I met "G-Love" aka Gina Garcia back in 2001 during my doll designing days at Mattel in Los Angeles, CA.  We always had some interesting conversations and different perspectives on life.  We had the privilege to workout during our lunch time and we never hesitated to get a good workout in!  Gina quickly became my "little sister" at work.  I loved her honesty and fell in love with her the one day that I came into to work "MISERABLE"! I was pregnant with my second child and I didn't put much thought into what I would wear!  That day she looked at me up and down proceeded to tell me how bad I looked.  She continued to tell me that being pregnant was no excuse to looking bad.  LOL!  I think she was fresh off of turning 21 but she had a point! These days, Gina is not only pregnant with her second baby but she working on her PhD in higher education, part-time research analyst and a part time group fitness instructor.  Yes, along with being a mother and wife. . .now, tell me again you don't time! LOL!  Here's her story and remember, the best time to start running or working out is ANY TIME!

"I began to dedicate my life to fitness after I graduated from college.  At the time, I was only interested in improving my physical appearance and did so by eating right, running, strength training, and participating in group exercise classes.  I loved it and challenged myself to go to new levels with everything I did.  But eventually it wasn’t enough and I wanted more than the physical benefits.  I decided to do something different by becoming a fitness instructor.  That was nearly 9 years ago and I have not turned back.  I now teach cardio kickboxing 5 days a week and Body Pump 3 days a week. Even as I prepare for the arrival of my second baby, fitness remains at the center of my world, which ultimately helps me to balance the multiple roles that I juggle on a daily basis.  For me, fitness is not only fun, challenging, and rewarding, it’s a way of life!

Writing a dissertation is similar to running a marathon.  It takes dedication and endurance and requires a tremendous amount of commitment and training.  And like running a marathon, I often remind myself, 'that slow and steady wins the race'.  With this motto in mind, I know that the dissertation will get done and my academic dreams will come true.  In the mean time, I am raising a toddler (33 months old) and expecting another baby in July.  But even my toddler knows that mommy needs her gym time.

Since 2003, group exercise has allowed me to motivate and inspire hundreds of people to reach their fitness goals in a fun and safe environment.  I enjoy the group environment because it is fun, loud, and full of energy from the dedicated people who fill the group exercise room on a weekly basis.  The most rewarding thing about teaching is hearing my participants’ stories of their fitness success.  Aside from teaching, l like running and yoga, which allow me to rejuvenate my own soul.  Running is a time for me; a time to think; a time to motivate myself.  I love running because of the physical challenge; no matter how often I do it, it never gets easier.  It’s a parallel to my academic life, which challenges me mentally on a daily basis."

Gina, you are still "The Gurl" in my book! Keep pushing forward and inspiring others!