Meet Ada Pozo
May 30, 2022
How old are you?
I am 50 years old.
Tell us a little about Ada Pozo.
I am a mother, a wife, a lawyer, and an athlete. I am Cuban-American. I was born in and grew up in Miami. My parents came from Cuba.
I’m tenacious, a hard worker and often quite stubborn when I set my mind to something. I refuse to be told I can’t so something because I’m too young, too old, a woman, not connected with the right people, or any other reason for that matter.
Being a trial lawyer, former judge, t.v. show host, radio personality, business owner, not to meantime a mom…. How in the world do you find time for fitness?
I schedule my workouts on my calendar just as I do my work. I find that early mornings work best for me. Usually that means that I’m the first person to wake up in my house every morning. Although it is sometimes a struggle to get out of bed before the sun is up, it so worth it. I feel very empowered when it’s 9am and I’ve already done more than most people do all day.
How old were you when you started on your health & fitness journey?
I began to get serious about my fitness in my early 40's as I felt my body changing. It was no longer as simple to diet and lose a couple of pounds and no longer sustainable to yoyo with my weight. I felt at that time that I had 2 alternatives, accept aging and slow down or get disciplined and consistent with my fitness and enjoy many more years of mobility and health. The latter was the obvious choice.
The Latina demographic is grossly underrepresented in the fitness industry. In your opinion, what impact is this having on Latina women’s outlook toward health and wellness?
The Latina demographic is in fact grossly underrepresented in the fitness and wellness industry. It is very difficult for immigrant woman that are trying to learn a new language, assimilate to a new cultural, and often times just barely financially surviving to prioritize themselves. As women and specially Latina Women, most of the caretaking of children, elderly parents, and our homes falls on us. It is up to us to change the narrative and prioritize our health. This is something that needs to start from an early age.
Latina women are unfortunately not often encouraged to participate in sports growing up, as our cultural does not place much importance on women’s organized sports. This message from a young age whether direct or subliminal has a huge impact on our lifelong outlook toward health and fitness.
My parents would have preferred I participate in ballet or gymnastics than soccer. My mother felt soccer was "too violent" for women and didn't encourage my participation. My father claimed to agree with my mother, but he never missed one of my games.
Some days are harder than others to get yourself to workout. What do you tell yourself that gets you to go anyways?
I pride myself in being a very disciplined person. It is on those days that I lack motivation that I remind myself that consistency is key. I have learned from experience that if I don’t get that workout in, I will feel tired and unmotivated all day. While if I force myself to get the gym, I always feel better after a workout.
Why Spartan races (or peloton) and not something else?
I watched a video about Spartan races and was petrified. I’m not a big fan of heights and the idea of scaling up and down a wall with no harness was so frightening that it was exciting. I’m a firm believer in the motto “do something every day that scares you.” Spartan races seemed like the perfect way to challenge myself not just physically but also mentally. I was hooked after my first one.
My Peloton became my lifeline during the pandemic lockdowns. Not only did I find it to be a great way to get my cardio in, I fell in love with the instructors. At a time when contact with the outside world was basically nonexistent, I found motivation and a sense of community with the instructors and fellow cyclists on the leaderboard. This has continued post lockdowns. I often joke that several of the instructors don’t know it, but we’re best friends. I look forward to their classes not only for the workouts but for the motivating speeches given by the instructors while I’m sweating all over my bike.
You started your own business from scratch in your 40s. How did your age contribute to the success of your decision?
Starting a business at any age is tough. By the time I was in my 40s I had the experience and maturity to be successful. I had established myself in the legal community and built a reputation that served me very well in starting my business. Staying with the government and collecting a steady paycheck and having a nice pension was the obvious easy choice. The thing is, I’ve never liked easy. I enjoy a challenge, I enjoy working hard, and I have never regretted my decision to start my business.
Like so many women, you have lost and gains 20# a dozen times in your life, reflecting on these times what is the biggest takeaway or lesson you’ve learn?
I have learned to love my body at every size. My health is more important than fitting into my skinny jeans. Moderation is key. I no longer starve myself with crazy crash diets. I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to undo the damage I did to my metabolism with unhealthy eating habits. Today, I never miss a meal. In the past I would go hungry all day and then overeat in the evening. It messed with my metabolism and has caused damage that has taken me years to reverse. I no longer eat gluten and have found that to really help in maintaining my weight. I’m proud of how far I’ve come not just physically but also mentally. The number on the scale no longer defines how I feel about myself.
What about turning 50 has changed your outlook about body image?
I remember being in my 20s and 30s and thinking 50 was “old”. I figured that at 50 I would be shopping at those over 50 stores my mother shopped at. As I got closer to 50 and fitness became a big part of my life, I felt empowered. I am proud of my body. A body that made two beautiful children, survived years of unhealthy dieting, and a body that at 50 feels stronger than it ever has. At 50 I shop anywhere I want and wear whatever I want.
How do you want your daughter to view aging?
I want my daughter to be excited about aging and not be afraid of it. With age comes confidence, strength, and power. I hope to teach her this not just by telling her, but more importantly by example.
How has your fitness journey had an impact on how your mom views her own health and fitness?
Interesting you should ask, because my 87 year old mother calls me every day to let me know how far she was able to walk on the treadmill or how long she rode her stationary bike for. It took her several decades longer than me, but she has realized that the only way she can keep her mobility is to work at it. She does think I am out of my mind for doing Spartan Races, but I do know that a part of her is proud to have a bad ass 50 year old daughter.
What is your most memorable moment in your fitness journey?
My most memorable moment in my fitness journey was competing in a Spartan Race with my son who at the time was an 18 year old varsity football team captain. We were several miles and obstacles in when we got to one of the dreaded wall climbs in the race. I froze and told my son to go on without me. He stopped in front of me held on to my shoulders and said, “Mom, you have never let me quit, and I’m letting you quit.” In front of me was no longer a little boy, but a man that I had raised to be a fighter, and here he was reminding me where he got it from. We climbed that wall together and crossing that finish line together made all of the training worthwhile.
What fitness accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am very proud of my commitment. I had played soccer in high school and had done cardio based classes at the gym throughout my 20s and 30s, but I hadn’t really considered myself an athlete until my 40s. It was in my 40s that I started weight training and consistently working out five days a week.
For the last seven years my days have begun with a workout and I am very proud of that.
What advice do you have for other women over 35 looking to get started?
It’s okay to ask for help to get started. The older we get the more self sufficient we feel we should be, which often works to our detriment. I have found it extremely helpful to have a personal trainer that continuously pushes me to do more than I think I can. I have cut other luxuries out of my budget to ensure I can afford the training and it is the best money I have ever spent. If you can’t or don’t want to hire a personal trainer, try group fitness classes. You don’t have to go at it alone. It takes a village to raise children and it also takes a village to take care of yourself. Find like minded women and inspire each other.
What would you change with how women approach their health, if you could.
It all goes back to that demonstration given by flight attendants before a flight takes off. They always remind you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. As women we are so busy taking care of everyone else that we lose ourselves. Our health should be our number one priority. Without our health we can’t take care of anyone else. Move away from thinking it is selfish to take care of yourself.