Mental Health Champions: Why & How Angela Gentile of the Sweat Remix Wellness Is Helping To Champion Mental Wellness
Get clear on what works and what doesn’t. The beauty of slowing down is that it invites this conversation to the table and begins a deeper connection with the self. We can start asking ourselves better questions around how we are living, what is working, what isn’t and create a real authentic plan that moves and inspires us, not one that is rooted in external expectations. set an intention and make a plan. Once you know it, feel it and are focused on it, just do it! Make the plan and activate it. Seriously, just do it. Take a brave, badass step and just do it.
As a part of our series about Mental Health Champions helping to promote mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Angela Gentile.
Angela Gentile, founder of the Sweat Remix wellness brand, motivates you to start and sustain physical exercise, guides you towards greater self awareness, and provides keeping it real life coaching.With an undergraduate degree in English from Fairfield University and a graduate degree in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University, she traded in her decade long teaching career to launch a business helping folks gain clarity, confidence and courage through movement, meditation and mental health coaching. If you’ve been stuck and feel ready to level up, this trailblazer creates opportunities for folks to live strong, authentic and EPIC lives. Follow her and join her community at https://www.sweatremix.com
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
Thanks for having me and letting me share my story. I grew up pretty humble and middle class in a small Massachusetts city; then, after my parents divorced and my mom remarried, we moved to a small tobacco farming town in Connecticut during my adolescence. And as a result, I think my childhood was vibrant with a variety of experiences. Growing up, I LOVED school and its connection to achievement, mostly because that is where I felt seen and valued.
In high school, I was a star student, super involved in clubs and activities and a varsity athlete. Since I always felt like an outsider in my own house, It was by throwing myself into school and activities where I realized how capable I was and how valued I could be, a toxic pattern I would have to dive into later on life. I had big dreams of something outside of that small town. I always just wanted more, for myself, for life. I mean, as the first woman in my family to have a college degree and a passport to boot, I was trying to carve out a path for myself that I couldn’t even see from anyone around me, let alone was it even valued. I just felt it in my bones. I am and will always be a mover, a shaker and a badass.
I went on to graduate from Fairfield University with a BA in English and minor in education. I also earned a Master’s degree in educational leadership from Western Governors University. I have had careers in education, radio and entertainment, fitness, and now I am combining all of them into my entrepreneurial endeavors.
You are currently leading a social impact organization that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit about what you or your organization are trying to address?
Yes! I created Sweat Remix to help folks use movement as a way to release negative energy in their bodies and headspace so they could move toward a better, authentically aligned life. This brand, classes and coaching are NOT about losing weight, posting selfies in matching legging sets, barely sweating or being sexy in a very mainstream way. It is so “anti” all that and such a powerfully inclusive way to approach movement and “badassery”
Sweat Remix is a fitness class using a three step #ZenRageHeal process designed to move out negative emotions and get connected to your inner badass. We use this process as a way to embrace the complexities of the human experience from the pain to the joy and the anger to the aligned. We don’t have to pick a side ya know? Why can’t we be everything? We can get healthy inside and out by moving our body and spirit. Workout or meditate, why not remix both!? We are dynamic and the way we move can be, too. We can use movement as a way to heal ourselves and intentionally get results inside and out.
Plus healing and building self awareness does NOT have to be in a yoga studio with a sound bath. We can definitely find presence, connection with the breath and self and release energy with 90’s hip hop and a dope workout. WHY? Because we are always a remix of what it means to be human and it is important to embrace the whole human experience: from the calm to the rage, from the serious to the out of control. Why limit the self to just one tiny box?
Using fitness, even intense fitness, and mindfulness together as a way to check in gives us the clarity, confidence and courage to trust ourselves and be the badass we were meant to be. We are about moving in a way that is safe and effective for all levels with conscious programming that elevates the mind, body and spirit, not just the booty, ya know? We don’t use movement to check out, but rather a way to check in and connect deeper with the self. And now, we have ways to dive even deeper into personal development with life coaching courses, one-on-one programs and free community conversations to help us find the support we need on our journey to leveling up.
And, as our community evolves in their own personal development, we have opportunities to connect as a community and have weekly badass conversations around what we experience, where we need support and how we relate to the world around us. Now, we have added in a deeper and more meaningful way to connect with the self with our Life Remix: Inner Compass Coaching 90 day coaching program. This is the ultimate way to build the clarity, confidence and courage we need to do bold things and take steps to live a life that makes us truly joyful.
This is why what we do is great for companies to implement for busy working professionals: a mindful approach to fitness in one place so folks can really manage stress, take care of their bodies and show up fully their best self. We have a pretty robust corporate wellness community along with individuals who are also on board with our #ZenRageHeal Process
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
It comes from my personal experience of suffering. I was deep IN IT and deep in my victim story. I was stuck in a place where life was being done TO ME. And I resisted acknowledging that life was happening for me, to teach me and grow me. So, as a result, I stayed stuck in a holding pattern of suffering, anger, and sadness, blaming so much of my pain on everyone else while I was unwilling to make a change. It wasn’t until the world forced me to face my feelings and take control of my life. I learned that through grief and the sudden passing of my father in 2015, that we get one life and it is our responsibility to live it out to the fullest. We are in control of our life, no one else.
So, as I navigated through loss and grief, I needed a place to land where I could be 100% in my feelings and show up exactly as I was, which was so erratic and emotional all the time. I wanted to be silent and rage all at the same time. I wanted a place where I could fully show up and express myself and all that it was to be human. I wanted the calming and mindful aspects of yoga and a hard core boxing gym so I could scream and rage. But the thing is, I wanted it together because both of these dichotomous emotions were happening together and it was like maddening. I couldn’t find the space to hold all that I needed, so I created it. I just remixed it!
