Episode 052: How Exercise Impacts Your Business with Stephany Acosta


Show Notes

Are you overwhelmed thinking about all of the things you need to do to get healthy? So much so that you feel like giving up? Don’t overcomplicate it.

In this episode, I sit down with the wonderful Stephany Acosta. We chat about how your physical health also impacts your business health and we give you a few simple steps you can take now to get back on track.



About Stephany

Stephany, founder of Elevate Fitness, worked in the telecommunications industry for 6 years before deciding to pursue a career in fitness. Her fitness journey started out in Track & Field and Hip Hop Dance. She then received her personal training certification at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas. She has since furthered her education by receiving certifications in Biomechanics, Functional Fitness Training, Dietary Guidance and Master Fitness Training. She has been in the industry for 17 years and has had the opportunity to work with all fitness levels from people that struggle with their weight to figure and triathlon competitors. After working with some of the best trainers in the business, Stephany decided to open her own health and wellness company and help those in the corporate world find balance in their health and wellness. 


Connect with Stephany

You can connect with Stephany and Elevate Fitness on Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin!


Connect with Michelle

You can follow Michelle on Instagram or join her Free Facebook Community!


Thank you to our sponsors for their support!

Satanoff Insurance is focused on client connections and customized coverage … Be sure to tell them we sent you! 

Foyr Interior Design Software helps you create 3D floor plans & Interior Designs … Check them out!

Have ideas or suggestions or want to be considered as a guest on the show? Email me!



Michelle Lynne: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. This is Designed for the Creative Mind. It is a podcast for business, for interior designers, and for creatives. And I'm super excited that you guys are here today, because I have something that is near and dear to my heart that we're going to discuss.

I want to introduce Stephanie Acosta. She is the founder of Elevate Fitness here in Dallas, Texas. She has been in personal training for 17 years now, and she actually owns the gym that I go to. She's trained me quite a few times, and she's got an amazing team.

We're here today to talk about health and fitness and how it impacts you as a business owner. So welcome, Stephanie. I'm super excited that you're here.

Stephanie Acosta: I'm really excited to be here. And honored. Thank you so much for having me.

Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, absolutely. Let's just dig in a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into the fitness industry?

Stephanie Acosta: Before I got into fitness, I was in corporate. After high school, I thought that the next thing for me to do was to get a nine to five job, something administrative. When I started on that journey, I did a little bit of office management, I did a little bit of clerical, and then I got into telecommunications.

I was in the Telecom industry for about five years, and I did everything from sales to management. There's a very high turnover in this industry. It took about five years, but I went through quite a few jobs before I started to realize that I wasn't happy doing it. I was just doing it for a paycheck. I wasn't doing it because it was something I was passionate about.

I realized in retrospect, that the timing of the transition from corporate to what I'm doing now was perfect. I had just gotten laid off from a job and that was when I really thought about how I'm tired of this industry. I thought to myself that I don't want to be here, I don't like having to work for 10 hours at a desk, and by the time I get home, I don't like that I'm so tired and wiped out that I don't want to do anything else.

When I was in school, I was an athlete. I did cheerleading, track, and volleyball. I was very active. And I went from a very active environment to a very sedentary environment in corporate. I think that had a huge impact on me with not being happy, because I'm a person that needs to be active.

After asking myself the question of what is the one thing that if I had all the money in the world, I would still get up and still want to do it. The two things that came to mind was dance and fitness. So I chose a fitness route. I was about 25 when I made that decision, and with dance, you have to get into that very early on, otherwise it is really hard to establish yourself. So fitness was what I chose. And I think, now 17 years later, it was the right decision.

Michelle Lynne: Absolutely, no kidding. I think a lot of our listeners will resonate with that. Because, you know, as interior designers and as creatives, I think that we can resonate with the fact that you have to pursue what you're passionate about. It's not always about the paycheck, although keeping the lights on is important.

Stephanie Acosta: Yeah, absolutely. I think as a business owner, even when you're doing something that you're passionate about, there's still aspects of the business that you're not passionate about. But the passion of what you do will keep you going through those moments of having to do things you don't necessarily want to do.

Michelle Lynne: And that's life. There's a little bit of cross reference there. Because in life, there's things you don't want to do. Like, I don't want to do laundry, and I don't want to do the dishes, but it has to get done.

So let's talk a little bit about Elevate Fitness. What is the mission? What do you guys stand for? Let's just get a little background there.

Stephanie Acosta: So my mission statement is that we would help people transform not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, using a fitness program that's going to be conducive to their fitness level. So everybody has a preconceived notion of what they need to do to get into shape, or to get healthy, or to lose weight, or to get to that bikini goal, right? And 99.9% of the time, they're wrong.

