Christa Camarillo’s Unbreakable Spirit: How She Champions Health and Conquers Vices

On her day-to-day, Christa Camarillo is passionate about helping people rebuild their lives and enjoy the best health. Which is understandable as she is a healthcare professional. She is a clinical exercise physiologist helping cardiac patients rehabilitate their hearts.

But her cause goes beyond clinical duties. She teaches people the connection to mind and body, then into movement as medicine and lifestyle change.  

“Movement is medicine for the mind, body, and soul, yet there is more to us than just the physical. I help people to focus on their needs, vision and goals, and challenges and to use movement and lifestyle change to lead more meaningful lives”. Christa simplifies her mission.

Surprisingly, Christa’s journey started from a very different direction from where it’s heading. 

She wanted to be a professional athlete — a soccer player, to be precise. And it was not just a childhood fantasy; she is a talented player who has gone to undergraduate and graduate schools on a athletic and academic scholarship. 

In her younger days, she participated in three NCAA college cups and was a fundamental part of the NC State University team. 

However, her sports career was faced with two major tragedies, one of which forced her out of the game for good.

Christa Camarillo’s Broken Dreams

Growing up, Christa Camarillo discovered at a young age that she was gifted in sports and education. But there was a challenge. She was good at soccer, yet her hometown of New Orleans did not have the best support and facilities for the game.

So, she had to be part of a traveling team throughout high school, which allowed her to be recruited by the top teams and end up in Powerhouse NC State. 

During her freshman year, she came face to face with her first tragedy. A serial rapist savagely attacked her while she was training at a home stadium, leaving her scarred for life. Despite the criminal being arrested and locked up, it was an ordeal she would wish to forget.

After coming from the hospital, she fought off the physical and mental torture by working extra hard, concentrating only on the game and winning a national title.

Through pain, recovery, and mostly resilience, she had an illustrious soccer career throughout college where she played, besides star players, Olympic and World champions from the USA, Canada, and Norway as her teammates.

After graduation, her mind was set on going pro. The first women’s pro league would start in the year 2001. But then, just as she was training for the combines, the second tragedy struck. A car knocked her while she was on her bike doing her training routine. 

It was a major accident that saw her sustain a borderline skull fracture, TMJ, and tears and lacerations all over her body. She was lucky to be alive. However, her soccer dreams were shuttered. 

New Purpose and Health Champion

Despite the major life setback that saw her sporting career come to an immature end, Christa Camarillo did not give up on herself. When she recovered, she went on to grad school and did well, finishing as a top student and starting her life as a health professional at a local hospital. 

She worked as an exercise physiologist, rehabilitating people’s hearts after they had gone through life-threatening cardiac conditions. Her interactions with these patients gave her a new purpose. They were trying to rebuild their lives after experiencing their hearts breaking. She could relate as she felt that hers had been broken to pieces.

Her empathy made her work with the patients effectively. But with time, she wanted to do more. This would come to be realized after Hurricane Katrina hit her home, New Orleans, in 2005 and destroyed everything she knew. 

It destroyed her city, home, the hospital she worked in, and all that she owned. It was one of the toughest moments in her life. She had to relocate as she had nowhere to call home. However, in 2007 she returned home. She decided to open a wellness and fitness business to help people to heal. Everyone’s heart was broken, and they needed to retrain, rebuild, and live again.

Christa had found her calling and was doing well helping people make sense of their lives, but the weight of the city and its memories were too heavy. So in 2014, she moved to Buffalo, NY, and later to California for work and to fulfill her mission of helping more people retrain their health. She teaches them through movement as medicine for their mind, body, and soul.

She also helps those struggling with alcohol and trying to change their relationship with it. Christa has been down that road when she was self-medicating with alcohol due to sleep deprivation and work-related stress. And she wants to help reduce and overcome like she did. For this mission, she works with Reframe — a popular alcohol reduction app.

Christa Camarillo’s ultimate goal is championing a healthy nation and helping more people to live meaningful and purposeful lives. She uses her skills and the tools she has learned to coach on forums and workshops on stress, movement, and risk management, retraining health, and overcoming struggles with alcohol. 

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