For Nita Caldwell, fitness is her true passion. While she has always worked with sports in some capacity, four years ago she quit her job and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in fitness and has been making waves ever since. The NASM-CPT launched Nït Fit as a safe space that welcomes anyone who is interested in fitness. Lively connected with Caldwell, who you’ve seen all over our site and socials featured prominently in our running and fitness imagery. Read on for how she builds community and makes a positive impact on the lives of others through fitness.
Lively: How did you get into fitness?
Nita Caldwell: I’ve been into fitness, ever since I was a kid. I’ve always loved sports, and had college scholarships for sports. However, I suffered injuries that were never full addressed, so I knew I wouldn’t be competing after college. Still, I wanted to be involved in sports, so after college, I started working in professional sports.
L: How did you transition to a career as a trainer?
NC: I loved my job, but I felt like something was missing and I wasn’t fully living my purpose. So, I started focusing on what makes me happy. I’m always working out, and I could be found in the gym before or after work on my lunch break and getting so much pleasure out of those moments of my day. Then, it turned into people seeing me in the gym and wanting to train with me. I enjoyed those moments so much and found my passion and purpose again during this time. So, I decided it was time for a career and location change.
L: How long have you been doing fitness full-time?
NC:I’ve been fully doing fitness for about four years, I officially started when I moved to California. I’m currently NASM certified and working on others. I love the idea of learning. I’ve always been the athlete, so now being a coach I’m finding there’s always more to learn. I’ve worked with so many types of trainers, it’s helped me frame what type of coach, trainer and mentor I want to be.
L: Tell us more about Nït Fit.
NC:I wanted to created a safe space for people where they could be themselves. Working out can be intimidating, whether you walk into gym where people are super shredded or you’re looking for a community but you head into a space where you can’t find anyone to talk to. The idea behind my company is to offer an open space, outdoor workout to take away that intimidating feeling of walking into a gym. Instead, everyone can show up outside and feel welcome.
I want to create a safe space for people to come and workout and enjoy working out. I want them to feel like they have a place where they can show up and feel like they belong and help them build up that confidence to be able to go into a gym.
Fitness can be expensive, especially in LA, and fitness shouldn’t be a bill, everyone should have access, no matter what walk of life they’re in. So, pre-COVID, I offered one free community class per week. It started as about five people showing up in Runyon Canyon, and I’d blast music and get circuits going. By the end, there were about 40 people, and I hope to start that up again once it feels safe to do so.
L: What’s your favorite thing about being a trainer?
NC: Knowing that I can help people, as cliché as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to help people in some way—sports and fitness made me into the woman I am today, so I wanted to give back to people in the same way.
Living in LA, fitness is often looked at as a tool for physical looks, and I hate the mindset that puts on women. Instead, I want to help you feel great though working out. I also want to instill that in our kids—stressing the importance of finding love for fitness and taking care of our bodies, not to look a certain way.
L: What’s your favorite way to work out?
NC: I tend to like HIIT workouts, but it’s so important to cross-train and make sure your body doesn’t get used to one thing. I’m big on cross-training and long runs, but recently I’ve started to spice it up with kickboxing and yoga.
L: Do you have any mantras that keep you going through tough times?
NC: My life mantra is “everything in life is either a lesson or a blessing.”
We’re our own hardest critics, so I try to give myself grace and either learn or grow from tough times. When I’m working out, I always give myself something to focus on getting 1 percent better each day, since you can’t expect a complete transformation overnight, and it’s easy to forget what it takes to reach those big picture goals.
L: Have you faced any adversity or barriers in your career?
NC: There are a lot of barriers with growing a career in fitness. One of the biggest barriers for women is that often, people will try to find trainers that they want to look like. It’s oftentimes a look people are chasing, and my idea of fitness is different. I’ll help you reach physical goals, but I’m trying to change mindsets and get people excited about the feeling they get from exercising.
And, I’ve had to take leaps and find what works and what sets me apart. The fitness industry is huge, but it’s also tight-knit, so I’ve enjoyed getting advice from trainers in my area. There are challenges and peaks and valleys, but it’s so rewarding.
L: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get started on their fitness journey?
NC: Take it one day at a time and give yourself grace. The first day is the hardest, but once you get to the gym, you’ll find a comfort zone and it’s a feeling like none other. One trick I use when I don’t feel like getting my workout in is lacing up my shoes. That way, even if in my head I don’t want to go, my shoes are already on and it’s go time.
L: What are your favorite Vital products?
In the morning, I love to add Vital Proteins® Collagen Peptides to my ice cold water. I’m not a big coffee person, but I do love that the Vital Performance™ PRE doesn’t make me feel jittery but still gives me a boost of energy.** So, I’ll use it as an energy boost throughout the day or before a workout.