Everyday From: Emily Sferra of Empowered Fitness
The first time I jumped in to a workout from Emily Sferra was on the Alo Moves app (way back in quarantine). It was a 20-minute total-body barre circuit. I was so absorbed by the nature of the movements that I didn’t even realize how hard I broke a sweat (and how quickly!) There was something about Emily’s passion in the class that stuck out to me. It was as if you could feel her energy coming through the screen- through every thump and “whoo!!” it compelled me to work harder. But the best part was that nothing felt forced- or for lack of a better term– corny. You could tell it came natural to her, and the more I took her classes, the more it felt natural to me.
Emily’s passion for barre started in Seattle (!!) after dancing professionally for several years. She now lives in San Diego with her husband, teaching a multitude of classes through her platform Empowered Fitness and the Alo Moves app. But it doesn’t stop there– today she continues to reach new heights, as she pursues a doctorate in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Last week, I had the privilege to sit down with Emily over a quick Zoom call to chat about all things life, fitness, and food. It became apparent very quickly that in everything Emily does, she consistently stays true to herself. She is truly such a beautiful human being inside and out- and it’s people like her who inspire my own life, offering a gentle reminder that being yourself is always enough. To get to know a little more about Emily Sferra, scroll on and read all about our candid conversation..
How do you keep your passion for exercise alive?
I fell into fitness while dancing in Seattle and looking for a part-time job to pay the bills. I’ve always been in the love with the body from my time as a dancer, so I felt that fitness was a natural path to pursue. Being able to connect and motivate others through mind, body, and spirit is what keeps my passion alive. Especially being on demand, when I physically do the workout while I’m teaching, I find that it makes it more relatable and connects on a deeper level.
What do you love the most about living in San Diego? Do you ever miss New York?
The weather and the beach. My husband and I also both love to surf. I love that there is never an excuse to not go outside.
It took me a second to get there, but I do miss New York. I was laser focused on living in the city after college, but life happened and I knew I wasn’t going to be there long term. Now that I’ve been in San Diego for 2 years, I do miss the quaint elements of it.
What inspired you to start Em.Powered Fitness? And can you tell us a little more about it?
The pandemic (and Alo Moves). When I got to San Diego, I didn’t know what I wanted to do because I had been teaching for so long. I decide that if I was going to do something, it needed to be on my own. I spent the first couple of months taking different classes in different studios, but I didn’t really connect with anything. After joining with Alo, I realized how much I loved making content and the creativity in which it allowed. Once the pandemic hit and I saw other colleagues shifting to online classes, I thought why don’t I? It would allow me to connect with people and I just needed to bit the bullet- so that’s when Empowered Fitness was born!
Who inspires you?
Women around me. In my own life, and when I see women supporting other women. Also when I see women doing what they love, and working to be fuller versions of themselves.
Has your perspective on fitness changed at all during the pandemic? If so, how has it shifted?
I’ve always known that movement is therapeutic on another level. The pandemic has made that clear now more than ever before. It’s slowed life down and people have been able to prioritize exercise in their lives. Being able to connect with others on a “deeper why” about movement is very crucial to longevity and leads to more motivation.
What does a typical day usually look like for you?
I wake up at 5:45 am and start a private client session around 6:00 or 6:15, then I go in to my live Zoom class at 7:30 (but not without having coffee with my husband in between!) After that I work on some sort of content, whether it be for Alo, my live classes, etc. and then I shift in to school mode.
What are 3 songs on your current workout playlist?
What’s your favorite meal to cook?
Homemade pizza. We make it every Sunday. I’m real simple with mine- margarita style with Trader Joe’s dough, sauce, cheese, and fresh basil.
Top 5 places to eat in San Diego:
- Big Kitchen (amazing neighborhood diner that’s like walking in to 1972)
- Buona Forchetta
- Kindred (vegan fare with fancy drinks)
- Cantina Mayahuel (always get what’s on special- no question about it)
- Lotus Cafe (in Encinitas- grab it and walk to the beach!)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Everywhere you go, there you are.” We are often running from ourselves, wanting to be something different. This phrase reminds me that who I am right here and now is enough.
Tell us about these live virtual classes you’re hosting this month.. will there be more like this in the future?
Right now the program is 3 days a week in February. Barre on Tuesdays, sculpt circuit on Wednesdays (which incorporates functional strength, lunges, squats, etc. but with higher reps like barre) and Fridays are sculpt and sweat. The whole program is very dynamic, full-body, and a lot of cross training which I love. I’ll be offering another one again in late Spring that will last 2 months!