Who We Are
Julie Aureli Stephano
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
ACE Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist
I founded ACTIVATE as a continuation of my lifelong calling: to lead and serve compassionately and ethically. As a coach, this means empowering clients inside the gym so that they can ACTIVATE their unique potential outside of the gym. For some, that might mean the freedom to live independently and pain-free. For others, it might mean gaining a competitive edge in their sport. And for most, that means feeling great and looking great! Whatever the goal, I aim to partner with my clients to provide appropriate challenges and set the course for sustainable progress.
I began my career as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Consultant in 2007. Spurred by my clients’ needs and the evolution of the industry, I am committed to continuing education. As a Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist, I am an expert on transitioning clients back to a total body program and teaching them how to avoid further injury during phases of healing. I have also recently completed a course on Cancer and Exercise to train clients safely and effectively through treatment and recovery. I am committed to giving women the support they deserve by becoming a Certified Pre and Postnatal Coach in 2023.
I count my personal experience as a client as a valuable resource for connecting with others. Throughout my career, my own training has included bodybuilding, “strongman-style” events, powerlifting, yoga, strength and conditioning, as well as adapted training programs through my own cervical spine and hip injuries and my prenatal and postnatal journey.
In my personal time, I enjoy traveling, sunny days, trivia, and quality time with my husband (who you’ll read about next!) and our awesome toddler.
DANIEL STEPHANO, B.S. PhEd
Originally from Rio de Janeiro, my experience is diverse, from Weightlifting to Pilates to Capoeira (a Brazilian Martial Art). I have always been passionate about physical activity, human physiology, and motor learning processes, and I’ve been inclined to keep moving from a very young age.
My first and greatest fitness influence was my Capoeira Master. Day after day I would join his practice and slowly, I became more self-confident and physically and mentally stronger. He demonstrated the ability to handle adversities with his flexible attitude and very positive take on life in general.
With a few years of practice under my belt, and by being timely and well-presented, I was given the honor of leading classes for younger students. What a surprise it was for me to see how much I enjoyed working with children. I really liked creating that space where learning and movement became one and felt I had found my calling.
I graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. With encouragement from my professor, I began to focus my career on personal and group training. He had a special way of enhancing the joy of teaching, practicing, and learning for his clients as well as his apprentices. It was there that I came to learn about Joseph Pilates and his methodology in its basic form. This holistic and yet very technical approach for exercising enriched me as a trainer. I easily identified with that style and became immersed in any material related to human movement I could get my hands on. I then started my very own library, and it was my hobby to search, study and share all these great tools with my peers and clients.
During this phase, I had put great deal of emphasis in weight lifting. The training room was my laboratory and the place I felt the most confident.
In 2013, I emigrated from Brazil and began leading group fitness and Pilates and in 2014 I started coaching part-time at ACTIVATE alongside my (future) wife, Julie. In 2019, I took on my current position as Lead Trainer.
During your session at ACTIVATE, I will push your limits while guiding your work in a safe manner. My goal is to maximize your results by considering biomechanics and using your background and individuality as an advantage.
I believe that the journey of achieving better wellness and fitness is noble and that every person deserves to have a positive relationship with their body and mind. I very much look forward to hearing your story and working through this journey with you!
INTERVIEW WITH JULIE
“Tell me about your history and how you got into this.”
I started as a client in early 2007, after returning from a six-month volunteer mission. I had put my whole heart into that experience, but I lost my health in the process. I soon realized that I couldn’t make the difference I wanted to in the world without a certain amount of physical capability and fortitude. So, when I started exercising, it truly was the missing link for me. I gained an exceptional amount of confidence and energy, which ultimately allowed me to be more present and effective in all areas of life.
“I believe you also mentioned that you worked with a personal trainer at that point?”
I did. For me, gaining weight happens rapidly when I am not prioritizing self-care. I had left for that trip in the summer and returned in the winter…to a closet full of clothes that didn’t fit! Believe it or not, it was on my way to the mall that I looked up and saw the sign here for Personal Training. I huffed up those stairs, purchased a package, and took a chance on myself. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
“Were you nervous at all?”
