Story Cred: IVY Magazine
Photo Cred: Terrance Forte- Forte Fitography
What is your background and what got you to start Fit & Female Fitness Programs?
I have been a fitness coach since 2012. I started out as a Personal Trainer in Little Rock, Arkansas and then started working with an amazing fitness company that specialized in fitness for elementary school children. That was going well in Arkansas and I was promoted to a higher position that led me to the Washington DC area. I’m no longer with that company, but my husband and I really liked this area, so we decided to stay. I then began to work with a fitness apparel company for women and became very connected in the DC fitness community. Fitness has always been my first love and I knew years ago that I wanted to start a movement and really make an impact on my community through fitness, primarily with women. I feel that as women, we prioritize a lot of things, and our health seems to be at the bottom of the list — especially in the African American community. I wanted to create a platform that gave us something else to talk about, something to shift our mindset and get us to start making healthier decisions. Fit and Female started out as a one-day fitness expo in Arkansas. I wanted to bring fitness coaches together along with people who were new to fitness or wanted to add something new to their routines. I brought in different fitness coaches that taught different things such as yoga, MixxFit, Zumba, kickboxing, and even weight training. We worked out all day and had a BLAST! When I moved to DC, what was just a one day expo, turned into my movement and Fit & Female was born. I want women to know that fitness can be incorporated into their lifestyles, just by making a few small changes, and becoming more educated! I currently am a Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Core Training Specialist, and Certified Sports Nutritionist. I am currently working on my Master’s of Science in Exercise Science with a concentration in Wellness and Performance.
What is Fit & Female Fitness Programs? What is it about and what makes it different than other fitness centers or programs?
Fit and Female has had a few make-overs! With anything new, I needed to test the waters and see what worked best for me as a coach and for the people who attended my classes! Fit and Female started out as a high intensity outdoor boot camp for women, but then I quickly realized that that was not the best option…mainly because of the weather! Ha! I then had to go back to the drawing board and really decide what I really wanted to teach? What is needed? It took some time, but I am proud to announce that my new program under the Fit and Female umbrella is grHIIT: Strength X Power X Conditioning. We found a new home, which will be announced at a later date, but the concept is to create a class for women that focuses on HIIT, Explosive Performance, plyometrics, core training, and weight/resistance training. There aren’t too many programs like this right now, and I am really happy to coach something that quite frankly many women are intimidated to try when they go to the gym. Also under the Fit and Female umbrella, I am hosting several free fitness workshops that will cover various topics, again all for the ladies! Fit and Female is now becoming a brand, and grHITT will now be the new program name. We are shattering preconceived notions of female power!
What does it mean to be a woman in the fitness space? What impact, mentally and physically, does it have on women?
I think to be a female fitness coach, we have to fight a little harder to prove ourselves in this industry — which I don’t mind. But there is definitely a shift that is taking place. Some of the BEST trainers in this industry are female, and that is so dope to me. I believe that when women see other female trainers, it is very promising. I remember when I was going to classes; I would be so encouraged by my female coaches. Especially is she was African American, to see a women so dedicated to her craft and disciplined really gave me encouragement — like I can do that too! I also feel that other women feel more comfortable training with other women in some cases.
What do you hope to express to people who participate in Fit & Female Fitness Programs? What do you want them to feel or know after doing so?
Fit and Female’s mantra is STRONG. MOTIVATED. HAPPY. I think that answers your question right there. I want women to leave feeling like Super Bad (you know what’s). Like they can take over the world after getting through my workouts. I want women to feel comfortable and know that anything is possible- no ceilings in my classes. We don’t get to quit in life when things get tough, and we don’t get to quit in class. grHITT is defined as indomitable spirit; perseverance to get through the end of a workout; the feeling of accomplishment after an intense sweat session! That’s how I want you to feel when you leave!
You say you are passionate about building a platform to help educate and motivate minorities in making healthier lifestyle choices. Can you expand on this?
You motivate by doing, not telling. I can easily tell you to workout 3 times a week, eat plenty of veggies, and watch your alcohol intake, but if I am not seen doing any of this- then am I really credible and will people take me seriously? Not at all. Being on a platform where women of color can see someone who looks like them — and not an athlete — speaks volumes. It’s so easy to go the other route, but we need to support each other in this battle. There are so many diseases that are talking out black women and the sad truth is that they can be prevented by just a few lifestyle changes. With all the misconceptions and fake news in the fitness industry, we often try to find the easiest way to get fit, but I want to build a program so that people can get real news and get more educated on how to live a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable in the long run.
How does healthy living impact communities differently?
In so many ways. Having access to quality recreational facilities and programs can increase physical activity. Health benefits of physical activity include a reduced risk of premature mortality and reduced risks of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, some cancers, and diabetes. Regular participation in physical activity can also reduce depression and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance ability to perform daily tasks. Healthy people are really more productive! On the nutrition side, having access to a supermarket in communities suggests people are eating more fruits and vegetables; reducing obesity. Above all, its more about the education and making sure people have a clear understanding of exactly what it means to be healthy. I applaud organizations who really go the extra mile to have local events and bring out experts to do that do just that!
What advice do you have for women who are wanting to get into the fitness world?
It all starts with one visit to your gym or fitness studio. I am a firm believer that the blind cannot lead the blind- not in this industry. Learn your body and what works for it. Study your craft. Educate yourself. Figure out want you want to teach or coach and get certified! If you have fit friends who are already in the industry, go out for tea and have a conversation about making those first steps. Ultimately, it all starts with education and experience. People really don’t realize how serious it is to know your stuff. I have worked with people before who have injuries because their trainer had them do a move that was unsafe and now they have to live with an injury. I would also recommend following some good…good…Instagram accounts for inspiration and ideas, check out @fitandfemale__ (hint hint). There are some really reputable trainers on IG that have great content!
What do you love about your work?
I literally eat, sleep, and breathe fitness — which is so fun! Not only do I workout several times during the week, but also I am working on grHIIT, I am an Orange Theory Coach in Silver Spring, I run with an amazing Run Club — DC Run Crew, I am a coach with the Washington Redskins FITT Program, and I am a Nike Marathon Kids Running Coach! I love that literally every day I get to do what I want to do and have the freedom of doing what I love! I’m building my brand, growing my expertise, and most important: helping people be the best versions of themselves every day they come to my classes!
Is there anything I did not ask about that you would like to add?
Be on the lookout for updates on the launch of grHIIT in DC!