Kat Novoa is the founder and CEO of Babes of Wellness, Los Angeles’ first queer Latina-owned, all-women’s inclusive wellness gym. Their motto, “MORE THAN A BODY,” boldly claps back against the societal aesthetic demands often imposed on women.

At Babes of Wellness, their mission is to maximize potential in every area of life, including body image, relationships, and self-love. They aim to move away from pervasive fitness practices and into a more holistic and mindful lifestyle. They offer yoga, pilates dance, and more, bringing women together from all walks of life.

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Novoa, who is a Nike-signed trainer, helped launch Nike’s Well Collective, which focuses on overall well-being versus physical aesthetics. But Novoa’s credentials don’t stop there. She’s also a trauma-informed personal trainer, nutrition coach, and mindfulness coach.

mitú got to pick her brain about how her inclusive vision came to be, her personal take on wellness culture, and why community is paramount.


Inspired by survivors

Novoa first got the idea to create a queer-inclusive wellness space after visiting and volunteering at domestic abuse shelters. She hosted free wellness workshops for survivors and realized the importance of safe spaces as a pathway to healing.

We all know the importance of endorphins, so Novoa recognized that movement was integral for survivors to “reconnect to themselves in a gentle way.” This was her catalyst to break into the fitness industry, bringing her unique perspective to the table.

Ultimately, she decided on an all-women gym with a focus on queer inclusivity. Novoa believes gyms should be a place of “refuge, safety, exploration, and empowerment” instead of spaces where many women feel “harassed, intimated, and unable to connect.”


Obstacles along the way

In many Latinx communities, first and second-generation Americans often lead the way. Novoa is no different. She was the first in her family to become an entrepreneur, starting her wellness business with “no guidance, degree or blueprint.”

Naturally, there were lots of hurdles to jump over. Opening up her first studio was very expensive, and financial limitations posed a challenge. During this time, Novoa also lost her father, which made the process much more difficult as she dealt with her overwhelming grief.

Resilient as ever, she persevered, opening the doors to Babes of Wellness in 2018. And she hasn’t looked back since, continuing to empower women to love themselves beyond their bodies.

Cultivating community is key

Novoa credits her many achievements to building a strong community. She shared an African Proverb with us: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. “Novoa confesses that this has always stayed with her, as she is “in the business of building community.”

She notes that the “Latina urge to be resourceful” has also guided her path. Three key components to success? “Hard work, grit, community-focused business,” she told us. Novoa’s positive outlook on life has definitely played a role as well.

She shared, “We have all been given gifts the day we took our first breath in this existence; it’s our responsibility to do the work and show up so that we share our gifts and light!” I think it’s safe to say that hers is shining bright.