I was. Initially, I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror. But as time went on, I saw that I was stronger and more capable than I knew, and my confidence grew. In time, I proudly added “athlete” to the list of ways I defined myself.
“And this transitioned into training others.”
Yes. I was loving the learning process and the emotional and physiological changes I was experiencing. Fitness was a skill and a lifestyle that I had to share, and I felt called to become a trainer who leads with integrity, wisdom and compassion.
“Tell me about your growth and continuing education.”
Early on in my career, I observed a pattern of folks coming in with back tweaks, nagging hip pain, aching cervical spines…you get the point. These are people who have been cleared by their doctors and had been through PT but didn’t quite know how to move forward in fitness without worsening pain or reinjury. It was important to me to be able to assess these folks and develop safe, exciting, and effective exercise programs for them. The ACE Orthopedic Exercise Specialty (along with working through my own cervical spine and hip injuries) gave me the tools I needed to do just that. Or, if a client receives an unfortunate cancer diagnosis, I can confidently continue as a trusted part of their care team because of my courses through the Cancer Exercise Training Institute.
I’ve also grown through my own pregnancy experience and now, as a working mom. In the past, I had had clients who were prenatal and postnatal – but the standard personal training certification just grazes over that period of life. Women deserve so much more! So, I made it my latest concentration to find the best resources out there to serve women well through pregnancy and beyond. We use expert-written and reviewed training programs that take women safely, week by week, through each trimester of their pregnancy and then 42 weeks postpartum.
Over the years, it’s been important to Daniel and me to continue our educations and never stop. We both enjoy learning from doing, as well as from coaches of different eras and organizations all over the world. I personally have attended NSCA conferences, TRX Training, and Somatic Leadership in Action, among countless others. I will also periodically hire my own coach to challenge me and allow me a fresh perspective of the client experience.
“I feel like sometimes people think that they have to be pain-free or not have any issues in order to start a personal training program, but that’s not the case is it?”
Not at all. I’ve heard clients say, “I just need to get in shape and then I’ll come see you!” I know – I’ve said it too. I totally understand that feeling of wanting to come and perform at 100%. But I think what makes ACTIVATE special is that our holistic approach is based on meeting people where they’re at. And no matter where you’re starting from, you can and will make progress.
“What do you do outside of work?”
I love watching my son grow, adventuring with my family, trying new foods, soaking up the sunshine, researching anything and everything, diving into a good book, and meeting nice people along the way.
“Talk to me about what a session is like”
For your introductory session, we’ll spend the hour reviewing your health history and goals, working through an abbreviated and individualized training session together, and then coming up with a success plan.
“Okay, that doesn’t sound too scary. What are your clients like?“
The clients we work with inspire us to be better every session and to fulfill our potential as seasoned coaches. Some might come with specific strength, aesthetic, or sports-related targets in mind. Some want to reverse the effects of a desk job. Some come to manage intermittent pain or inflammation while pressing on toward other fitness goals. Most just want to do life better, with more energy and confidence and fewer barriers. Our clients come from different backgrounds with different goals in mind – but they all appreciate coming into environment where they’ll leave feeling better than when they came in. That’s probably why most of the clients you’ll meet here have trained with us for years.
I believe ACTIVATE is unique in that aspect because we continue to evolve alongside each client, united in purpose for every session and every season. Some seasons are for pushing limits and grunting and breaking personal records, while others are more about maintenance. It really runs the spectrum because, well, LIFE. And we’re here for it all.
“How do I get started?”
Ready to ACTIVATE? Click the link below! Looking for more information? Email email@example.com with your questions, or to request a 15-minute phone consultation.
Get in touch.
We are located on the 2nd floor of the Musto Building in Woburn’s Four Corners. The building has ample parking and an elevator. Our facility is wheelchair-friendly.
186 Cambridge Road
Suite 11, 2nd Floor
Woburn, MA 01801