As a part of our Black Leaders Day celebration, we are sharing the stories of our Black instructors and supporting the causes that matter most to them.
Today we have the opportunity to celebrate Tina Wilson. She’s a fitness professional with over 10 years of experience teaching strength, spin and yoga classes.
Read more about Tina below and visit her Moxie studio to join her for a class.
Q&A with Tina Wilson
- Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a fitness instructor. How did you get started? Is there an achievement you’re particularly proud of?
When I was younger, I taught a few classes at the Rahway YMCA. I tore my ACL and stopped teaching after that. As the years went on, the weight kept creeping up a little at a time until I was over 200 lbs. That was the moment I realized something had to change. I found a workout type that I loved and did it non-stop. That is my biggest tip for people, find something you love and people you respect.
After losing 50lbs, I wanted to work in the fitness industry and started with sales. I soon knew that was not enough for me. I want to help people be better. Fitness is the magic sauce to life, and I wanted to share that with everyone. A friend of mine knew how badly I wanted to be a personal trainer and paid for me to take the ACE certification. I failed the first time by 1 point and was devastated – it made me work harder. Now that I'm certified and working with clients, every person or group of people I work with is amazing.
My current group, we call ourselves the "A" team because we are early risers. We began our journey in March 2020 when covid began. Lorena, Bukkyy and Arinita said we want to work out Tina. We worked out four days a week with no excuses. We turned into a family. Over those months, we all went through some tragedy. Having to move, loss of a job, death because of covid, divorce and I'm sure there are other things we didn't share. Through it all, we stuck together, and we are still growing. The "A" team is the one thing I am most proud of because I see how they have conquered their goals, and they are changing the world by giving back. We have a walking/running club, and in December, we decided to challenge ourselves to do 1000 miles as a group. Together, we surpassed that.
- What is your coaching philosophy or mantra?
My mantra is to reach for the moon, and if you fall, you are still among the stars. I believe everyone has a special gift and talent. My goal is to find that gift so they can share it with the world so we can make it a better place.
- What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means giving back and being in control. You have to lead by example, and I don't believe in excuses. Being a leader means giving your all and supporting all your clients while teaching and before and after class. Being a leader to me means changing lives.
- How important is it for you to be a wellness leader in the black community?
It is extremely important for me to be a leader in the black community. I want to show other Black people that they can be fit. My dad died at 49 years old, and my grandmother at 74. Living a healthier lifestyle could have prevented both of their deaths.
I want to let other Black and Brown boys and girls know they can be fitness professionals. When you walk into a studio and don't see people who look like you, it is hard to feel comfortable. So I want every Black person to walk into a yoga studio or fitness boutique and realize they can work out and feel supported. I love the Moxie platform because people can work at home comfortably and not worry about what other people say or do. As an instructor, I feel like I have a better connection to the clients than at the gym. When teaching at the gym, you can't talk to everyone. On Moxie, you can have group conversations and then messages.
- We’re excited to get to know the charity you are supporting! Who are they and why are they special to you?
The charity I have decided to support is The Lion Hearted Legend. I began this charity about four years ago in honor of my son, who was tragically murdered. My son Jamal was 21 years old and said if he ever died, he wanted a charity named after himself to help young boys. Our organization aims to help young men find their gifts and talents to pursue their dreams. We also wanted to teach them life skills, do community events, and give the boys an outlet to experience opportunities they never had before, like white water rafting and camping. February is important to me because it is Black History Month, but it is also the month my son was killed. February 27th this year will mark five years since he was murdered and we still don't know who did it.
- Is there someone in the Black community or a figure in history who inspires you and whom you wish more folks knew about? We’d love to hear about them!
Not a figure, but I would like people to know Black History did not start with slavery. The black race goes back much further and has contributed a lot to the world. We had a wonderful life before slavery. If people knew the real history, then maybe things would be a little different.