This week we are high-fiving FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight: Dama Rodriguez! Dama has a POWERFUL story about how she completely changed her life through her fitness journey. She is super raw and real in this interview about the ups and downs of her journey and how she used determination and grit to overcome everything life has thrown her way. She has lost 100 pounds, climbed Mt. Fuji, leads outdoor fitness activities, coaches, and most importantly has discovered her own power through this process.
Tell us about yourself and your fitness journey:
Since the age of one, I was always the heavier set girl.
What can you say when at the age of five, a grown-up tells me that I “will never go to heaven because I was too fat to fit through the gates”. That’s what I remember at a very early age. Not from my family, but my surroundings. My mother and family always loved me.
Going forward, I tipped the scale at 300 pounds at 5’3 in my twenties. My body was in so much physical pain, and I had limited mobility due to my weight. I felt awful and depressed. I believed that this was life for me and that there was nothing better to look forward to.
One day at the age of thirty-six, I told myself I HAD ENOUGH! This is not going to continue any longer! In the summer of 2013, I made that final decision to do something about it and stick with it.
I am now forty-one years young. July 27, 2018, I climbed my first mountain and reached the summit of Mt Fuji, Japan. I am 100 pounds less and loving how I feel. I am in love with fitness. There is something about grabbing those weights and going for it! It is so much part of me.
From time to time, I coach small groups and take them outdoors for fitness activities. I also coach at a studio when opportunity allows. When I coach is more of an empowering-fitness session not just working out. It’s important to change your mindset during a weight loss journey or you will fail.
What first inspired you to pursue this path?
Not so much inspiration, but a desperate need of a change and relief of my pain. I was at a dark moment in my life and it was consumed by physical pain, emotional distress, extreme obesity, and limited mobility. I felt hopeless and lifeless and in a marriage that I couldn’t be happy with myself. I had no dreams, no motivation, no aspiration, no goals. I knew I had to change my own life, be my own hero or I would die is despair.
What do you believe to be your greatest strength & weakness?
It all came from within. My strength is the hunger I have to change my actions of the past. I lived with a very limited mindset based on my surroundings due to my body size. For years and years, all I knew was that I could not do anything or was not good enough because I was in a fat body. Now I am Fierce. What can I do next fuels me? I just climbed Mt Fuji, what else can I do? Tough Mudder is a possibility for the near future :)
Have you worked with coaches?
Not at first. My journey started alone in the summer of 2013. I literally just started step by step, doing what I could with walking and modifying my nutrition. I suffered a few injuries which would put me back in square 1, bed bound!
Now I have a professional elite fitness trainer who is guiding me to recondition and strengthen my body after 100 pounds release. My goal is to build more lean muscle while reducing my body fat and release a few more pounds.
What is the hardest part about what you do?
I’d say to keep going aside from challenges in life. I am divorced, a single mother, work multiple jobs and still make time for my fitness and healthier lifestyle. I don’t have a workout partner, so I mainly workout by myself.
When I injured my hips I felt miserable, something was taken away from me. I had to uplift myself again and again. Going through my divorce in the summer of 2016, fitness became my relief, my escape. I was gymless, homeless with zero money. I continued with my workouts outdoors where it was free.
What is the most rewarding?
Moving my body!! The strength I feel now is beyond belief. From not being able to get out of bed without pain, not tying my shoelace without difficulty, not breathing well at night trying to sleep, not feeling like a powerful woman, I feel unstoppable now. Because of my Fierce Style, I have accomplished so much. I am a world traveler now and anywhere I go, fitness goes with me. Vacation is not an excuse to be lazy. I have energy, my personality is energetic.
What is your nutrition like? Any tips?
Always cautious with sugar and carb intake. There is literally sugar in everything. To my body, it just doesn’t work well. I limit my visits to restaurants. I prefer to prepare my own meals for lunch. It’s easy to overeat when you eat out. Switched it up after a few months so the body doesn’t get too comfortable. Definitely, move the body! Get a good workout in.
Looking forward to the future, who do you want to be?
I will continue to work on my fitness as I inspire others. I am not afraid to flaunt my curves and thicker fit body size. Always sending the message that you can change for the better vs. staying in victim mode. I continue my transformation towards a stronger potential of myself. I like to say, Giving Up is Not an Option!
BIG thank you to Dama for being our FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight!
You can connect with her at:
My facebook: Coach Damaris Fierce Fit
Do you know someone who should be featured on our FiTONIC’s Athlete Spotlight? Check out more information here!