• Hoboken Girl of the Week: Vanessa Checchio {of Bachata & Barbells}

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    So excited for our very first Hoboken Girl of the Week of 2016!

    It’s only {New Year’s Resolution} appropriate that she be in the sweat-inducing business {with abs of steel!}. Meet Vanessa Checchio, the creator of bachata & barbells, a health and wellness business that offers personal training, fitness classes, and in her words — “overall badass, positive empowerment” — to her clients throughout the Hoboken area.

    hoboken girl of the week vanessa checchio

    If you follow Vanessa’s bachata and barbells Instagram, you know that her training motto is #ThighGapsAreOutofStyle — a phrase that we love — because it’s the real shiz. You can find her teaching HIIT classes at Intrepid Gym and a variety of fitness classes at Work it Out {including one we featured a few months back}. Besides being a seriously kickass trainer, Vanessa is also the creator of bachata bangles, a line of bracelets that she says “express bachata & barbells in a fashion sense.”

    Before she created bachata & barbells, Vanessa was working a full time, corporate job while simultaneously teaching classes and personal training on the side. Vanessa says, “I’d leave my job around 4pm, most of the time frustrated and angry, head to Hoboken to train/teach until around 9pm, go to sleep — and then wake up and do it all over again. I found myself getting so upset about my full time job that I was started to resent what made me really happy, the fitness part of my life! Eventually something snapped in me one day, and I said, “WTF am I doing?” I realized I needed to take my passion, which I happened to be talented at, and run with it.” And run, she did!

    Vanessa’s passion for fitness, health, and wellness came way before her job. When she was 12 years old, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes. Throughout the whole time she was going through chemotherapy, Vanessa continued to play sports with the mindset of “always making sure to be able to attend a game — cancer wasn’t going to stop me!” That tenacity and competitiveness kept her going, even through the most severity of the situation. Vanessa shares, “I didn’t miss a game unless I was feeling really sick. Fast forward 15 years and that competitiveness has given me the motivation to be where I’m at today —  teaching 10 classes a week and training up to 14 clients on the reg. Because I’ve been sick in the past, I’ve become a little more aware of when my body needs a rest — so when I’m feeling it does, I give it one {which everyone should do}!

    On #Thighgapsareoutofstyle: I’ve had thick legs since I came out of the womb. The first time my grandfather ever saw me he said, “Man, she’s got some tree trunks on her!” When I was younger I had kind of a hard time accepting them because being skinny was the thing. Around High School was when the whole thigh gap became popular, you know being able to see what’s behind you through your legs? Well the more I got into lifting and realizing how strong my tree trunks were, the more I thought, “F A THIGH GAP!” Unless you naturally have one, it’s a thing of the past.

    Of course, we had to ask our infamous HG of the Week questions to this sassy and svelte lady — and here are her answers:

    What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken?

    Cucharamama

    This may be the hardest question I’ve ever been asked because there are SO many good ones. If I had to pick though I’d say Cucharamama. The food is phenomenal and the atmosphere is perfect for a first or 100th date.

    What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken?

    AaRaa Accessories {not only because they carry bachata bangles, but also because Neeta’s jewels are amazing!}.

    What do you love most about Hoboken?

    How supportive the town and people of Hoboken are of local businesses. That’s really hard to find especially in a city, but Hoboken goes above and beyond for it.

    What is your favorite thing to do in Hoboken?

    pizza food hoboken girl

    ^Eating, a trainer’s favorite past time. YES: you can have your cake and eat it too — as long as you workout!

    EAT! There are so many good restaurants and hidden gems in Hoboken, it’s hard not to make it a hobby.

    How long have you lived and/or worked in Hoboken?

    I started bachata & barbells a little over a year ago, but I’ve been working at gyms in Hoboken for over 3 years now.

    What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?

    I love walking the uptown area between Bloomfield and Willow. The brownstones are gorgeous and have so much character and detail to them, you notice something different every time you pass by.

    What is your favorite place to workout in Hoboken?

    work it out hoboken 5 years

    I have a 3 way tie for this one: Intrepid Gym, Work it Out, and CrossFit Hoboken. Intrepid feels like my second home, the women of Work it Out always empower me, and CrossFit Hoboken gives me the butt kicking I need once in awhile.

    Where do you go out with friends in Hoboken?

    You can usually find us on the stage at Wicked Wolf for Sunday Funday during football season. GO PACK GO!

    What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken?

    More parking. Just kidding…kind of. I would love if a craft store that sold supplies for jewelry making came to Hoboken! There are tons of places in the city to go to for craft supplies, but I think that would make our mile square complete.

    How did you start training?

    I feel like I was destined to be a trainer since the first time my 6-year-old self decided to put my bathing suit on as my workout gear {and used my mom’s Stepper as I mimicked Barbie’s Workout Video featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt}. Real time though, I started teaching fitness classes and personal training in college at East Stroudsburg University. Working at the gym was the “it” place to work on campus, and it was also one of the hardest work-study jobs to obtain, but I was lucky enough to be a chosen one. Shortly after working the desk there, I started teaching classes and training, and the rest is current history!

    Although I might seem like a gym rat, I’m actually a writer by nature. Besides from my blog, I’m a contributor for SpotMeGirl and recently started writing for Aloha Magazine. I love to be able to share both of my passions — fitness and writing — in one outlet.

     

    Email Vanessa at bachata.barbells@gmail.com — and to purchase any bachata bangles, you can visit Vanessa’s Etsy shop!

     

     


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


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