Tamika Harden is a professional fitness trainer, instructor and now coronavirus survivor. Before Covid, Tamika ran a viable gym in New York City, where she consistently trained 200+ women a month. Being denied twice for a Covid test caused Tamika to face a near death experience, her story is one of triumph, optimism, hope and strength, unlike what we are largely subjected to today i.e.; negative press, mixed messages, misinformation and dire warnings. Tamika’s Family also tested positive. However, she has pushed her way through the virus with a positive mental attitude and through positive action via healthy living and wellness. She has recovered and aims to assist those in the fight against COVID19, through wellness and fitness.
PWH: Who is Tamika Harden?
TH: I’m a certified personal trainer and body contouring expert. For over 15 years, I’ve helped 1000’s of women get in shape and reach fitness goals that once seemed impossible. My passion and excitement for fitness is contiguous. My goal is to help people fall in love with self-care
PWH: What inspired you to start in the fitness industry ?
TM: During my childhood and adolescence I was overweight. I hated being overweight. Both children and adults were often mean, this negatively impacted my self image. When I turned 16, I joined my very first health club, without the help of an adult. I wanted it that bad. Through hard work, I lost 40lbs and fell in love with fitness. At the young age of 19, I was hired to manage and operate that very same fitness club. It’s where it all started! Losing weight for me, was my first major life accomplishment. This is an accomplishment that taught me I had the power to change anything in my life, that I did not like. That discovery led to the desire to become a fitness trainer. I wanted to help others change their lives through fitness, the way it changed mine.
TM: Who is your ideal client?
TM: My ideal client consists of women ages 35 and up. Professional women who lead hectic lifestyles and struggle to make time for self care. My ideal client is a mother, sister, wife, career oriented woman active in her community all while trying to get a grip on self care. This is where Body By Tamika comes in. I show my clients how to live fabulous and lead a healthy lifestyle, all at the same time. My skill set, motivation, support, and expertise makes it all possible!
PWH: What message do you try to instill in your clients?
TM: One has the power to change or improve things one is unhappy with. I want my clients to know that with the right plan, attitude, and mindset, we have the power to change the things we are unhappy with. If one is not in love with their body, it’s ok let’s work on it. Your career needs some revamping, ok let’s create a plan . We have more control over what happens in our lives then we think. It’s starts with your mindset!
PWH: You are a COVID survivor please share your initial reaction when you tested positive ?
TM: I was utterly shocked. Many of us were led to believe that the coronavirus affected only older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions. However, we quickly learned that this virus doesn’t discriminate and that people of all ages should take steps to protect themselves from it.
PWH: What was your experience like?
TM: When I first felt symptoms, I assumed it was the flu. Within days, I felt as if I had been hit by a truck. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had no appetite, I couldn’t smell or taste, and I experienced a heavy and rapidly recurring cough. The cough was so frequent and powerful, that it felt as if my chest was vibrating when I coughed, a very uncomfortable feeling. As my symptoms progressed I began my quest to get tested.
Due to lack of testing sites and medical equipment in my area, I was denied twice for testing. I was successful in my 3rd attempt, which was about 10 days after the onset of symptoms. One can only imagine what could have happened during those 10 days, if my body wasn’t fit to fight COVID-19.
After learning I tested positive for the virus, my challenge was in protecting my 2 children and nanny. I had to monitor my family daily for symptoms, all while trying to stay 6feet apart from each other while in the home, as instructed by the CDC. Keeping my family safe was a challenge but by God’s grace we are all well now. Quarantining for 14 days after testing positive was also a challenge. I couldn’t leave my home even for essential items.
PWH: How did you stay mentally healthy during this time?
TM: I have practiced a lifestyle for 15+ years that keeps me fit to fight. My lifestyle consists of a high level of proper self-care including proper nutrition, exercise, and meditation. Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked. Better physical health alleviates the symptoms of depression and anxiety. This relationship means that staying physically healthy is extremely important.
PWH: What tips do you practice to get through this time?
TM: During this time the best way to practice positive mental health is to stay active using positive outlets. I encourage people to stay in touch with the people they love using video calling features. Exercising daily helps keep you both mentally and physically healthy. I encourage everyone to use all virtual resources available to them. There are also many support groups out there. BODYBYTAMIKA.COMTM: is one of them.
PWH: How can fitness help prevent COVID-19?
TM: Mental toughness and physical fitness allows the body to fight harder against a virus such as COVID-19. To be immunologically fit, one needs to be physically fit. A healthy lifestyle including physical exercise, strengthens one’s immune system and the ability for white blood cells to fight off invasion. Mental toughness encourages you to take on the virus with everything you have. Feelings of defeat add more stress to the body, which can take away from its ability to fight.
PWH: What words of encouragement do you have for someone battling COVID19?
TM: Tough times don’t last, tough people do. Seek medical help and support as much as needed. COVID-19 wants to break down the body, so it can attack. Fight back and don’t stop fighting. When one’s body begins to regain strength turn to healthy eating and light physically active. It’s important to focus more on the things we can control and less on the things we can’t. We can choose to take action and begin to live a healthier lifestyle. You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have .
COVID-19 is real and the only way to reduce the spread we must follow the guidelines required to keep people safe.