Home My Journey The Big Decision (And A Plea For Help)

The Big Decision (And A Plea For Help)

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Imagine me… sitting on the 1 train. A little nervous, a lot unsure. Wearing my gym clothes, carrying my gym bag and not an iota of makeup, I’m sitting on the train wondering if I really know what the hell I’m doing.

That’s okay, though. I’m fearless, and stuff… right?

I make my way off the train and find myself lost. I’m okay with this, because “Getting Lost In TriBeCa” was number 14 on my “List of Things To Do In NYC,” right behind “Pick A Cause – Any Cause – And Protest About It In Union Square.”

I make it to the hotel, walk through the front door, and see the sign pointing me in the direction I want to go. As I head down the hall, I meet with two women who immediately size me up and ask “You’re here for the career fair, yes?”

“Yes, yes I am. I’m just here to get information, though.”

“Oh, you didn’t come with your resume and all?”

“Unfortunately, no. I thought I’d just come around and see what all you have to offer.”

She sizes me up one more time, leans over to the side and hands me her card. “When you’re ready, contact me personally at this address.”

They hand me a bag and tell me that I’m just in time for the second presentation of the day. As I walk in, a gentleman is giving a presentation on the body, movement and the most important goals of effective training.

Yes, training. As in, personal training.

I listen – and record – his presentation, but I realize how little of it is new to me. Thank goodness for BGG2WL.

At the end of his presentation, they announced that a lot of the higher-ups in the company were at this particular fair, and that it’d be wise of us to ask them as many questions as possible.

I’m cool with that.

It struck me how many women were in leading positions, here. The “get-skinny-quick” industry is usually good for touting women as its “success stories,” but its rare that women are the ones behind those companies or those marketing strategies. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how cool it was to see women behind a company that promotes “fit” as “sexy,” even if they are toeing the line in terms of also promoting “thin.”

I won’t lie to you – there were people in the room with fitness-related degrees. There were people who were already trainers. There was no one else in the room, from my understanding, who were like me. I’m just a weight loss and/or fitness and/or food blogger who is considering going the extra mile. My resume is mad light – the only fitness-related thing on it is my blog, but the blog is a lot. It’s almost three years worth of knowledge I’ve accumulated along my journey and writing for the blog. Sure, on four days of the week I write what the hell I want, but those Wednesdays are often a challenge. Lots of the questions that people ask me require research. Research, that I’m proud to say, made it easy as sin for me to understand that presentation and answer the accompanying questions that came along with it.

I was able to get one of the higher-ups in a corner, and tell her about my situation. I asked her about their hiring process, and – after giving my little elevator pitch about my blog – told her that my experience with fitness is limited to my blog and what I’ve learned over the years. She, too, handed me her card and told me “Stay in touch with me. If you run into any problems in the process, you let me know.”

There was one other Black woman in the room, who had caught my eye when I first walked in. She’s a trainer, with the company long enough to have become a manager… at the actual club I’m a member of, now. She was warm, inviting, friendly, positive, upbeat… she was awesome. I asked her honest questions, she gave me honest answers that lead to answers I wanted to ask for but thought might be too rude to ask.

She also hit me with some truth – coming into the program with certain types of certification make a bigger difference in your pay than others. And, in a city like this one, you want to do everything you can to ensure that you’re making the best kind of money you can. She explained to me the pay model, the rates and the amount of income a trainer can make with the right positioning. I had a lot to think about.

Then, I started to think about the blog. Once the presentation ended, I took some time to think about all the blog posts I could do about going into detail on some of the topics he covered. How dope it’d be to explain contextual movement, the struggle with sitting all day and how it negatively affects our abilities to be fit, and what that kind of writing would mean for the blog. I thought about what kind of resource that would turn this blog into, and how much more valuable it’d be if only I could write more in detail to explain. The few of us who do take something away from the blog, pass it down to our daughters and can help them not only develop healthy body image, but grow up without the obesity, the health complications, the confusion, the bad food, the lack of understanding of their bodies (because somewhere, in America, a woman is squeezing an aspirin between her knees and hoping she can go on pretending like “last night” never happened) and the denial of the empowerment that comes with education and knowing.

And, so, I left the presentation all prepared to go sign up for my certification courses. I am going to become a personal trainer. I’m also asking you, my blog readers, to help. I don’t know who’d be willing to donate toward my certification, but every penny would make a difference. I’m getting my certification regardless – despite now having to replace my fried laptop – but the faster I can do this, the better for us all, I think.

The link is here. Every penny makes a difference. Once I launch the redesign, I’ll have a little fundraising button so that people can see how far the donations have gone and how much further I have to go but until then, hopefully this can suffice.

I sent e-mails to both women, the exec as well as the trainer, letting them know I fully intend to continue on with becoming a trainer through the company but decided to get my certification, first. Both cheered me on, with the trainer offering to take me in as a mentee and show me the ropes of training. Even in the few e-mails we’ve exchanged…I can see now: I want to be her when I “grow up.” I am now poised to do everything I originally set out for – to help others, secure my own financial stability and make sure that BGG2WL continues to be the resource it has always been. I am overjoyed…fried laptop notwithstanding.

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23 comments

Tamara February 17, 2012 - 12:04 PM

Oh my gosh! Congratulations. I’m in a Personal Training class as we speak 🙂 I take my test in April.. I’m cheering you on and wishing you the best. My class is challenging and I’m the only Black female and only person who’s not a size 0 in the class. Best wishes to you!

Curlstar February 17, 2012 - 1:56 PM

Congrats on the new step forward! I am looking forward to hearing and seeing more. 🙂

Charlotte February 17, 2012 - 2:08 PM

Well done! Walking into a room like that is so hard – but good for you! You will do it, now that you’ve set your mind to it – I have no doubt about that.