Michelle Lynne: I can speak from experience there!

Stephanie Acosta: Yeah, and it's because we put unrealistic goals on ourselves. I think probably all of your business owner listeners are going to be able to resonate with that. You think you can do so much, and sometimes it's not even that you think you can, you think you have to. You feel like you are obligated to do all of these things, otherwise, they won't get done.

So the same mindset that you have about your business, is the same mindset that you approach when it comes to your health. You think that you have to do all of these things to get to your goal, otherwise, you're not going to get to it. And a lot of times you overwhelm yourself, which then causes you to quit or to not stay in it for the long haul.

And then you're unhappy about it, right? People overcomplicate it. And it's because of the environment and how we've been conditioned as human beings. We're supposed to do all the things, not question why we do all the things, overwhelm ourselves, and then be stressed out about all the things.

Michelle Lynne: Yeah, and well, then we quit. Then we feel shame and regret, and it's a never ending cycle in so many ways. I can speak from my own experience, because I've always been involved in something physical, and it's usually a workout. I'm not really the most athletic; you should have seen me try to play basketball in high school, it was not pretty.

But from a training, or workout standpoint, why does it benefit the business owner? I feel so passionate about the fact that movement is key. I know it inherently for myself. But with your extensive experience, background, and training, why is it important? What does it do, when you move and you exercise regularly, that benefits you as a business person?

Stephanie Acosta: There are a lot of benefits to it, and there are different angles that you can look at, to see the benefits of it. The primary one, and the most important one, is that our bodies were designed for movement. So, if you think about our ancestors, going all the way back to the dinosaur age, you had people that had to hunt and gather and they had to build. Our body was designed to be active, to build, to go out and to farm and hunt.

In the last 50 or 60 years, our lifestyle has changed to become less active and more sedentary. There are natural repercussions that are happening to the body due to the lack of movement and the lack of energy that you're expending because of the shift in our culture and the shift in our lifestyle.

If you look back 50 or 60 years, think about how you used to play in your neighborhood or how you would either walk or bike to school or to the grocery store.

Michelle Lynne: I was even the remote control for my parents! They would ask me to get up and put on channel 13.

Stephanie Acosta: That was the norm. Over time, cars became more ubiquitous, so people would travel in their cars more rather than taking the bus or walking. 50 years ago, you would work a job that was close to where it would be walkable. Or you would take a bus, so you'd at walk to the bus stop. Now, everything is within a 15 or 20 mile radius and you have to drive there, unless you have transportation in places like New York where people would walk more. But here in Dallas, it's kind of a necessity to have a car. That's something that, over time, it has changed our lifestyle and changed the way we interact and expend energy.

We are in the age of technology. So, now having computers and cell phones, it has made us less active, and with access to more information on our phone, we move less. With all of these factors, over time, they really impact our ability to do things that are active. Again, our body was designed to be active, it was designed to move, and teachnology has kept us to where we're sitting down a lot more. As a result of that, it has impact on the body.

The other thing is the psychological and emotional aspect of it. Whenever you're doing something active and you're expending energy, there are chemicals that get released like the GABA, the serotonin. Those chemicals get zapped from us because of stress, and it gets zapped from us because of anxiety, or when we don't necessarily know how to handle challenges or process information. That's something that's affecting our mind and our emotions.

Exercise is a route that helps you process those things. There's something about putting stress on the body where you release energy. As a result, you're also releasing all of these positive chemicals in the brain that help you process information better. Exercise can help you be less stressed and less anxious.

The third thing is discipline. We as business owners, understand that in order to be successful, there is a level of discipline that you have to exercise in order to get to where you're at in your business. To me, exercising is a direct correlation to that. Disciplining yourself physically can be the easiest part. The hardest thing to discipline is your mind and your emotions. When you discipline yourself physically, you see what your body is capable of. Then you look at what you've accomplished, and if you can have discipline in that part of your life, then you can also discipline your day, or discipline yourself to do XYZ in your business, and in your relationships, too.

But as business owners, we may allow ourselves to get caught up in running the business and running the beast, and then once the beast gets bigger than yourself, then you're drowning. Exercise is that thing that can help you learn how to discipline your mind, your emotions, and even your actions by doing something that maybe you don't feel like doing all the time. The benefits of this are going to outweigh any type of risk.

Michelle Lynne: That's interesting. I never thought about the discipline of exercise translating over to the discipline of life. But it's true, because when I walk out of the gym, I'm like, I'm a badass because I pushed myself. Well, actually you and your trainers pushed me!

