Week 2 Recap: We're Highlighting the Women in City Fit Girls!

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By Takia McClendon

If you've been following along our Instagram or Facebook, you know that we asked the women in City Fit Girls to share their fitness and wellness stories with us throughout the entire month of March. If you missed the first week, click here to check out the recap. 

Otherwise, keep reading to learn about (and be inspired by) the women we highlighted between March 5th - March 11th. 


March 5: Kristen @runitkris

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? I joined City Fit Girls because I wanted a group to run with! I heard about an all paces women's running group and wanted to try it out. I rarely step outside of my comfort zone and something about City Fit Girls made me. I remember timidly showing up to my first group run, only knowing Kiera and Takia, and loved City Fit Girls ever since! 

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? I have been running for as long as I can remember. The defining moment that piqued my interest in running was after my first marathon in 2014. I had never pushed myself so much and it motivated me to push myself in all aspects of life. 

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? My biggest personal accomplishment would be when I qualified for the Boston Marathon at Philly Marathon 2016. Throughout high school and college, I never was the fastest, I never qualified for anything, so when I finally qualified for something, I was so shocked that I wanted to push myself even more! 

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? My biggest challenge in fitness was trying to qualify for Boston in 2016. 2016 was a very hard year for me, personally, and I was determined to qualify at Pocono Marathon. I dedicated months of training only to miss the qualifying time by 10 minutes. I had never been so frustrated with myself and wanted to just give up running. After taking a couple weeks off, I switched my mindset from hurt and disappointment to motivation and drive. That mindset shift got me a faster time at my next race. 

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? My advice to someone who is just starting their fitness and wellness journey would be to write down your goals and remind yourself everyday what it is you want to accomplish. Whether it is a picture, a fitness journal, or a piece of paper with your goal on it. If you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything! 


March 6: Naseemah @_pinkcoffee

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? Honestly, because of the founders. Their personality matched mine and I identified with them just through their online presence. Those ladies came from a really genuine place which is not typical in the fitness industry (especially amongst women). 

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? My defining moment was after my third child. My mental health took a major downward spiral. Running empowered me and it was the only thing at the time that helped me regain my confidence and sense of self-worth. 

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? Training & completing the Philly half marathon in 2016 (2:14) while being a full time employee, full time MSW student and intern, a wife, and mom of 3 small tykes! 

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? Staying consistent and making time to excercise regularly. I overcame that by joining other fitness communities not only for accountability but for fun and to break some of my routines.

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? Be patient with yourself, sis! Seek out (and surround yourself with) those who will inspire you and uplift you. Always celebrate small victories like...”OMG! I drank 4 bottles of water today instead of 1!”


March 7: MaryBeth @mbwgillan

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? I was new to the city and was hoping to find make friends with similar interests. I went to a Wednesday run and felt the connection immediately. The group was so open and friendly! (I told my boss the next day that I was no longer available Wednesday nights to work!)

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? I was on the track team in high school, more for the social aspect than the actual running. I stopped running for years after. After college, I registered for a half marathon just to see if I was capable. The running bug hit me pretty hard during that training.

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? Running a marathon (and getting a PR!) less than 8 months after having a baby. Learning how to juggle an infant, breastfeeding, and training was incredibly challenging but so worth it! I learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of during that time.

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? Finding the balance of being a mom and taking care of myself. Every day I am putting someone else’s needs before mine. I have realized the importance of setting time for myself. It takes more of an effort to get my workouts in these days but it is so worth it to dedicate that time. 

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? Find your “why”. Think about why you want to be on your journey and remind yourself of that reason when you face challenges!


March 8: Monica @rockstar5230

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? I followed City Fit Girls on Instagram for years, but finally joined because I wanted to be a part of their community, and by seeing their posts and pictures, I knew how accepting the group was. City Fit Girls is the most diverse run club in the city and after my first run, I knew immediately it was for me!

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? Yes! I went through a difficult time while living in France and decided to dedicate an entire year to my health and wellness. I called it YOHAW. I did self-care every single day and started running and joined a French gym. I couldn't run half a mile, but slowly built myself up to a 5k and ran my first official 5k in 2012 in Philly, the Gary Papa 5k.

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? My PR at the Broad Street Run last year. I never thought I could get a sub-2 hour time, and I finished in 1:53!! I have City Fit Girls' support and training to thank for that and of course my own personal dedication to training. 

