Interview with Aubre Winters
I had an amazing conversation with Aubre and I am so excited to share it on the blog. Aubre Winters is a fitness instructor, the creator of Sweat Sessions, and a total girlboss. I have been following her on social media for some time now but I have only had the chance to take her classes since the pandemic began when she started teaching live. Her concept, called Sweat Sessions, is a mix of dance cardio, sculpt, barre, and pure fun. I was so surprised to learn that Aubre grew up in the same area in Overland Park, Kansas that I currently live in. We we went to the same high school. It's definitely a small world, but I thought the odds of us having grown up in the same exact place was crazy. She eventually moved to LA and recently moved to Chicago. Continue reading to learn all about Aubre and her journey to get where she is now.
How did you get into dance?
"So growing up I went to a dance studio called Danceworks Conservatory and from a really young age I was always kind of moving around. Then, I really wanted to get more involved and take classes. I think I was like 4 or 5 when my mom put me into dance classes and I stuck with it. Even though, in middle school I would probably complain about going to class way more than I would look forward to it. My parents, my mom especially, really saw that I had a talent in it and that I was just excelling with it so she always forced me to stay with it. I was playing soccer and doing volleyball and basketball on the side. Then in high school I found a deeper passion for it and I was on the dance team. On dance team I found the fun in dance because my studio was very serious and we had a lot of teachers and students doing summer programs at Joffrey and Hubbard Street [world-renowned companies] making it super disciplined. My teachers there were good to us, but also very hard on us. Doing dance team was all about the team comradery and having fun with it."
What was your experience like moving to LA to pursue dance professionally?
"It was something I knew I wanted to do. When I was in middle school, my dance instructor (my biggest influence then) told me that I was going to one day move to LA and become [what they call] a commercial dancer. It felt like it would be the most fun for me and it felt right. So I went to college at the University of Arizona and was a part of their dance program which was a very good dance school. I felt like I could have gone the company route but deep down I wanted to move to LA and go [do commercial] and be in Rihanna's music video [for example]. I moved there on a whim right after I graduated. One of my best friends who went to high school with me was already living out there so I moved in with her and eventually found our own apartment and it just kind of stuck."
How did Sweat Sessions come about?
"So Sweat Sessions came about because- well it's kind of been a bit of a journey. It started when I was still dancing and started teaching for Pure Barre; that's how I started to dip my feet in the fitness side of my career. It wasn't something that I really took seriously at all but something that I did on the side. I ended up finding a huge passion for teaching and found it to be more fulfilling than dance was at times. So I ended up stopping the dance stuff, I wasn't really booking the jobs that I always dreamt that I would and I wanted to make a shift. I worked in corporate fashion for a bit, and through that I realized that I wanted to get more into teaching. I wanted to teach everything; I wanted to be a Soulcycle instructor, teach for Equinox, go back to Pure Barre, start teaching at Alo Yoga, teaching for Bandier, all these different places. I quickly realized that I wanted to have my own fitness brand and to have something I could call my own. I did some different work with brands and taught at hotels for different events in the LA area and called it 'The Aubre Winters Method,' which was half dance cardio, and half barre / sculpt. I ended up coming to the name 'Sweat Sessions.' I had a background in different formats and a huge background in barre, so I created an umbrella sort of for my classes of different things."
What was your experience growing your brand / business on social media?
"That's also been a journey. In the beginning I was really caught up in the numbers [followers, likes, etc.], not really looking at social media with an abundance mentality. I was like 'who are my competitors, what do I need to do, what's this person doing to grow on Instagram'. I was also posting a lot of outfits and fashion and creative content, yet there wasn't really a lot of substance behind it. I ended up shifting about a year and a half ago [Winter 2019 ish] and I stopped caring about growing on social media and I just started posting things that resonated with me, letting my community see me as a real human being and not just a fitness instructor or a fashion blogger, whatever the heck I was trying to be. I also started posting a lot more fitness stuff, since it was what I was doing every day and it's what made me the happiest. That's when I started really building a community."
How has the (boutique) fitness industry changed since you moved to LA?
"I would say LA has always had such a scene for boutique fitness. Overtime, fitness brands have gotten a lot more creative with their technology and the way that they integrate different formats into a workout. I started teaching at Health House in West Hollywood, I was apart of their opening team and I would say that was a studio that really went above and beyond and really had a community too. [Most] studios in LA lack a sense of community. Workout classes there can feel intimidating from a client perspective and as an instructor it's always my number one thing to make sure people feel welcome. I think Health House really fused the tech aspect and the community aspect together. I think there should be an underlying standard [for a community] and people are catching on to that with boutique fitness."
What was the turning point in your career when you really felt success?
"Probably last summer (2019) when I just stopped giving a crap and I just started really getting in flow with what felt good to me. Through that came a lot of awesome brand partners and event opportunities that I had been manifesting for a really long time. I was featured on PopSugar Fitness with one of my workouts, from that it led to me filming with the FitOn app which was a really big milestone for me. It was definitely something I was manifesting and wanted so bad. Propel reached out to me and I was apart of their fitness festival last summer as one of their headlining instructors. So last summer was when I really felt a lot of momentum in my career. I hosted some events with a company called 'Bloggers Who Brunch' and it was just a snowball effect where one thing led to the next. Success is an interesting word though because while I got these awesome opportunities that I was manifesting for so long, I also found success from women DM'ing me [on Instagram] and saying how my workouts have impacted them. So through those events, then came building the community which is the ultimate success to me- knowing women are showing up to my workouts and feeling amazing from them."
How do you stay inspired?
"It's really been hard this year for sure. But I feel like I really get a lot of energy and inspiration from my community. Moments when I am feeling uninspired I just keep going and keep teaching and then I find that people are connecting to it and that inspires me. And also just working out in general is one of those things that inspires me. When I am working out I have some of my most creative ideas."
What advice would you give to your younger self?
"Trust the process. There are going to be a lot of roadblocks and you will think life is trying to take a sh*t on you but really these roadblocks are just redirection so keep going and trust that everything is going to work out."
What do you hope to bring to everyone who takes your classes?
"Joy. And sweat, smiles, energy, motivation, connection, community."
What is one quote or mantra that you carry with you always?
"No one is you and that is your power."
I want to thank Aubre for making time for us to chat and letting me to ask her these questions. Aubre has the most vibrant energy and her workouts are incredible. She teaches Sweat Sessions on Instagram live (@aubrewinters), on Zoom (aubrewinters.com) and is soon launching an on-demand streaming service. She also plans to continue teaching in-person classes once safe.
Click here to read my last post reviewing Sweat Sessions in-depth (spoiler: THEY'RE SO INSANE)
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