It does translate over because you feel powerful and it gives you a different perspective on your business. But how do we get more energy by expending energy? I always think, Oh, I'm too tired to go exercise, but then I go because I have an appointment, and I walk out feeling great.

Stephanie Acosta: Well, it all goes back to the body needing to actually move. So because we're so used to being in a society where we don't move a lot, we don't realize that our lack of movement creates the lack of energy. So when you're not moving, your body is expending less because of that. And that has side effects.

There's a couple of negative things that happen when you're not moving as much. One is that you're losing muscle. So if you don't move the muscle, and if you don't train or condition the muscle, you lose it. The muscle is multi beneficial. It helps us burn fat more effectively and it gives us the ability to react well to any type of movement. When you either trip over your foot, or you step on a step wrong and you fall down, if you don't have the muscle capacity to react to that, it can cause an injury. Then your injury can be big are small depending on how your body has been conditioned to respond to it.

The other thing is that because our body is conditioned for movement, when we're not moving, we're also stiffening our joints, which means that you're more prone to injury. When you have people that have knee issues, or hip issues, or even shoulder issues, a lot of that has to do with the lack of movement in those particular joints. They've stiffened up so much that, now, it's causing them pain, because they're not moving it. It can be as simple as that.

I can't tell you how many times doctors have prescribed surgery on something that it could have been 100% improved just through exercise and mobility. That is another reason why it's important to make sure that you're moving so that you are improving your muscle and your joint ability.

Outside of that, when you start to move, and you start to expend more energy, that's what helps your metabolism and helps increase the way your metabolism works. When we're sitting down and not doing much, we're slowing down the metabolism, which then makes us more susceptible to weight gain. Movement is so important.

Michelle Lynne: So when we say movement, I can hear that little voice in the back of my head saying that, well, I move, I get up and walk, I go to the Design Center, and I do some installations at client's house and stuff like that. What's the difference between exercise and movement? I mean, it's good that we're walking around, but what's the difference?

And one of the things that I think a lot of women struggle with is that if we go lift weights, or if we go exercise, we don't want to bulk up. Personally, I love lifting weights. Give me something heavy. But what is that misconception there? So I guess that's a two part question.

Stephanie Acosta: So, the difference between exercise versus movement in itself, is that with movement, it's something that is good for the body where you're active, but it's not necessarily increasing your metabolism or putting muscle on your body. If you have a specific goal of either tightening up, losing weight, or looking more toned and defined, then exercise is always going to be the better route than just moving around.

I had a trainer that said something that I thought was an accurate way of describing exercise versus movement. They said that cardio can help you lose weight, but exercise is going to make you look good naked. So you can lose weight and still feel like you're not toned, not conditioned, or still not be proud of your body because you're still flabby in some areas, or you don't have any muscle tone to you. When you exercise, you're actually toning, and you're dividing, and you're sculpting the body. You're giving it a look that you actually desire.

Now, some people might be genetically toned all of their lives or they don't have to worry about that. But that's not the majority of individuals. Most people have to lift up a weight, and they have to do something in order to help improve the way their body looks.

That's just from a physical standpoint. There's also the joint health and the muscle health that comes more from exercise than it does from movement. Movement is good for the joints bones to get going so that it doesn't stiffen. But if you actually want to strengthen the bone, strengthen the joint, and strengthen the muscle, then exercise is always going to be the better route.

When you do some type of movement, the only thing you're using is your body weight. There's always a point where your body will plateau. If you're moving and if you're using a certain amount of force, your body will actually get used to that. So you could see some results when you first start movement, but then at some point, those results are going to plateau because you now have done everything you can to challenge your body with your current weight.

If you want to push yourself and get yourself to another level, then that's where the weight training and the exercise comes in. Being able to strengthen the muscle and the joint is going to come from exercise. It's not just going to be from movement alone.

Movement still has benefits. One of the things I like to tell my clients is that because we are such a sedentary society, it's important to move and do something because doing something is better than nothing. But if you really want to maximize your health and your fitness, then exercise and weight training is always going to have more of an impact on you than just moving.

Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. I can relate to that because, at one point, I was running half marathons. It's interesting that while that was a challenge from a physical standpoint, I don't think that I was in the best shape because it was doing all cardio. I wasn't lifting weights and balancing the difference there.

So you mentioned that lifting weights is also good for our bones, and, as women, I think that it's key for our longevity. I know it's important, but why?

Stephanie Acosta: So it's a combination of losing muscle as well as losing bone. Around the age of 32 and 33 is where we actually start to lose bone and muscle when we're not supplementing or moving ourselves properly. When you're constantly putting stress on the body, whether it's from a joint aspect, from a muscle aspect, or from a bone aspect, your body responds to that stress. You have to condition and you have to push yourself past the comfortable zone in order for your body to respond and say, hey, I want to make sure that I could sustain this movement and get stronger at this.

