One of my personal joys of social media is being able to watch a friend, acquaintance or peer find their passion, build a brand and monetize it. I get even more excited when the brand truly makes a difference in the community or saves a life. Around 2010/2011 I noticed that a lot of women in my timeline were slimming down. To most, that would be no big deal; however, it caught my eye because most of the women were in their early 30’s, had children and were more in shape than they were in high school. I soon found out a former high school acquaintance, Tekeema Blackwell Parsons, started teaching Zumba and had created the Virtual Workout Crew to help women across the US and beyond keep each other motivated during their fitness journey.
I had a chance a few years ago to check out her dope Zumba classes and through social media I’ve been watching the amazing body transformations from the participants in her Slimdown Challenges. The workouts were awesome, but what I loved most about her class was that I saw women, men, and kids of various nationalities, ages and sizes supporting one another.
For six years I have watched this young lady motivate thousands to lose weight, balance her family, inspire others to become fitness instructors all while remaining accessible to all, humble and focused. Last Thursday, her hard work was honored at the Zincon 2016 Zumba Convention where she was named 2016 Zumba Fitness Inspiration of the Year. As I sat and watched her acceptance speech video, a little thug tear formed in my right eye. I remembered reading her testimony when she almost lost her life delivering her son, I remember how awesome I felt after taking her Zumba classes years ago. I was then inspired to step up to the plate and embrace her Slimdown 8 Challenge–I signed up a few weeks ago. 19 days into the challenge, I have decided to take control of my life and weight. I’m on day five and it’s tough, I feel weak and I have the “hungry breath,” but my daughter deserves a healthy mother who can rock a bikini.