By Vanessa Gordon

Thanks to modern technology and video calling I had the privilege to spend some time telling stories with the lovely Anna-Rita Sloss.

If you are not familiar with this remarkable woman who has built an empire in the fitness industry let me help you get to know and understand just how remarkable she is.

The New Zealand Samoan based in Orange Country California Anna-Rita Sloss is the creator of HOT HULA fitness® .

HOT HULA fitness® is a 60 minute workout that proves to be a total body workout. It is a core focused routine that is inspired by the dances of the Pacific Islands. HOT HULA fitness® comprises of dance movements set to the sounds of traditional Pacific Island drum beats. Trust me when I say it is a total body work out this is not an understatement! Anna-Rita’s format takes fitness to a whole new level. HOT HULA fitness® work outs your core and MORE!

I discovered muscles that I didn’t know existed.

I became such a fan of the program that I joined the movement and became an instructor in 2016. HOT HULA fitness® changed my life. As much as this may sound like an advertising piece it isn’t. It really has change my life. I finally found a fitness regime that I love. Not only have I been able to see changes in my body shape, my fitness levels and endurance I get to see the same changes in my students.

When the opportunity arose to be able to interview the creator of HOT HULA fitness® I was star struck. Absolutely beside myself because I was about to “tell stories” with Anna-Rita Sloss.

THE Anna-Rita Sloss. My SHERO! She ticks all my shero boxes.

She is a woman in business. Tick.
May I stress she is a successful woman in business. Tick.
She is smashing goals in the predominantly male industry of fitness. Tick.
She is a fellow Kiwi.
She is a pacific island woman making an impact in our community on a global scale!
She has built a successful business model based on passion and sharing culture.

Tick .Tick. And tick!

Building a fitness empire and maintaining a solid brand and trademark is not for the faint hearted it takes a lot of time, diligence, commitment, hard work, sweat, and some tears. Anna-Rita started HOT HULA fitness® almost a decade ago in Orange County. Before HOT HULA fitness® she was already an established and successful fitness trainer. She was teaching Turbo Kick and Turbo Jam when her mentor and good friend Charlene Johnson encouraged her to create her own work out programme. In 2009 , popular USA gym 24 Hour Fitness clubs worked with Anna-Rita and rolled out HOT HULA fitness®.

In 2018 HOT HULA fitness® is taught through all of mainland USA, and the Hawaiian Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Guam, Fiji, the UK, Italy and Germany.

The girl from Auckland has made her mark around the world.

In the lead up to our video call I was so nervous.

As soon as she filled my lap top screen with her vibrant smile there was an instant connection a sisterhood we were “Aiga”.

Aiga in Samoan means family. It is more than just your mother, father and siblings it is an extension of what the western world portrays as family. Aiga is not a term used lightly. Family is family. Once you’re in you are in for life!

This is the Nesian way. Polynesian. Melanesian and Micronesian it is the core of our culture. Family values, culture and our roots are the very essence of our identity. Anna-Rita has taken this core value outside the confines of her comfort zone she has taken it outside of the home and is sharing the Spirit of Aiga with the world.

She is the real deal. She genuinely cares. It is not a slogan or part of her branding and trade mark Anna-Rita’s mission is to give back to the community. She has been able to achieve this through HOT HULA fitness®

Anna-Rita discovered it wasn’t just Pacific Island women but women from different backgrounds, different shapes and sizes that were shy and reserved before a class. Then as soon as the drums start beating they are transformed. All of sudden all their insecurities and inhibitions are gone. There is a freedom. They are bare foot and swaying their hips in unison to Polynesian drumming. Some of these woman (and men) who attend class may not do any other form of physical activity this is their hour of power. This is how Anna-Rita gives back. She gives back through fitness.

Lovingly referred to as the “Travelling Lava Lava” (lava lava means sarong) Anna-Rita is proud of what she has created. How many fitness classes do you attend where the students all give each other and the instructor a hug and kiss when they arrive and leave? This is the Nesian way.

Anna-Rita’s secret to her success is connecting. She says it does not matter how many students you have in a class you may have three, thirty or three hundred connect with your students. She is not your average instructor who stands in front of the class looking at herself in the mirror.

No, that is not her style she gets right into the middle of class and shares the magic. Her energy is contagious!

There are so many rewards that make all the hard work worthwhile. When a student has been too shy to go to the gym or too timid to try something new and starts coming to class. And keeps coming back, that right there is the reward.

Anna-Rita has become such a role model and advocate for health and fitness. The humble Traveling Lava Lava says “You know I didn’t reinvent the wheel I just want to give back.”
She certainly is giving back. She is definitely leading the way and she means business. She leads by example she is dedicated to not only spreading awareness about health and wellness but spreading happiness.

We spoke for almost two hours. The conversation was so in depth about so much more than fitness but about the health challenges within our communities. Diabetes is such a prevalent disease in most Pacific Island nations. According to the The World Health Organisation Pacific Islanders are replacing traditional organic diets with processed foods which contributes to diseases that can be prevented. Research has proven that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable.
Anna-Rita is passionate about these issues and paving the way for change. She educates her students and clients about making healthy food choices and the importance of being active.

An average day for Anna-Rita starts with personal training in the morning, she then teaches strength and Rhythm Ride and circuit training during the day. Then she teaches a few HOT HULA fitness® classes. “I make fitness a lifestyle incentive to get up and get out” Her advice for others “make time for yourself, don’t cheat, remain active, some how some way find a way. And make healthy eating choices.”

She is currently busy planning and preparing for the HOT HULA fitness® seminar this April in Aliso Viejo, Southern California. A weekend of HOT HULA fitness® live drummers and DJ’s and Sivas (dance routines) performed by HOT HULA fitness® teams from around the world.

21st to 22nd of April 2018 is a weekend to mark in your calendar. You don’t want to miss this one.

Our story time ended with my favourite question.
What is the best advice your father ever gave you?

Growing up in Auckland my father was strict I played piano and netball. As hard and as strict as my father was, I always felt loved. Always! He would not accept failure. He would say “if you can not do something for whatever reason find a way to do it. At least try. Not trying is not acceptable. Find a way!”

Anna- Rita’s father passed away in 2010 just as she started building the business. He’d be proud.

She certainly found a way.