This no-nonsense New Yorker will help you reach your goals with her authenticity—and slew of motivational mottos.
Tanysha Renee has always loved being on a team. As a high school athlete, she thrived on motivating her teammates to work together and achieve their goals.
Naturally, she brings that feeling of camaraderie into her workouts. She’s had to overcome many obstacles as a Black woman in the fitness industry, fueling her passion to lift up others and create an inclusive space that’s welcoming to all.
“Being part of a community and knowing that you’re tethered to more than just yourself can be grounding for a lot of people,” she says. “My primary goal is to have people feel seen and have them be heard.”
Here, we caught up with Tanysha, one of Tonal’s newest New York City-based coaches, to learn more about her fitness background, coaching style, and wealth of motivating mantras.
What’s your vibe as a coach?
Tough Love. I’m going to give it to you straight, no chaser. It is gonna be hard, but it’s always supportive and with a lot of love. You might have to kick and scream, you might cuss me out. But it’s gonna be great. We’ll be friends at the end—maybe not in the middle—but at the end, we’ll be friends.
Why should we train with you?
I have a holistic approach to training. Before anything else, we are people. How we feel on any one day and what we are bringing to the workout will vary, so it’s important to acknowledge where we are and what we’re feeling. There’s structure to the workout, but my teaching style is flexible because I don’t know what you walked in with today. I don’t know what you’re battling, I don’t know what’s on your mind. I want the time we’re together on Tonal to be impactful enough that when you walk away, I’m still with you. I’m going to stay with you. It’s beyond the moment. What I’m going to give to you is going to carry you through the rest of your day.
Tell us about your athletic background.
In high school, I was on the track and field, cheerleading, and step teams. I loved doing strength and conditioning training with my teammates and pushing each other to excel. The teamwork and camaraderie was incredible. That’s stuck with me through today.
Why is inclusion in fitness so important to you?
Being a dark-skinned Black woman in fitness has been one of the greatest challenges I’ve experienced. If you are trying to line up with people who don’t look like you, you’re never going to match up with that. It took me some time to be vocal and vulnerable about improving my visibility in this space. It’s made me passionate about diversity, inclusion, and representation.
It’s my gift to be able to share that with someone else. I want to make fitness more approachable to more people. I want people who look like me to see themselves in fitness. There are so many benefits when we interact with and learn from people who have vastly different cultural and life experiences than our own. We are more alike than we are different.
How did you decide to pursue a career in fitness?
I always say fitness chose me. My journey has been a roller coaster, with the peaks and valleys, highs and lows, fast, and slow. For a while, I was trying to balance training with my job in commercial building management. It wasn’t easy to give up that financial security, but I wasn’t doing what I truly loved. I tell my coaching clients to believe in themselves and follow their dreams, and not heeding my own advice started to become harder and harder to do. You have to practice what you preach.
It feels exhilarating to honor who you are. I decided to fully put my time, my effort, and my energy into the thing that I love and that lights me up. Making such a huge pivot is scary, but you need to be true to yourself.
You were born and raised in New York City. How has that shaped who you are today?
New York is like no other city. We’ve all heard the saying “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” and it’s really true. New York will make you show up. It’s taught me to always think how I can level up in whatever it is that I’m doing.
Do you have a philosophy or motto that resonates with you?
I have a lot of isms and sayings that I repeat in class but also tell myself. Here are some of my favorites:
While you can, do: It’s about appreciating the body we have on any given day, and showing up with gratitude for the heart that’s still pumping and the joints that are still bending. Although it may not be the body we had nine months ago and may not be the body we’ll have a year from today, it’s the one we have right now.
T the P: Trust the process. Be ready to do the work and be accountable. It’s one rep after one rep. Don’t be upset with the results you don’t get, from the work you did not put in.
How you do one thing is how you’ll start to do the rest of the things in your life: Pay attention to how you might talk to yourself when anything gets difficult. I don’t care if it’s a burpee, a plank, or a conversation that you have to have with your partner or your kids. How you approach conflict will become a habit.
What does strength mean to you?
To be consistent. All battles aren’t won in a day. True strength requires resilience. Sometimes we need to take a step back to spring forward, like old school Hot Wheels cars. Slow motion is better than no motion, so stay consistent.
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