BlackBerry Molasses February 17, 2012 - 2:09 PM

Go Girl!
You have my support. Fully. So I can hire you later.

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy February 17, 2012 - 2:31 PM

I think this is great news. You have worked so hard and this is a great way to continue.

I’ll be curious to see how you feel about the classes to get your credentials. You have done SO much research that it will be interesting to see how much they teach you. I know that in the world, you get paid more if you’ve gone to college or are certified in something but realistically, going to college doesn’t necessarily make you “smarter” or “more prepared” for the job. This might be different though.

The help that you have given me and others on this blog is amazing. Four years ago I was 325 lbs. in complete denial and didn’t have the first clue how to lose weight. The internet and blogs like yours TAUGHT me. I am still learning SO much and still have aways to go. It’s blogs like yours that turned me from a processed food-fast food junkie to a real food loving person. It’s taken a long time and I’m still working on many things but it’s like 180 degree turn from where I was. I look forward to reading your posts and I hope you continue to share more! 🙂

Victoria February 17, 2012 - 4:34 PM

That is dope!!! You can and will do it, and I can’t wait to see how far you go. You’ve given us so much information already, I can’t wait to see how much more we all can learn about taking care of ourselves!!

mdf February 17, 2012 - 6:03 PM

I read this and felt so proud of you! There is something about starting this journey that makes you want to find ways to help others in a tangible way. And because of the work you’ve done and provided to us (me), I’ve realigned my thinking about food – real and processed, and I still see ways to incorporate changes. I have also toyed with the idea of becoming a personal trainer, but I’ll wait until I’ve reached my target weight (and fitness) before contemplating what the next step will be. Good luck, you’re gonna be great! And I can’t wait to read about what you’ve learned.

DeShea February 17, 2012 - 6:25 PM

I wish you much success!! It takes a lot of courage & determination to embark on a new journey! I’m a big fan of your blog and just as your blog has helped and benefited many others (myself included :}), working with you as a trainer would be equally as awesome ! Keep us posted!

Corie February 17, 2012 - 9:26 PM

Congratulations Erika! I am so proud of you. I have been lurking around on this blog for a while now and I always believed that someone who lost the weight that you did, the WAY you did, was destined to help people..in PERSON. I’ll be making a donation soon, either by way of the meal plans (all of them this time) or just straight cash homie 🙂 Either way, I wish you the best and if you ever need a guinea pig to try some of your new training techniques on, I’m right next door in Queens ;). Best of luck!

Mary Ann MacKay February 18, 2012 - 10:28 AM

Congratulations! I will definitely be supporting you financially.

Wishing you great success and happiness.

Mary Ann

Crystal February 18, 2012 - 9:03 PM

Such exciting news!
I’ve been referring others to your site because the information you give and the way in which you choose to deliver it, is invaluable.

Cassandre February 18, 2012 - 10:09 PM

Congratulations.. You definitely have my support and you live in my hood aka NYC…. I see training sessions with you in my future.. Looking forward to it….good luck on this journey

Carol February 19, 2012 - 1:35 PM

Awesome! Go for it and be blessed!

Karen February 19, 2012 - 2:05 PM

I wish I had the funds to help you out but you do have my prayers and support as you go on this incredible journey! Thanks so much for inspiring all of us!

VanDCamp February 20, 2012 - 1:44 PM

Good luck Erika! I know you’ll be great at it.
I’ve always been interested in becoming a trainer as well. I just didn’t have the first clue on how to go about it.

LBrooke February 23, 2012 - 3:22 AM

I tried to donate- but it’s not letting me =(

Hopefully that means that you got all of the money you needed, and I’m sad that I couldn’t contribute because I LOVE your blog so much! It’s helping me in so many ways. I believe that change (although I don’t like it when it’s so slow) is completely mental, and even though it’s been taking me so long to get to my goals– I keep learning, and your blog is teaching me so much. I’m so happy that I found it, and that you make it. I swear you answer like every question that I EVER have. I wish that your blog was compiled into a book (hmm… idea?? lol) so that I can read EVERYTHING- because I know for a fact that I’ve only touched the surface of your article base.

Keep doing what you do girl!

Erika Nicole Kendall February 23, 2012 - 10:03 AM

I’m not sure why it won’t let you donate, LOL, but I’m still collecting funds! I’ll change the post to reflect when I’m no longer in need of contributions.

LBrooke February 28, 2012 - 12:31 AM

I’ll try again- I swear it wasn’t letting me!!

Angela September 19, 2012 - 11:34 AM

I definitely agree – Erika should incorporate this website into a book or a monthly/weekly subscription magazine – Only because EVERYTHING – EVERYDAY is beneficial….

Karintha Shaw February 25, 2012 - 1:23 PM

I am new to your site! I absolutely love it! I thank you for the information and you have my support! Great things will come your way! Blessings Unto you!

Karintha Shaw February 25, 2012 - 1:24 PM

Congrats! I know you will do a great job! You have my support!

Angela September 19, 2012 - 11:32 AM

CONGRATULATIONSSSS TO MY SOROR!!!!!!!!! Skee-Wee!!!!!

Oh how i love to see females (all females regardless race) venture to new and challenging opportunities….I look forward to seeing and hearing about your accomplishments! I am so proud of you! You have my ABSOLUTE support! Be on the look out this week!

I love and appreciate you!!!! You are a true inspiration!

Sisterly,
Angela

Young One September 19, 2012 - 2:41 PM

I think that this is awesome! You are a great inspiration!

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