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Mikia is on a roll with fitness training

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Mikia McGowan of Specialist Fitness enjoying a bit of roller skating (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Mikia McGowan of Specialist Fitness is offering Fit Queens Coaching (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

Mikia McGowan’s weight spiralled out of control after graduating from college.

Children in the Brownie troop she led wanted to touch her baby bump, when she wasn’t even pregnant.

“I was working as an administrative clerk,” she said. “Colleagues were telling me to go to the gym.”

She found she liked going. As a child she was semi-athletic, playing football and running track.

“Back then, my interest was not nourished, so sports fell by the wayside,” she said.

Now, she stuck to fitness, doing boot camps and fitness classes.

“I started out doing three classes a week,” she said. “I ventured up to doing about 12 hours a week of workouts.”

She started counting calories, and the weight began to disappear.

“I stuck to three plates and two snacks a day,” she said.

And she cut back drastically on sugary drinks.

“In university, I would easily down 2 litres of soda a day,” she said. “Today, I probably have, at most, 20 to 40oz of soda, maybe every other week.”

She started putting on weight in high school. In university, she went on a Slim Fast diet and lost a lot of weight, but she put it all back on, and more, when she returned to Bermuda after graduation.

“For me I did not really notice it because I was ‘in love’ and comfortable,” she said. “I was eating way too much and not noticing. I reached my highest weight after the Slim Fast diet. I was about 250lbs.”

Her weakness was large meals.

“I enjoyed food,” she said. “If it tasted well I would finish off my plate. Then I would go back for more. I was following that rule, clean your plate and ignore any feelings of fullness.”

Through her fitness journey she found she loved helping others to take control of their bodies. Three years ago she started her own business, Specialist Fitness.

She started offering Fitness Queens Coaching for women, last year, but had to stop due to Covid-19. Now, she is running the programme again.

“This is the first time I am offering Fit Queens Coaching on this scale,” she said. “I have one client I took through a private version and she has done amazingly.”

Ms McGowan said when a lot of women start their fitness journey they jump on whatever fad diet or fitness craze is out there.

“They see someone on social media that says I lost 30lbs in 30 days, and they go straight for that avenue,” Ms McGowan said.

She said health and fitness is a multibillion-dollar industry promoting the idolised body type with more useless techniques than helpful.

“I am telling you your body is good if you are willing to take great care of it,” she said. “I partner up with women to teach them about their bodies. In turn, they make educated decisions from evidence-based science, tuning out the fluff.”

Ms McGowan said getting fit is about changing your lifestyle for a lifetime, not for 30 days.

“Even though it is a group coaching programme, your nutrition goals are specified to you,” she said. “The fitness programme is modified to your ability. It is not about fitness and nutrition, it is about the mindset that we have when it comes to eating right and being consistent with our workouts.”

Fit Queens Coaching sessions are held at Energise Wellness, 11 Parlaville Road in Hamilton, on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays at 6.30am.

She also teaches pole dancing classes at Aerial Therapy, at16 Market Lane in Pembroke.

She said pole dancing is a great workout.

“No matter how fit you are, you haven’t used all the muscles you use in pole dancing,” she said.

She was hooked the first time she tried it, despite the fact that her muscles ached for days afterward.

And she liked that pole dancing was considered a little bit risqué.

“I said I don’t know why pole dancing rubs people the wrong way,” she said. “Feeling a little rebellious, I decided not only was I going to take the pole dancing class, but I was going to be amazing at it.”

She kept at it, doing whatever was necessary to get better.

“Whatever fitness thing I needed for pole, if it was the flexibility, I would practice,” she said. “If it was endurance, I would work on that, all while at the same time trying to lose weight.”

Since becoming more fit, her own lifestyle has evolved to include more active hobbies such as roller skating.

“It is something I always wanted to do as a kid,” she said. “One Christmas, my parents brought me a pair of Fisher-Price roller skates. I got on them twice, then decided it wasn’t for me, and threw them in the back of the closet.”

But during the pandemic she saw one of her friends roller skating and decided she wanted to try it again.

“The Tuesday before the lockdown happened in April I rented a pair of roller skates and have been roller skating ever since,” she said.

She mainly roller skates with a group called the Bermie Skaters at TN Tatem Middle School in Warwick.

She admitted that learning to roller skate wasn’t easy.

“I started on my porch and held on for as long as I could,” she said. “I was hunched over which caused me to get back pains.”

It took her two weeks before she was able to do it without hurting herself.

“It is a good work out for the legs,” she said. “It teaches you how to use muscles in your thighs you usually don’t use.”

She is also training to run the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby, for the first time, on May 27, 2022.

“So far I can run 5K steady,” she said.

She trains first thing in the morning.

“I will run first thing in the morning until I become proficient enough where I can run in the heat,” she said. “Then I will change my running times to mid days. For some reason, every Bermuda Day, it is scorching hot. If I am training in cold all the time, I will have to switch it up so my body can tolerate the heat. I do walk a lot in the summer, so I do get that heat.”

For more information see specialistfitnessbda.com, call 599-0676, or e-mail mikiathespecialist@gmail.com

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Published August 20, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated August 21, 2021 at 8:08 am)

Mikia is on a roll with fitness training

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