Athena Valerio-Hirschfeld was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Athena attended the University of New Mexico where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art Studio. During this time Athena found a passion for metal and almost anything creative. Metal is extremely diverse allowing Athena to learn everything from the fine intricate work needed for small pieces such as a necklace to the power and force needed for blacksmithing steel for more monumental pieces.
Athena’s concern for learning anything and everything that she encounters combined with her ability to think outside “the box” continues to follow her and impacts how she approaches all aspects of life. Once graduating from UNM, Athena took a few months to hone her skills as a silversmith, working for a local jeweler. Wanting to learn more about metal and the history of metallurgy, Athena attended Trinity Southwest University where she received a Masters of Art, in Archaeology and Biblical History. Having studied abroad and involved herself in art, Athena started to look at the next phase of life.
Having the desire to be a firefighter since high school, Athena looked to her next endeavor with the support of her family. After a short stay on the east coast, Athena came back to Albuquerque with renewed determination to tackle the Albuquerque Fire Department.
Her quest for physical fitness began with a desire to join the Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD). After trying the traditional weight lifting route she was injured and dissatisfied with the “strength” gains that were supposed to have been made. After a several month hiatus, she was pointed in the direction of Zar Horton and Fire Bellz.
Unlike anything she had ever done before, kettlebells offered strength and mobility. Flexibility was never an issue, but pain during and after many types of exercise left Athena seeking relief. Z Health was slowly incorporated into her training by Zar, which provided hope and sparked a new interest within Athena.
From the time Athena started training with Zar and kettlebells to her entry in the academy for AFD was less than nine months. During this time she received her HKC as a means of focusing on form and technique, as well as R and I phase certifications of Z Health. During the four-month academy, kettlebells were seldom used, though Z Health provided the relief and strength to move and persevere through injuries and broken bones received during her training to become a firefighter.
Having since graduated the academy in December 2010, moving fluidly and without pain has become Athena’s focus. Not only for herself but others. She has continued to practice and attend Z Health classes including the S,T, & 4 of the S certifications. As Athena grows in her knowledge of movement and health the connection between the brain and body becomes more important. For Athena education is a continuous process and she values the travel needed to achieve classes in Z Health, as well as health and fitness. As such she goes to places like Denmark, Colorado, Arizona, and Indiana for her continuous training.
Athena’s interests in health led her to complete the requirements to become a Certified National Health Professional in 2012. Through this program Athena expanded her knowledge to help facilitate improvement by looking at the person as a whole and not merely the current complaint or symptom. By working with the person as a whole; aspects of digestion, food, emotion, brain function, relationships, and spirit are an integral part of one’s health. Athena strives to deepen her knowledge while assisting those she can, find peace and contentment.
Athena finds it pertinent to study not only “alternative” practices but more traditional fields of thought. Working in the emergency setting with AFD, she expanded her education by attending and graduating from an accelerated Paramedic program through UNM. In May 2013, Athena received her With national and state licenses as a Paramedic and started to act as a Paramedic with the Albuquerque Fire Department. In August 2013 Athena was promoted to Paramedic Driver in AFD.
Her training helps create a greater picture of physical need, leading to her pursuit of a doctorate for the purpose of combining health and wellness as required for improved daily living. Life has taken her down some remarkable paths, but all has and will come together in unique manners as Athena seeks and pursues that which makes us whole.
Alongside her career with the Albuquerque Fire Department, Athena is able to bring her experience and training on a part-time basis to Fire Bellz. Combining an understanding of health, wellness, mobility and nutrition she is an excellent resource to help you reach your physical fitness goals.