when I was young. I never went without and I never felt poor. She showed me that you may not be perfect, but you can do whatever you want to do.

My secondary role models were my teachers. I also believe in God because I think that there is something bigger then me. If I’m alone and I’m having a problem I pray.

You have your own non-profit organization that uses fitness and health to empower youth. What made you want to start an organization that works specifically with kids? What has been the most rewarding experience you have gained by working with youth?

I had a challenging childhood and I want to offer opportunities to children. My non-profit started as a reaction to what my community (the Latino community) looked like. It is in a scary state and I wanted to educate older people who were stuck in their ways by getting their kids to work out and have the children influence their parents.

I am also volunteering for an organization called New Alternatives for Children, Incorporated, which works with children with medical challenges, and this upcoming school semester I will be teaching middle school girls martial arts, which is very exciting for me!

What do you do for fun?

I love kung fu, spending time with friends and family, eating, exploring the world and its many cultures, watching movies, laughing so hard it hurts, walking, jogging, and dancing with my friends on Friday nights. I love to dream and I always write down my dreams, but once I write them down I have to make them happen.

What's Next?

  • How in tune are you with YOUR body? Try some of these fun activities!

  • Meet more inspiring girls and women.