I love sharing information, no matter where I find it.  Over the past 3 years I have become virtual friends with MizFitOnline Carla Birnberg.  Carla is an experienced writer, blogger and fitness guru! She not only lives fitness, she IS fitness.  Carla has been overweight and struggled with everything that goes with it until the day she decided. . .it was time to make a change.  Read her story and know that you can make that change when YOU are ready.

Greatist Journeys explore amazing stories from extraordinary people. This guest post was written by Carla Birnberg, freelance writer and founder of the fitness blog The opinions expressed herein are hers and hers alone. To learn more about Carla, visit and follow her on Twitter at @mizfitonline.
Much to my parents’ chagrin I’m known for telling people I do not have good genetics. Intellectual genetics, sure. I’m the product of a super-smart women and a quite brainy male. I come from a family that values brains over brawn. Books over BOSUs. Music over muscles.
MizFit BeforeI coasted happily on my intellect and thought not much about physical appearance or exercise — until college. More specifically, my senior year of college when I realized the freshwoman 40 I’d gained prevented me from fitting into any of my interview suits.
Sure, I’d noticed my jeans no longer fit, and my “diet” consisted more of late night pizza than early morningoatmeal — but I was having fun. I could wear my jeans unbuttoned, and opt for oatmeal for breakfast if cholesterol was ever a worry. Until then, I was content to eat, drink, and be pretty damn collegiate-merry.
And then senior year job interviews arrived. I owned suits but quickly realized none of them fit. I’d been able to live in a place of denial with my jeans and stretch pants, but that time was ending. It was time to do something about my extra pizza weight.

Finding My Way… To the Gym

I look back now and am still baffled the “something” I chose lead me to our school’s small, Division-3 weight room. It was dark, dirty, and rarely used by non-athletes, yet for some reason I felt called to venture in and see what it was like.
I didn’t fall immediately in love. I stumbled into sorta-like. I had no clue what I was doing, but since I was a novice I still saw enough results to change my body shape.  Thanks to my ability to mimic what I’d seen on television or skimmed in magazines I created a hodgepodge of a resistance training routine.I used only machines I recognized (hello leg extensions!), and relied on bodyweight exercises (many, many push-ups). I fit dumbbells in where I could (bicep curls galore). After about six weeks (thankfully never injured myself with my ignorance), I was making visible progress — and could at the very least fit into my jackets and skirts again.
After graduation I found myself returning to my parents house along with my freshly minted English Literature degree. Unable to find a job, I joined a women-only fitness center to have something to do while I searched. It was the early 90s and, while some women were lifting weights (many of us inspired by Linda Hamilton’s ‘guns’ in Terminator 2), there were very few of us in the free weights area.
I still had thirty-ish pounds to lose, but my women-only choice was less about vanity or friend-finding, and more about wanting to lift weights with other women.
I had no idea at the time I made this decision that it would change the rest of my life.
Weight training in a female-only environment quickly moved my relationship with the iron from like to love. I felt completely comfortable to try new things without the fear of people laughing at the fact I was a novice or a newbie. I brought workout magazines to the gym and imitated their routines. I bought Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, and lugged it everywhere I went.  READ MORE at

Posted on September 26, 2012 .