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Sometimes the motivation for taking the leap of faith into the life of entrepreneurship stems from personal experiences and the desire to improve something. That’s precisely what happened to Irene Barrera, the founder of Stay Lean With Irene.
“I have always had a passion for fitness but what really inspired me to pursue a career out of it was seeing people in my family suffer from living a sedentary life,” says Irene. Irene’s grandparents struggled with health problems throughout their lives, leading to vivid experiences that helped push Irene towards a life of promoting healthier living.
“Seeing my grandmother having to inject herself with insulin day and night, my grandfather take over 5 different types of pills every day in order to survive,” she says. “My grandmother passed away at a very young age, my grandfather still lives but has low blood pressure and is now blind, again, he takes so much medicine in order to stay alive.”
Irene realized how fleeting life was, and decided that as the most prized asset in life, health should become the focus of changing her life and those around her — starting with her home community.
The Road to Entrepreneurship
Originally from Boston, Irene had moved to Los Angeles where she began coaching a few people in her early bids to help people reach their fitness goals and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Increasing requests to work with her following the rapid results she was producing with some of her early clients led Irene to decide on moving back to her hometown of Waltham, MA where she thought she could make the biggest impact. And she was right.
“I realized that the right thing to do was to start by giving back to my community, the place in which I grew up in and where I could make the biggest impact,” she says. “So I went back and started hosting outdoor boot camps.”
What began as 5 AM morning boot camps of five people at a popular track field in Spring 2018 quickly developed into groups of 30 people regularly attending Irene’s boot camp, Pretty Beast. Many of them had never seriously worked out in their lives, leading to some of Irene’s favorite success stories that further drive her motivation to excel.
“My biggest success story was my 65-year-old client who had never run a day in her life,” she says. “She was able to complete a mile running! She was so beyond grateful. These are the stories I live for. This is where I find my sense of fulfillment.”
Irene has defined her success so far by her mindset of ‘think smart, not hard,’ which she cites as the result of her research into the best method for attracting more clients — charge less. Classes of 30 people for $10 per person became $300 an hour and soon snowballed into other opportunities to expand her client base including offering free Saturday boot camps.
“Don’t be afraid to give,” she says. “I offered free Saturday boot camps, and that opened the door to new clients. My current clients also felt appreciated because they got to bring a friend or a loved one to join and see what they are a part of.”
Now thanks to the support of her community, Irene is able to open up her own studio. Pretty Beast Camps made this possible, where participants encouragement and the cold weather in Massachusetts has pushed her to get her own studio.
Growing the Business
Pretty Beast Camp has sparked a community of followers and clients that they colloquially refer to as their ‘Tribe.’ The platform is designed around health and wellness, offering a combination of fun, affordable, effective outdoor and online programs.
“Our platform is all about harnessing the grit inside of all of us,” says Irene.
Her new studio, Grit Per4mance, includes their flagship boot camp settings that consist of 1-on-1 training sessions or larger group programs. They even have advanced training and recovery equipment such as cryotherapy.. Irene and the company have not forgone their sense of community that helped bootstrap her early training sessions either.
“What makes us unique is our approach to harnessing a community, or what we call a ‘Tribe,’ that achieves their fitness results effectively — with more fun — and at a more affordable cost because of the boot camp approach we take,” Irene details.
Today, Irene’s business continues to blossom as more members share their success stories and her various programs gain more widespread attention. She primarily offers 3 online programs that can be signed up for through her website, including the ‘8 Week Sculpt Challenge’, ‘8 Week at Home Transformation’, ‘21 Day Weight Loss Challenge’ in addition to her outdoor boot camps.
Transforming people’s’ lives both physically and mentally is what Irene lives for and what sparked her passion that has turned into a successful business. Her goals are now set beyond her community, capable of impacting even more people.
“I plan to expand our boot camp studios to every major city in the U.S. to continue to help as many people as possible,” she says.