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Trainer Talks: P.volve’s Antonietta Vicario on Functional Movement

Trainer Talks: P.volve’s Antonietta Vicario on Functional Movement

Antonietta Vicario smiling
Antonietta Vicario, recently appointed P.volve’s Chief Training Officer, is passionate about helping people develop mobility, strength and stability through the platform’s offerings

P.volve, a fitness company founded in 2017, has been making waves in the fitness industry with its unique approach to exercise. The company’s mission is to help people achieve their fitness goals through functional movement and low-impact exercises that are gentle on the joints while still providing a challenging workout. Antonietta Vicario was recently appointed as P.volve’s Chief Training Officer and has a unique role within the organization that straddles content development and strategic planning. Athletech News spoke with Vicario about her new role and her goals for the organization. 

Athletech News (ATN): Can you walk me through a typical workday and how your responsibilities are divided between training and other tasks, such as working on teacher training protocols, studio management and collaborating with the executive team?

Antonietta Vicario: Sure, my role at P.volve is quite unique, and my workday can be pretty varied. As P.volve is an omni-channel solution, with studios, franchises, digital content and live classes, my work involves a lot of different aspects of the business. A typical day for me involves some physical activity, like teaching live classes or recording content for on-demand classes. Sometimes we rehearse this content with the clinical advisory board, especially when creating content that caters to specific life stages or musculoskeletal conditions. On the studio side, we recently opened our first franchise in San Diego and have 15 more sold franchises. I focus on creating and refining our teacher training protocol and program, ensuring it’s built to scale by finding efficiencies and working with new trainer talent. I approve trainers before they’re on the schedule, and I work with the executive team to ensure our members are at the heart of our decisions. This includes representing functional movement and the brand, and being aware of what our customers are curious about and excited by. My team and I are like the front lines of the brand, and I love being a part of strategic decisions like what equipment should be in our starter kit. Overall, I would say my workday is around 30-40% physical activity and 60% behind the scenes work, like management and building for different business verticals.

ATN: Could you explain the thought process behind creating innovative pieces of equipment?

Antonietta Vicario: We conduct user testing before we launch any piece of equipment. Our head of product designs it, and we work together to create something unique. Our equipment is mostly proprietary, and we have patented pieces that are amazing, such as resistance bands on the outside of an exercise ball, or equipment that can be taken apart and put together to perform various exercises. This type of innovation is exciting, but we also need to test the product by working with it in the studio and identifying any limitations or adjustments needed. After that, we conduct user testing to ensure the equipment meets the needs of our consumers.

We haven’t added any new physical equipment recently. As we expand our business with the goal of having 200 franchise units by 2025, we are focusing on the products we already have. We are figuring out what equipment is best for people who want to sample and try our products and what onboarding process will work best. We recognize that our consumers have different needs, so we are focusing on what equipment will be best for different goals. For example, a woman going through menopause may benefit from the P.ball, which addresses pelvic floor issues. Someone who wants to build and sculpt their booty might benefit more from the heavy bands.

One thing that makes P.volve unique is our understanding that fitness is not one size fits all. Depending on where you are in your life cycle and what your hormonal environment is like, your workout will look different. A pre or postnatal person’s hormones are fluctuating, so their workout will be different than someone in their 20s or 70s. However, the basis of our method is functional movement, which applies to everyone. Incorporating functional movement into your routine has positive implications for anyone and everyone.

ATN: How do you keep the core of the brand consistent but continue to market to different audiences?

Antonietta Vicario: When I talk about functional movement to people, and what we do here, the root of our methodology is centered around moving your body through biomechanics that mimic everyday life. Functional movement means moving your body in a way that you would naturally move in your day-to-day activities. What sets us apart from other brands is that we focus on multi-planar movement, not just moving in the sagittal space, front to back like you would with running or spinning. We move in all directions, including lateral and rotational movement.

In my classes, I like to use the analogy of standing inside a snow globe, where every part of your body has equal weight and is moving in unison. This creates incredible mobility and facility in the body, and we’ve seen great results from incorporating resistance-based exercises. Not only do we focus on mobility and strength, but we also add a lot of stability work to wake up your neuromuscular system. There’s a lot that goes into our programming, and I always try to explain to people that while other methods may focus on certain aspects, such as mobility in yoga or core work in Pilates, our method combines mind and body, with an emphasis on biomechanics awareness.

We take things slow, with intention and precision, to help people move better and more cohesively. We believe in a three-pronged approach, where no aspect of the triangle is more important than the others. You need mobility, strength, and stability to meet the demands of everyday life and build muscle. When it comes to longevity, stability is key. It’s not just about preventing falls, but also having the surrounding musculature and support to prevent long-term injury. We want to teach people that movement is good, but it’s important to move well and understand what your body needs based on your goals.

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It’s hard to sum up our brand in an elevator pitch because it’s so holistic, but we believe in creating strategies that explain how all of these pieces come together to support your overall health and wellness.

ATN: What licenses do you and other P.volve instructors have?

Antonietta Vicario: I think licenses are incredible. Knowledge is power, and while there are people who are very licensed but may not be able to translate that knowledge into a fitness class experience, it’s still important to have the knowledge. We are science-led and have a clinical advisory board that is a really important tenant of our brand’s credibility. All of our trainers have certifications, and I personally have a 500-hour yoga certification, Pilates, barre and Gray Institute (which is a functional movement training program) certifications. ƒAll of our trainers who teach on our On Demand platform are certified through the Gray Institute as well. Additionally, I have a certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition on holistic health coaching and hormone coaching. We also work with a clinical advisory board that includes physical therapists, physiologists, OB/GYNs who specialize in fertility and other experts depending on the content we are creating. This ensures that what we are saying is accurate and credible. We currently have clinical trials happening for reducing lower back pain and healthy aging for women between 40 to 60 years old. We are showing early indicators that our programming helps with building strength, mobility and sustainability in working out long term. We are proving out functional movement and why people should be doing it. The full results of these studies will be released in June or July. We are excited about these studies and are proud to have this level of accreditation.

ATN: How do P.volve workouts incorporate cardio?

Antonietta Vicario: We try to build our content in a way that keeps evolving and adding new components. We have a cardio solution and, at the beginning of 2022, we added progressive weight training to our workouts as well. The thought behind P.volve is that it can be your one-stop shop. Personally, I don’t have a separate trainer because P.volve is my trainer. However, if someone loves running or walking and enjoys getting their cardio that way, then I absolutely encourage them to do so. It all blends together, and it’s important to remember that there’s bio-individuality, so what works for one person may not work for another. The beauty of P.volve is that you can take what you need, and if you want it to be your full package, we’ve got you covered.

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