Coach Yari: Latina fitness expert taking on the world

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    Yarixa Ferrao, fitness expert

    Fitness expert Yarixa Ferrao, right, with CNN Latino “Sin Limites” host Elizabeth Espinosa. (Courtesy photo)


    Yarixa Ferrao, also known as Coach Yari, is an award-winning personal trainer and Saludify’s own fitness expert.

    Known for her upbeat and motivational approach to fitness, Coach Yari has been featured on CNN and MTV, and has a weekly column in Saludify, but it’s her outlook on wellness and happiness which makes her truly unique.

    “I teach much more than just fitness. I practice what I preach, and I am a true student of fitness and nutrition,” says the Latina fitness expert. “I am always researching things to see what else I can improve in my training programs. Having done this for more than 12 years, I know exercise like the back of my hand. I know the ins and outs. But, I still never stop learning. And more importantly, I never give up on my students even when they feel they have given up on themselves.”

    Who is Yarixa Ferrao – the fitness expert?

    A Puerto Rico native, Coach Yari began her fitness path in 2001 when she won second place in a South Florida figure competition. From that point on, she decided to make fitness a major part of her life and went on to become a full-time health and fitness trainer, teaching one-on-one in a South Florida fitness studio. It wasn’t long before Coach Yari’s expertise gained her a position as the official fitness specialist for Univision’s morning news fitness segment, Al Amanecer, translated in English to “At Sunrise.”

    Coach Yari’s fame grew as she made a name for herself as a fitness coach who cared not only for her clients’ physical health, but for their emotional health as well.

    “All I ever want to do is bring out the best from people,” she explains. “The movement, sweat, sometimes tears, and pushing through challenges always took me to new levels and discoveries of myself. Movement is freedom, it’s a way of unveiling the real us. It unlocks stagnant energy in the body which little by little lightens the density of our bodies and energies.”

    She adds, “Fitness is not just about looking good and being strong- although at the beginning I thought it was, and soon I realized it was way beyond what I innocently thought.”

    Coach Yari shares her expertise in her own YouTube channel, her website — where her appearances, live and online classes and books are featured — and her volunteering efforts.

    As a fitness expert, Yarixa Ferrao’s philosophy is evident in the success stories she shares.

    Her deep connection to people was most obvious during MTV’s “I Used to be Fat” series, where she says she became coach, sister, friend, mentor, mom — all-in-one — for the three teens selected to be on the show. The experience was one of the most memorable of her life.

    Another touching moment for the fitness coach came during her motivational speaking session at a homeless shelter in L.A. on skid row.

    “They were the cutest, most attentive and grateful kids who were truly interested in being paid attention to and given love. My intention was simply to empower them in whatever way I could,” said Coach Yari. “I was able to relate to them and tell them my story which led to letting them know that they could do, be or have anything they wanted to if they truly desired it.”

    Coach Yari gave them a powerful 2 minute, full body workout, and the children were ecstatic to know that they could feel the way they did and recreate it whenever they wanted to. Ferrao still remembers the laughter, the smiles and the energy that lit up the room from the kids.

    “They filled me with love, joy, and completely humbled me. It was amazing! I think I learned that much more from them.”

    Coach Yari’s fitness philosophy

    For people looking to adopt fitness expert Yarixa Ferrao’s methodology, she says that at the core of her programs is one simple rule: Find the root of the problem. This means identifying what caused initial weight gain and addressing that problem specifically to maximize results.

    Fitness expert Coach Yari's book

    The latest book from fitness expert Yarixa Ferrao – now in Spanish too. (Shutterstock)

    For anyone feeling discouraged with weight gain, the fitness expert says her most important piece of advice is to listen to your body, even though that may sound cliché.

    No one knows what your body needs more than you do. If, for example, she says, you are getting injured, you can either back off from the intensity or change your workout. Or if you are getting a stomachache from a “healthy protein shake”, it may mean that your body does not like it and therefore it is not healthy for you. One diet does not fit all, nor does one way of working out.

    For Coach Yari and her clients, wellness is about balance, and finding the right emotional and physical harmony will do wonders for the body overall.

    This approach, combined with a focus on nourishing and healing the body, allows individuals to let go emotionally and physically to finally experience fitness success. And as a Latina herself, Coach Yari places an extra emphasis on the importance of fitness among the Hispanic community.

    “I feel it’s so important for the Latino community to gain knowledge on nutrition and exercise because without our health, how can we grow and continue to share our greatest gifts?” she points out. “The lively, spicy, passionate, happy, creative, smart and loving culture we are needs to continue to thrive and bring more joy and happiness to the world.”

    Don’t miss Coach Yari’s coming TV appearances!

    CNN Espanol on “Cala” — LIVE at 6 PM Eastern on Wednesday July 17
    MTV’s “I Used to Be Fat” — Monday July 15  12:04 Eastern

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