After having baby number two, I became determined more than ever to achieve optimal health. I started searching for ways to kick start my journey by reaching out to like minded individuals in my community for support. I’m so happy my paths crossed with an amazing woman by the name of Aretha. I met Aretha via Facebook and was awed at her vibrant personality. She’s a wife of eighteen years, a mom to five children, full time student and a Zumba instructor! She’s been such a huge inspiration to me and I know she will be one for you as well.
BZM: How did you start your weight loss journey?
Aretha: I’d received my yearly physical exam at the doctor’s office and wasn’t happy with the results. My doctor recommended that I start exercising thirty minutes a day and that’s exactly what I did. I started with cardio exercises then added in strength training; I also attended Zumba classes at a nearby gym (Rise & Shine Fitness in Boston, MA). Later on I hired a personal trainer to help me with nutrition and diet control.
BZM: You mentioned attending Zumba classes as part of your weight loss regime. Now, you’re a Zumba instructor (and one of the best in the city, might I add)! How did you make the decision to become one?
Aretha: Thank you for that compliment, I appreciate it! Zumba was my favorite thing to do at the gym; I loved it. My [then] instructor encouraged me to become one as well and I thought about it before making my decision. I surprised her by becoming a licensed instructor and started a fitness program at my church called ‘Faith Fitness’ in Boston. I’ve never looked back since then.
BZM: Nice! Describe yourself using one word. Why?
Aretha: It’s interesting you asked this question. I guess if I had to pick one word it would be giving because I love to give priceless gifts to people (i.e. quality time, encouragement).
BZM: What is your main tip for losing weight?
Aretha: Coming from experience, my main tip would be prayer. I’ve always prayed before my workout sessions and still pray for my students before hosting a Zumba class. I believe that God will give us strength to do anything. We have a responsibility to take care of our temples and maintain our health.
BZM: Do believe in “cheat meals”? If so, what is your favorite?
Aretha: No, not necessarily. I look at cheat meals from a life perspective; you must have balance. If you are trying to reach a weight goal then it’s best to refrain from all unhealthy foods. However, once you reach your weight goal and have learned how to properly maintain your weight then it’s okay to have the occasional piece of fried chicken. (:
BZM: Any last words of motivation?
Aretha: I’m a wife of eighteen years, mom to five kids [was a stay-at home mom for sixteen years], full time student, and a Zumba instructor. You have to make time to exercise and take small steps to reach your weight/fitness goals. Learn your body and know what works best for you. I still set fitness goals for myself and thanks to my trainer Corey Ellis at Resolution Fitness in Montgomery, AL I know that I will meet them.
An added weight loss tip: Strength conditioning exercises will help you shed fat faster so incorporate them with cardio and you will reach your weight goal much quicker.
BZM: How can others reach you (Twitter, Facebook ,etc)?
Aretha: If you’re local, check out my Facebook group ‘Zumba Fitness With Aretha’. I post class schedules and it’s a place where my students can communicate with one another.