Yolande’s Yard: Ambitious One Fitness In Harlem

By Yolande Brener

“No hands-on-hips! No lateness! No bitch-assness!”

If you’re lucky enough to hear these words, you’ve made it into Sereco Campbell’s fitness bootcamp class at NY Sports Club. Campbell, an Amazonian 5’7”, 155-pound woman stands in front of the room, making you wonder if you will ever achieve a strength like hers. A twelve-year veteran of personal training, Campbell also trains an elite few out of her private Harlem studio-Ambitious One Fitness. I asked Sereco if she would share her fitness philosophy with me.

Can anyone attain fitness?

“YES! I like to look at all my clients as a canvas. I want to help sculpt you—to help you look physically beautiful, but it’s an energy thing as well. I’m talking about total transformation from the inside out.

People work corporate jobs or have sedentary lifestyles, they’ll see someone fit and say: “it’s just her DNA.” Bullcrap! Excuse me. Muscles are made to be built just like weight can be lost. What you put into it, you get out.

It’s the psychological aspect that’s the hardest part. People don’t have enough discipline for their fitness goals. You have to be willing to sacrifice and experience discomfort to get results.

“When did you realize fitness was your calling?

I studied communications and broadcasting, but I was always serious about my fitness, not based on my physicality, but more so the functionality—that’s where the passion came from. At first, I rejected the idea of being a trainer, then as I got into it I was like, wow, this is really what I love doing. I’ve maintained that love throughout all my endeavors. And eventually I launched Ambitious One Fitness, where I train clients privately. I’ve trained all types, from completely inexperienced to CIA, from rookies for the NYPD or FDNY, to celebrities, you name it.

What can anyone do on a daily basis to stay fit?

First and foremost: meditation and hydration. You wake up and give thanks for your life. You drink water, walk your dog and take it the extra five blocks, you breathe that fresh air. Fitness is a lifestyle. You can wake up every day and do a few core exercises for 10-20 minutes 4 to 5 days a week. It’s not a compromise, it’s your own body. There will never come a day when you wake up without your core.

Who is your mentor?

My grandmother was, and still is. I believe in her energy and that her spirit walks with me, protecting me. The memories I have of her give me strength. I still talk to her every day since her passing. She was such a strong woman and her warmth was undeniable.

“What can clients expect from functional strength training?”
Physicality comes last. Transformation comes from the mind first. Consistency and discipline come before physical change. People see my physique and want the look, but what they don’t realize is how hard I’ve worked hard to maintain my balance of happiness. The relationship people have with fitness is probably the same relationship they have with life. You need to step into your body. Put your fingers in the ocean, put your hands on a tree—connect. That’s where it starts.

What is your favorite place in Harlem?

My Harlem studio is a sanctuary for my clients where we can be at peace without any external pressures or judgment.

After that, Saint Nicholas Park when it’s raining. I love watching the rain come over my clear umbrella. I love nature, so Harlem River Drive is another favorite place where I ride my bicycle just to watch the people and smell the fresh air.

Read more of Yolande Brener’s Yolande’s Yard here.

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