What Makes Venus Run?


Venus Davis does not do “Zoom fatigue.” The trainer and life coach has never let anything get in the way of achieving her goals. Her energy and joie de vivre practically burst through my laptop when we recently talked. This gave me some sense of how her clients feel after a workout sesh with her: wholly invigorated.

For Davis, this new technology is every bit as important as weights or other fitness equipment. “It’s given me the versatility to stay connected with clients outside the traditional gym or studio. And it gives them a sense of normalcy, which reduces the anxiety we’re all feeling in these topsy-turvy days,” she says.

This is Venus 101 — reframing a negative situation and turning it into something positive. “It sets you up for success,” she explains. “When you ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help me in this moment?’ you release the clutter in your mind and get clarity to focus on your goals.”

She has always been this way. The youngest of five children, she grew up in Ohio. When she was seven, her mother, a nurse, was in a near-fatal car accident. It was a defining moment. “It was very traumatizing to see this strong woman in this condition,” she says. But, as she spent time with her in rehab, she was impressed by the physical therapists and how they restored her mom. “I knew then what I would do with my life.”

After graduating from Wright State University in Dayton, her career took a detour to New York City, where she worked in marketing and as a project manager, completing her education at NYU and raising her son, Malik (now a real estate agent with Compass). From there, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she has held several positions at Georgetown University. She currently serves as program coordinator for the Office of Student Equity & Inclusion.

Throughout all this, she has pursued her passion for fitness and health. At Georgetown, she blogs about wellness. In her “other life,” she is an ACE-certified trainer, helping corporate executives and teams achieve better work-life balance through nutrition, exercise and lifestyle workshops.

Her newest enterprise is the Strong Academy, a coaching practice — launched during the pandemic — whose mission is to help clients “get strong for life.” Her favorite part of coaching is getting to know the client and looking for new ways to conquer what’s keeping them stuck. “It’s an ongoing process. And it starts with meeting them where they are. It’s so great when they make progress and you can build on those moments,” she says.

For all the joy and success her fitness work has brought her, Davis is well acquainted with the unbearable whiteness of the wellness world. “I have definitely been marginalized and not given credit for programs I’ve brought to a studio or given the opportunity to grow beyond the box of being a trainer,” she says. “It definitely hurts, but that’s the nature of the beast. As a Black woman, you’re supposed to power through this. I want, and intend, to be seen as who I am.”

As always, the Venus Way means turning disappointment into positive action. Davis plans to continue to advocate for greater equity in her industry and to share her passion with underserved Black and Brown communities. “I am very much a person who follows my own drum,” she says. “If you want to be successful, you can’t pay attention to what society says. Be true to yourself. Seize the reward and keep going. You own it and no one can take it away from you.”

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