Evoke Fitness’ Mena Spodobalski in her own words
Name/Title/Company: Mena Spodobalski, founder/fitness trainer at Evoke Fitness Training Facility
co-founder Breast Cancer 2 Bikini
Number of years with company: 8
Number of years in the profession: 12 years
Education: BA Marketing Fresno State University
Last book read: One Minute Manager
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption
Favorite musical group or genre: All ‘80s music, it was totally awesome!
Spouse, kids or pets: My amazing, supportive husband Rob, two boys, Logan (19) and Luke (17) and two fur babies and Evoke Mascots Edde a dobbin and Bella a morkie.
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Mena Spodobalski: At EVOKE Fitness we believe in your journey. We believe being successful in health and fitness starts with a simple equation: that community and support ignites effort and fuels your journey, which after a lot of heart and dedication produces results. EVOKE Fitness has been built on a tremendous community of supportive clients and a phenomenal team of trainers. EVOKE Fitness is a 14,000-square-foot Reno-based private training facility. We train any type of client for every type of goal and are fortunate enough to witness and experience each journey and success story.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Spodobalski: I got into my profession for one purpose: to make men and women feel good in their own skin. A confident person is someone that can move mountains. We want our clients to feel empowered through health and fitness. After struggling to lose weight after my two boys, I knew I needed a lifestyle change. That lifestyle change turned a stay-at-home mom hobby into a successful small business! I started training moms at the park near our kids school, then in my garage when the Reno weather was harsh and moved into a gym. Before I knew it I owned and expanded Evoke Fitness.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Spodobalski: I enjoy watching my clients succeed. Whether it be in losing weight, achieving their goal of running a 5k, a marathon, or working to step on stage in a fitness competition. I enjoy the process, the journey of watching them become confident and strong heathy individuals.
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
Spodobalski: The most challenging part is getting clients out of their own heads. Of putting their negative self talk aside. Of empowering them to believe in themselves and their goals. There is a lot of miscommunication in the fitness industry and that can be very challenging as well. Not the same methods work for everyone. You have to be creative and that is exciting and challenging.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
Spodobalski: The advice I would give is to be ready to hustle. To develop relationships, to continue learning. This is not an easy business to succeed in. There are trainers and gyms in every corner. Make your mark, be known for honesty, for effectiveness and for caring.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
Spodobalski: In my first job in a retail store I was told not to be afraid to follow your gut. That advice has gotten me through many difficult decisions, both in my personal life and in business.
NNBW: Has there been someone who was especially influential in helping you establish your career or in reaching your higher goals? If so, who and how?
Spodobalski: The most influential person in my life who has always believed in my journey and supported me 100 percent is my husband Rob. He never tells me I can’t do it. He allows me to be fearful and fearless. If it weren’t for him, Evoke Fitness would not be a staple in our Reno community.
NNBW: Is there any educational advancement that is essential for someone in your career field?
Spodobalski: I believe continued education, whether it’s daily research, or yearly conferences, is critical to staying on top of your game. Things change rapidly in this industry and it’s important to stay in tune with what’s new as well as what’s effective.
NNBW: How do you manage your time between the responsibilities of your profession and your personal life?
Spodobalski: Managing time is a tough one! There is a lot to be done in one day with a business that is thriving as well as a family life that needs you and you want to be a part of both. I think it’s critical to surround yourself with good people, people that can support you at home and at work. My husband is a huge help in both aspects. My team is a huge help on the work front with whatever needs arise. My friends were critical to helping with the boys when they were younger. You also have to set aside time just for your family. Your career will always be there, but your children are only young once.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Spodobalski: My first job was at 15 at Gottschalks, a local retail store in my hometown of Merced, California. I worked in the Junior Department and worked my way up to Junior Dept. Manager at 18. I attended Fresno State and worked full-time there until my move to Reno.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Spodobalski: My hobbies include, hiking, beaching, scrapbooking and playing games with my family. We love board games!
NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Spodobalski: My favorite vacation spot is a warm beach with the sand in my toes and a cocktail in hand.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Spodobalski: Working on my tan in Kauai is a highlight for me. I dream of retirement on a Kauai beach with a little Evoke Shack nearby. I would teach boot camps in the morning and sell bikini and cocktails the rest of the day. I have a feeling I will have plenty of my Evoke family coming to say hello! I would not retire now. I love what I do and I am not ready to give it up quite yet. I truly believe I have one of the best professions in the world and I am blessed to do something so special.
NNBW: Is there anything in your life that you wish you could do over again? Why?
Spodobalski: If I had a do-over it would be to have more children. I love babies and kids and I wish we would have had a house full!
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Spodobalski: I love northern Nevada. I am a California native, but Reno won my heart back in 1990 and I have never wanted to live and grow a business anywhere else. It’s the people that make Reno so special. It’s a community that has proven time and time again that they will stand in for those in crisis. They will cheer you on and lift you up when you need it. I have seen it time and time again. For me personally the amount of support Breast Cancer 2 Bikini received last year will never be forgotten!
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.