Dani and Jess of Stellar Performance

Getting to Know … Danielle Coneliano & Jess Utumapu of Stellar Performance

We spoke with the co-founders of Stellar Performance – Inner West based personal trainers. Together, Dani and Jess talk about how their shared passion of fitness brought them together and their mission to help Inner West Mums feel both physically and mentally strong.

In these extraordinary times, the team at Stellar Performance are really rising to the challenge and invite you to join their closed member’s page on Facebook to do home workouts free of charge.


Tell us a little about yourselves

Dani: I am the co-founder of Stellar Performance and a mum of 2 boys and I’m passionate about helping other mums discover the best version of themselves through movement, nutrition and mindset. I started teaching group fitness in my early 20’s and have been working in the industry for over 20 years. I enjoy running, hiking, music, travelling around the world, good food and wine, family time and a good catch with my friends.

Jess: Along with Dani, I am also a co-founder of Stellar Performance and my life is filled with a passion for connecting women through our health and fitness community, my beautiful family (including an 11 year old daughter), enjoying delicious plant-based food, yoga, meditation and movement.


How did you meet & decide that you wanted to be in business together?

Dani: I was teaching at a local gym in the Inner West and Jess used to participate in my classes. She always gave 100% in the workout and was so friendly. One day, Jess approached me and asked how I became an instructor. At the time, I was starting up a postnatal franchise called Lean Mumma, and asked her if she might be interested in training up in the franchise – as well as doing her certificate 3 and 4 in group fitness – so she could teach classes for me. She was amazing and our clients loved her so much!  When I closed up the franchise, we went into business together and created Stellar Performance. Luckily, we also managed to retain many of our clients.


What did you do prior to founding Stellar Performance?

Dani: Apart from being a full-time mum to my beautiful boys, I used to teach group classes in several gyms around the Inner West.

Jess: Prior to Stellar, I worked in the corporate world in various Project and Case Management roles.


What motivated you to become a Personal Trainer?

Dani: I have always had a passion for fitness and taught group fitness classes for many years but it was after having my children – when I had several postnatal issues – that I decided to expand my career and become skilled in safe exercise  and essential nutrition for postnatal mums. Having felt alone at times and often overwhelmed with the challenges of motherhood, I wanted to help other mums.

Jess: Unlike Dani, I didn’t grow up with a love of fitness, in fact the thought of it would make me shudder! About 13 years ago though, I decided to try and run around my local oval. I didn’t last very long…literally 20 meters (I was very, very unfit, unhealthy and overweight), but that 20 meters became 50, which became 100 and a few weeks later I could actually run a whole lap without stopping.  As more time went on, I started to pair my running with better nutrition and began to see a shift in not only the way I looked, but more importantly, the way I felt. This is where my love for nutrition and movement was born. Fast forward a few years, many running events, triathlons and a baby later, I wanted to be able to share this newfound passion with other new mums so that they too could experience the benefits.


What programs do you offer at Stellar Performance?

At Stellar we offer a range of group classes such as HIIT (high intensity interval training), X – trainer (a variety of cardio, weights and core), boxing, pilates, run club and coming soon – safe return to exercise (specific post-natal fitness and nutrition program). We also offer nutrition programs and creche facilities in Haberfield for our mid-morning classes.


What is the most inspiring experience you have had with a client?

Dani: Wow I’ve had so many! It’s hard to pick just one. One that comes to mind is a client who told me that she hated running and that I wouldn’t be able to help her enjoy it. During our sessions, we would add very small distances into the class. Sometimes she would power-walk and sometimes she would run but over time, the walking became less. Then, one year later this client ran her first half-marathon… and beat me! I was as excited for her as she was! It was a huge achievement and a dramatic transformation, which saw her lose close to 10kg in the process.

Jess: Honestly there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t walk away from a class feeling inspired by at least one of our members. Whether it be the 50+ year old member giving the fit 30 year olds a run for their money or the full-time working mum, who juggles her demanding corporate job and family life but still turns up to her 5.45am sessions and gives it her all because her day doesn’t feel complete without it. Or the mums who have been with us from when their bubbas are 12 weeks old, and then through their next pregnancy and beyond. We see each and every one of our members go from strength to strength and the inspiration they provide us and each other is priceless.


What has been the highlight of your career at Stellar so far?

The biggest highlight for us is the community we have created at Stellar Performance! Nothing pleases us more than seeing our clients support each other through the good and the bad times. There is always somebody to listen or laugh with. Some of our mums have been training with us for 6+ years and so many friendships have been made here. We not only train together, we dine together, we run together, we have coffee together! Our community is strong. Teaching a Stellar class is the highlight of our day, every day!


With the current Covid-19 crisis and families isolating at home – what advice can you offer mums to stay healthy and active?

It’s hard not to feel isolated throughout this crisis. Stay connected via phone calls or social media platforms like Zoom, Skype or Houseparty so you and your children can see and chat with friends and loved ones often. Exercise for at least 20 minutes every day, which helps release feel good endorphins into your body. Movement and good nutrition help boost your mood and improve energy levels.

We are happy to invite any of our IWMs community to join our closed member’s page on Facebook throughout this difficult time and do our home workouts free of charge. Our community can also access recipes, motivational tips and workouts on our public Facebook page Stellar Performance for Women or Instagram page.


Favourite places in the Inner West?

Dani: Egg of the Universe (amazing food and yoga), the Bay run, Bicentennial Park and too many cafes and restaurants to name! We really are lucky to live here.

Jess: I’d definitely have to agree – we both LOVE Egg of the Universe for the food and equally delicious yoga!


What/who inspires you?

Dani: Alecia Beth Moore otherwise known as the singer Pink. I love her life story.

She had a tough childhood and was headed for disaster in her mid-teens due to high drug use and an overdose. She was discovered as a talented artist not long after that, and used music to heal her soul by putting her emotions and life experience into her songs which have since taken the world by storm. She is not pretentious or fake; she doesn’t follow trends and through her career, marriage and motherhood, she keeps it raw and real.

I love that she has evolved but always stays true to herself, she is down to earth and if I got to choose 1 famous person to meet in my lifetime, it would be Pink.

Jess: I absolutely love listening to podcasts and reading books on self-development, plant-based living, religion and spirituality. Some of my favourite go-tos are Eckhardt Tolle, Rich Roll, Marianne Williamson and Melody Beattie…the list could go on and on!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article.

To find out more about Stellar Performance and their services, visit the Stellar Performance website.


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