You're putting stress on the body to the point where sometimes you have muscle tearing that's called hypertrophy. They aren't major tears, just micro tears. That's when you feel that soreness. Then it needs to repair itself from the stress that you put on it. But when it repairs itself, it repairs itself stronger and now you're able to withstand the same stress that you just took it through.

I don't know if you've ever had the experience where the first couple of weeks you do a workout, you are super sore and you have to be careful with the way you walk. Then, in two weeks, you do the same workout and you're just like, wow, that wasn't as hard as it was before. So you add a little bit more weight because your body has responded to that previous workout by repairing itself and growing stronger. When you continue to do that, you're continuing to build the muscle, build the joint, and build the bone so that it can withstand the environments that you're pushing it through.

Michelle Lynne: You know, as you're describing that, that's the same thing we do as business owners. We push and we push and we overcome something, and then we're like, okay, I can do that push some more. It's interesting the parallels there.

Let me go back to my other question. So many women think that they're gonna get bulky. If you've ever seen Stephanie, you did professional bodybuilding, and this woman has got the most amazing shoulders and thighs. But that's not what I want to do. I don't want to lift weights because I don't want to get all bulky. I've heard that from some of my friends. And I'm like, you're not. Why not? Explain that.

Stephanie Acosta: So that is one of the top five myths that I always have to debunk when I deal with women. When they see my body build, they automatically think that I'm going to make them like me. No. I'm in my own lane, and you're in yours. It's really about listening to the goals that you have, and then making sure that we're helping you reach those goals.

That myth does spur from seeing athletic woman, like ourselves, and just thinking that well, she definitely weight trains, so that's what weight training must equal. It has nothing to do with lifting weights at all, it really has to do with the intensity and frequency of how you're lifting.

For me to get to a bodybuilding fit, I have to train six days a week and do two to three hours a day. For someone that's just starting out, they don't see the process, they just see the results and make those assumptions. For you to get to a place where you're putting an exponential amount of muscle on, you really have to be training pretty frequently and fervently to get to that place for the average person.

Unless you are genetically predisposed to being a big, muscular person, then you're not going to get muscular from lifting weights. And even if you are genetically predisposed to being a big muscular person, it's still going to take a heavy amount of weight for you to get to that point.

So for some women, they may be a little bit on the heavier side, they will put on muscle a lot quicker than they will burn fat. So they kind of go through that awkward transition of their body tightening, and their clothes feel better, but they're not really burning as much fat, so they feel like this bulky person. This is not a long term result. It's a point in your journey that you have to work through to get to the place where your body is burning fat better, and you're able to see more toning and muscle definition.

But for most women, you're going to get the results, you're going to see the muscle tone, you're going to see your body building muscle, and you'll even see that you're losing inches. You may not necessarily lose the weight. You may want to lose 20 pounds because you think the scale is everything, but you might lose five to seven pounds and look exactly the way you want to look because it has nothing to do with the scale. It has to do with how your body is responding to exercise.

Weight training is going to be the better route for you to go to maximize the time because no one has two hours to be in the gym. So if I'm going to maximize the time that I have in the gym, it's going to be more efficient and more beneficial for me to weight train than it would for me to exercise. It's because you're burning calories when you're weight training. 30 minutes of exercise versus 30 minutes of cardio, you burn up two to three times more calories than you would just doing cardio.

Michelle Lynne: I can tell you that I used to do those boot camps in the parking lot like three or four times a week for an hour. And the results are far less than when I am lifting weights and being intentional with my 45 minutes twice a week.

Stephanie Acosta: Yes, because what you're doing is besides increasing your fat optimization, like your fat burning, you're also increasing your metabolism, which, when you do cardio, your metabolism will increase for the period of time that you're doing cardio, but the minute you step off your body normalizes to its whatever it regularly will metabolize. But with exercise, you're you're optimizing your metabolism, it's staying high, and it continues to stay high, up to four hours past you're working out. So you're really burning a lot more in the long term when your weight training versus when you're doing cardio.

Michelle Lynne: Yes, and you're making yourself stronger so that you can lift more bend more and the functionality of it. Like I'm not going to like yeah, we still do burpees but I'm not going to have to like run around a parking lot and do burpees in real life. You know, now I can pick up my giant child. Because of the weights.

Stephanie Acosta: Yeah, exactly. And because you're not going to get out of breath. From holding her lifting her in comparison to when you did in your exercise.

