By Logan DeLeon

SYV Star Intern

Youth Empowered is a family-owned personal training business in downtown Solvang. Lynne Castellanos and her family are currently training people from 12 to 58 years old, primarily in boxing and power lifting.

“The 12-year-old is a lovely young lady who is also an accomplished dancer and a solid student,” Castellanos said as some of her students prepared for a power-lifting tournament in mid-June.

“Max, my grandson, will be lifting for the first time at our meet. He has just turned 6. We won’t let him lift heavy, of course. We are always especially conservative with the younger lifters. He has been travelling with us for meets since he was a baby and has always loved being my ‘coach’ when I am lifting. Richie, my other grandson, who is 17, will also be lifting in competition for the first time.”

Aria Riley originally came to Youth Empowered for boxing.

“I began power lifting two years ago with Youth Empowered after my boxing coach, Miss Lynn, encouraged me to take the class.”

Aria said she participated in the competition June 16 because it gave her the opportunity to lift heavy, and she enjoys the rush of competition. Her goal is “to be able to deadlift 200 pounds by high school.”

Youth Empowered also partners with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which Lynne called “an amazing family-friendly organization.”

The AAU was founded in 1888 to create common standards in amateur sport.

“The Amateur Athletic Union focused its efforts into providing sports programs for all participants of all ages, beginning at the grass roots level. AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the U.S. in the international sports federations. The AAU also works with the Olympics to get students ready for the Olympic games,” said AAU National Chairman Martin Drake.


Logan DeLeon, 13, is a student intern for the Santa Ynez Valley Star.