And Sweat Remix and our #ZenRageHeal process is a place for folks to move and honor all that they are experiencing and all that it means to be human.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
Like I said, loss is a great teacher. And the moment when I sat next to a hospital bed and took my father off life support is the moment when I had such blatant clarity that we only get ONE life and it is up to us to live the hell outta it. I wasn’t going to waste a second of my life working a job I hated and compromised my mental health. I wasn’t going to be in friendships that were not full of love, grace, empathy and compassion and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what spoke to my soul. By doing this and shifting my perspective, it is a way to honor my life, my dad’s life, the lessons his passing taught me and the legacy I get to live out now.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
I think the most interesting part of running a business is the infinite amounts of pivots you need to take to keep evolving and growing. One of those being that this entire brand is now virtual. I never thought that was going to be the path, but it was sort of driven that way in 2020 and now that we are fully here online, it is awesome. One of the benefits of being involved in pioneering this brand is getting to know and spend time with a dope community of people. We have folks who take classes, join community conversations and wear our merch from all around the world. That is a pretty powerful movement!
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
First off, it is important for me to state how crucial it is to get help and surround yourself with the right people who see your vision and support your growth. That being said, I have had a monumental team of humans who have helped bring this vision to full fruition time and time again: from my branding team to my SEO company, my business coach, everyone from mentors, friends and family have really helped to influence this entire process. But the underlying influence will always be my father and the lessons I learned in his passing.
According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?
The ability to embrace vulnerability is the key to really breaking the cycle and stigma. Our vulnerability is power, not weakness. By saying we need help, we may internalize that there is something wrong with us. It is as if we are saying WE are defective. It is important to say that there isn’t anything inherently wrong or unworthy and definitely not defective within YOU, but rather there is a defective tool box and skill set we need to move forward with new, modern challenges we face. We need a new language, a broader range of support and a way to understand ourselves in the world in a way that no one can prepare us for, for we are who we are and no one else. So, no matter how well intended or prepared someone tries to make us, we will always interpret the world and our experiences through our personal lens. New generations and individual people experience life in a completely different way than predecessors and oftentimes what we inherit as tools are inapplicable because we are just different!
In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?
I think what I have to say is interchangeable in all three of those facets. At the end of the day, what we all need is both permission to grow, evolve, expand, get curious and also support to do it. What that would look like in each may be different, but the underlying foundation is the same. We all just want to be seen, heard and supported. SO knowing that as individuals, it isn’t our job to force anyone to change or do things that are inauthentic to them. By practicing non-judgment and active listening, you can simply hold space, validate and support someone through their experience.
What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?
When we are talking about living a fully aligned and conscious life, we have to start diving into our life beyond a surface self-care plan. In order to do this, we have to be able to honor the self and what we need along the way. We are most healthy and thriving when we live an aligned life. This is sort of a version of our #ZenRageHeal process.
So, what we can do first is slow down. We often go so fast, rushing to work, to activities, to the next thing we have to do to check off a box. This is a constant state of stress, where we are operating in an adrenal state, so many of our decisions can be made from stress, creating more of it. So, it is important and necessary to slow down, take some space and pause so you can get centered and approach life from a real place of authenticity.
Secondly, Get clear on what works and what doesn’t. The beauty of slowing down is that it invites this conversation to the table and begins a deeper connection with the self. We can start asking ourselves better questions around how we are living, what is working, what isn’t and create a real authentic plan that moves and inspires us, not one that is rooted in external expectations. set an intention and make a plan. Once you know it, feel it and are focused on it, just do it! Make the plan and activate it. Seriously, just do it. Take a brave, badass step and just do it.
Thirdly, practice self care that fuels you! If you feel your self care routine is fleeting or unfulfilling, it could be because it is an interpretation of what you think you should be doing to care for yourself, not what feels authentically right to honor who you are and your values. So getting clear on that is crucial. The self care plan that leaves you unfulfilled will always leave you unfulfilled until you make changes.
Fourth, release negative energy. I am a firm believer that we have the power and ability to attract our dreams. Energy is powerful. When we hold on to negative energy, trauma and low vibrational frequencies, we are putting up energetic roadblocks in our path. We are unconsciously letting the world know we are not ready for the gifts and dreams we seek. So, until we release and make space, the dream will have no place to go. That is why it is so crucial to let go, surrender and be open to what is in store for us.
Lastly, reflect and spend time alone. I can NOT stress this enough. The power in reflection helps us stay on course or change it. This way we are always in alignment with what we need and what works best for us.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?
I feel like that could be an article in and of itself! There are so many. But, I love Super Soul Conversations with Oprah, that is a game changer and there are such inspirational stories and interviews that really help us tap into our own potential. I also enjoy reading anything by John Kim, The Angry Therapist. And my favorite book is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I think the common thread between all of these books and podcasts is to do the brave thing, be vulnerable into the unknown and trust your own badassery.
If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
Follow what speaks to you! You will make the biggest impact when you let your soul guide you to your purpose. It’s that simple!
How can our readers follow you online?
Amazing! Thank you. You can follow me on instagram, tiktok and twitter at @Sweatremix and online for workouts, coaching and our weekly badass banter chats on the website, www.sweatremix.com
Thank you so much and looking forward to connecting with your readers.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Mental Health Champions: Why & How Angela Gentile of the Sweat Remix Wellness Is Helping To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.