Michelle Lynne: It makes such a difference. Such a difference. Oh my gosh, Stephanie, I could talk about this for another hour, but I'd want to respect the audience's time. I actually have a segment, I'm not sure if you're familiar with it, it's rapid fire q&a, just so the audience can get to know you a little bit better. So um, so before we go into that, I do want to just give you a gratuitous plug.

For anybody who is not in Dallas, Stephanie and her team do an amazing job with virtual training. So if you're interested in getting to know her and her team and anything along that line, it is an option. And at the end today, we will let you know how we can get in touch with her and I'll have it in the show notes as well. And for the record, she's not giving me any free training sessions for that plug. I just believe in it so much. For those of you who know me, I like to share what I love. So here we go.

Alright, so nothing's off the table. Let's see what questions come up today. We're gonna start off easy. Are you left handed or right handed?

Stephanie Acosta: I'm left handed.

Michelle Lynne: I don't think I knew that. What was your last movie you watched?

Stephanie Acosta: It's called it was called Redeeming Love.

Michelle Lynne: Sounds like a chick flick.

Stephanie Acosta: It was based on a book by Francine Rivers. And it was such a good book and it basically is kind of in the title. Giving love. The book was so so good. And so I saw that the movie came out and I was like, Oh my god.

Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's amazing.

Stephanie Acosta: Yes, but the book was better.

Michelle Lynne: Who's your favorite superhero?

Stephanie Acosta: That's a tough one. I feel like it would be so cliche to say Wonder Woman but I do like Wonder Woman.

Michelle Lynne: No. No, it's not cliche. You're good. Are you a beach or mountain girl?

Stephanie Acosta: Beach.

Michelle Lynne: Belly button. Innie or outie?

Stephanie Acosta: Oh my god. It's like right in the middle. Like, I remember my sister's being like, does she have an inni or outtie?

Michelle Lynne: That's funny. It's both. What is your favorite color?

Stephanie Acosta: Oh, it depends on my mood. I would say right now it's probably pink. But I also like blue. Hence the colors of my logo.

Michelle Lynne: Yes, it's true. You do have both. Cake or pie?

Stephanie Acosta: Cake. Yeah, I could have that for breakfast.

Michelle Lynne: What is your dream travel destination?

Stephanie Acosta: The Maldives.

Michelle Lynne: That sounds amazing. Yes. Okay. When was the last time you laughed so hard that you nearly peed yourself?

Stephanie Acosta: Oh crap.

Michelle Lynne: No, not crapped yourself, peed yourself.

Stephanie Acosta: I'm trying to think of the last time. It was probably at least a couple of weeks ago.

Michelle Lynne: Alright, last question. If you could do anything other than what you're doing right now, as a profession, what would you do?

Stephanie Acosta: Dance.

Michelle Lynne: Oh yeah, I guess I kind of saw that one coming. Well, that ties this podcast up full circle doesn't that?

Stephanie Acosta: Yeah, I've actually been considering just taking dance classes just because I really do love dance. I love it.

Michelle Lynne: Yeah, to get it out of your system. That's fun. That is super fun. Well, Steph, thank you so much for being on the show today. I know that the audience probably didn't expect, you know, Exercise and Movement and stuff like that on the podcast. But it's such an important part of being a business owner is just keeping yourself healthy.

Stephanie Acosta: Especially in this day and age, with the culture and the lifestyle that we have surrounding us. Exercise really is important. It's important for your health and it's important for your mental health.

Michelle Lynne: Amen to that. So tell the audience how or where they can connect with you best.

Stephanie Acosta: So you can always visit our website elevatefitnessnow.com just to kind of see our mission statement, what we're about, and the team that we have. We have client testimonials and you can see what we're doing on media. So that's one way you can connect with us or connect with me.

The other thing is, you can always follow us on Instagram Elevate Fitness Now. You can also follow us on Facebook and we will we always give away health tips, exercise ideas, and stuff to really keep you healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Michelle Lynne: Awesome, awesome, awesome. And I will make sure that all of those details are listed in the show notes as well. And you guys have any questions about the virtual training, I know all of that is listed on your website too. And definitely very easy to get in touch with to ask questions.

For those of you who can benefit from a variety of even more resources surrounding the business of running your Interior Design Business, join the growing community on Facebook. It's my private group. It's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. I go live there once a week, 15 or 20 minutes on occasion, and 10 minutes with just little nuggets of information.

For those of you who are listening to this podcast on Spotify or Stitcher or Apple or Amazon, if you're listening anywhere, please drop a review. It really does help elevate us. Thanks, Stephanie. It was so good to see ya.

Stephanie Acosta: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.



Back to the Blog


Business Bakery

Program Login




Let's jam on Instagram