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? I've stopped caring about what people think of my body. In preparation for my first Broad Street Run in 2013, I ran 10 miles on my high school track because I was too embarrassed to be seen running on the streets for fear of what people thought of my size, shape, and body. Five years later, and I'm finally learning to love my body. It still doesn't come easy. 

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? Don't give up on yourself. No matter how slow you're going, how many breaks you need, or if you fall off the wagon for a bit, just keep going. Find a community that will support you and hold you accountable, like City Fit Girls does for me. Runners come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. There is not one standard type. Embrace yourself!


March 9: Tiffany @a.fitvittt

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? It’s a great way to get to know other women who are interested in working out and have a common goal to be fit. I also like meeting running buddies.

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? Body image has always been a struggle for me because of my skin condition, vitiligo. I finally decided to accept it, and have a new appreciation for my life, my health, and being fit in general.

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? Accepting my vitiligo! And being committed & accomplishing fitness & diet goals I challenge myself to complete.

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? Actually getting into shape was a challenge, but consistency & keeping at it and having a support system, friends, City Fit Girls! to interact with and keep me accountable.

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? Find a friend, group, or even an online community to help keep you motivated and accountable to accomplish your goals. Ultimately, you have to want it for yourself, but it helps to have some fun along the way!


March 10: Emily @ejdrank

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? I was new to the city, and I wanted to meet people. I had heard about this group through social networking, and I could tell it was going to be a group of women that I could form real friendships with. I wanted to spend time with people who may not be just like me, but shared the experience of being a runner and working towards good health. The most important part was that I wanted to meet strong women who lifted each other up and encouraged everyone to be the best version of themselves, whoever that woman may be. And I found that with City Fit Girls.

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? The defining moment for me was running a whole mile for the first time. I wanted to cry! It had taken a few weeks of running regularly, and I had wanted to quit so many times. But once I hit that milestone (pun absolutely intended), I realized how great it was. I felt strong, I felt proud. That's when I knew that fitness and wellness were something that I wanted to stick with, because I didn't want to forget those feelings, and wanted to keep this self-love going!

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? Naturally, I want to say my first half marathon, but when I was training for it a year ago, I was nervous all day for my first ten-mile run. I had never run that far, and it was in the double-digits. All day I kept trying to talk myself out of it, but then I'd talk myself back into it. Eventually, I just put on my shoes and went for it. Once I made it home, I couldn't believe what I had done - all of the work I was putting in was paying off, and I was having fun too. I proved that I did what I thought was "impossible", and knew I could do anything.

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? My biggest personal challenge was working through Female Athlete Triad. When I started trying to be fit, it was a weight-loss effort, but it turned into an eating disorder and put my whole health at risk. Thanks to a great support system (Including City Fit Girls) and a great dietitian, I'm back to living a healthy and happy life, which includes running for STRENGTH, not for thin! 

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? You are so much stronger than you think, and you are capable of anything! Things you might consider impossible are only a few workouts away. And of course, surround yourself with wonderful people to support you; when you're surrounded by love, nothing can go wrong.


March 11: Maryam @timelessdeposits

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Why did you follow/join City Fit Girls? I wanted to be a part of a supportive and inclusive group of women that would keep me accountable in my fitness journey and help me achieve my wellness goals.

Did you have a defining moment that piqued your interest in fitness/wellness? When I was in grad school, I was under a lot of stress, and my lifestyle at the time didn't help either. I wanted to feel better, have more energy, and cope with the stress. So I decided to incorporate an active lifestyle and I started exercising and running. 

What has been your biggest personal accomplishment in fitness/wellness? Running the 2017 Philadelphia Half Marathon is my biggest personal accomplishment. I've never considered myself as a long distance runner even though I'm from Ethiopia :). Running a half marathon has been on my New Year's goal every year for as long as I canremember & I'm so thankful for City Fit Girls; the Wednesday runs kept me accountable during training & for the amount of encouragement & tips I received. 

What has been your biggest challenge in fitness/wellness? How did you overcome it? My biggest challenge is staying consistent and it's something I still struggle with. Having a race to look forward to helps a lot as well as being a part of a supportive group that helps keep you accountable. 

If you could give advice to someone who just started their fitness/wellness journey, what would it be? Everyone's fitness/wellness journey is different so don't compare your journey with others. It's important to have goals (whether it's running a 5K or a marathon) and committing to your goals by registering to races or joining fitness groups to keep you accountable. Last but not least, never ever give up!