In what ways did your Ursuline education prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
Our motto: Serviam. My business is 100% based on serving others. Every day I speak to my existing and new clients, listen to what their goals are and get to work helping them achieve those goals. Nothing is out of the question for me to do if it will help them! I invest my time, energy and heart into helping my clients get healthier and live their best lives.
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Ursuline Academy.
Courage. It takes courage to dream big and go after your dreams! I started Undaunted Fitness in my backyard a few years ago training clients for free. I love helping people get healthy, look great and feel great! From there it grew and we had to move from my Lakeview neighborhood to the New Orleans Lakefront. We now have around 30 amazing women who come out consistently every 6 weeks to treat themselves to a fun workout with the most gorgeous backdrop. We also now offer relaxing and healing massage therapy for women and pregnant mommas!
When I first started, if you would have told me helping people learn better health and nutrition for free would have turned into this, I would have been thrilled but might not have believed you. I use to let fears run me; the fear of public speaking, the fear of failing, the fear of succeeding…that's where the name for my business came from. Undaunted means to be brave, to have courage and to know that it's okay to have fears but to work through them. As I started facing my fears head on and having the courage to live the life I dreamed of, it created more belief in myself and my vision. I knew I could live courageously and teach others to do the same. Undaunted is exactly what I've always wanted to do. A health-based business fueled by passion and purpose. I am so thankful to God for giving me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and step into faith in order to live my dreams and inspire others to do the same.
By building my business, I have not only been able to help myself and my Undaunted family but I've also been able to be a part of something much bigger. Our boot camp family has also joined together this year to give back to our community and make a difference in NOLA. We chose to work with a battered women's shelter that houses women and their children for 6 weeks when they flee their homes in search of safety. Many leave with just the clothes they are wearing and don't have much money or family to help them get by. This shelter gives them a home, feeds them and helps them as they search for what's next. There's no kitchen at the shelter so they are completely dependent on our community to deliver a hot, homemade meal for the ladies and their kids to enjoy at dinner time. Our boot camp has committed to providing one of these hot meals every month. The ladies and I all cook the meal, package it up and deliver it on the second Saturday of every month. We also bring lots of paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, plates, etc.) to help keep them stocked up.
Lives are being impacted and this makes me feel so good inside. It makes me a little teary eyed and pulls at my heart strings to know that all of this was made possible by me having the courage to believe in myself and go after what I wanted.
Describe Ursuline in one word. Explain.
Family. I really think we have something special here at UA. I can't tell you how many times my closest girlfriends and I get together, all 15-20 of us, and people ask, "You have that many best friends?" I have heard it several times. I grew up at Ursuline. I started in Pre-Kindergarten and went all the way through High School. I have so many friends from over the years. Anytime that I run into one of them I haven't seen in a while, it's like time stood still and we pick up where we left off. I am sure many other Ursuline girls can relate. Or what about when you find out someone is an Ursuline alumna? Immediately, I feel connected and ask, "what were you?' I love the connections I have with all my Ursuline family. Ursuline is so much more than an education.
ABOUT ERIKA SZABO LUENING
After 6 years of working in various fitness centers around New Orleans, Erika decided to venture out on her own and create a unique wellness company centered around a simple concept: just helping people. Her love for opening people's eyes to their own inner strength has become the driving force behind her purpose and brand, Undaunted Fitness.
Through her training and experience, Erika has created a complete health and wellness experience where she trains her clients physically and mentally through fitness and nutrition. She also teaches balance and restorative health through her massage therapy services. Erika has begun to make a serious impact in her community by changing people's lives and improving their health. She has ambitious goals to change what health looks like in New Orleans and our world and is fearless in her pursuit.
Erika attended Ursuline Academy from Pre-k through high school. She is a proud Merry Mac of 2003. She graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology. She also attended Delgado Communtiy College where she received training to become a licensed Massage Therapist. Erika holds several health and fitness certifications and describes herself as a lifelong student to the health and wellness world.