Sun, 27 September 2020
Tamika Harden is a personal trainer, life coach, owner of Body By Tamika, and a coronavirus survivor. Growing up in South Jamaica, Queens, Tamika was no stranger to the harsh realities of inner-city violence and drug abuse. She credits her loving mother for her strength and perseverance to overcome many of the hardships she faced growing up. Tamika’s humble beginnings motivated her to strive for excellence, even at a young age. Her own battles with childhood obesity and overcoming it have set the stage for her own platform of inspiring and helping others to transform and uplift their lives, mind, and body.
When did you know you had the virus and what were the symptoms?
“It started in March; it was right before the lockdown had occurred for the pandemic. I woke up preparing for work, and I just felt lethargic and tiredness that I never felt before. I’m used to hustling and bustling, servicing clients all day, morning, and night. Still, this tiredness felt different, so I began to cancel all of my morning clients, which is not like me and if I could just lay down and try to sweat this out or whatever I was feeling, so I rested, took off the weekend, tried to recoup using my regular techniques and tactics; exercise, rest, proper nutrition. I got my strength up, and by Monday, I was back to work, and by that Tuesday, I couldn’t get out of bed if I wanted to. I felt as if I got hit by a truck or something that just knocked me down. I was fighting through that, taking over the counter meds, taking my vitamins, trying to juice on the days that I had enough strength to want to eat something. I was fighting through it; I didn’t know what I had. So, as the symptoms worsened and I wasn’t getting better, I said, let me call the CDC hotline because now I’m home in bed and watching the news and just not understanding what is happening. I called the CDC, and at that time, I didn’t have all the symptoms. I’m telling them, I have a bad cough, it’s not going away. I was told I would get a call back in 48 hours to get tested. That call came two weeks later. This was at the height of the pandemic when we lacked preparedness. There was a lack of medical supplies. We saw that more in predominantly minority communities, so the help wasn’t there. I never got the callback, my symptoms worsened, and then it was brought to my knowledge that somebody that I was with a few days prior had to be admitted to the hospital and have tested positive.”
It was then that Tamika decided she had to get tested. “I went to my local testing site, and I was denied access that day because they told me, I’m sorry, I understand your concerns, but you have to have an appointment. I tried to call again, and at that time, the wait time was approximately six hours, so I explained to the attendant, and I’m just pleading with them that I need to get tested, and if it weren’t for me pleading and pretty much begging them to help me, that’s when he said, tomorrow morning there will be a trauma unit set up at a certain site and your chances of getting tested on this site is greater. He couldn’t promise me that I would be tested, so I went back that next morning very early.
I waited in line, and I was able to get tested and swabbed through a crack in my window. The exposure is very limited and I was told that I would get a call back in a week if I tested positive, so I went on about my day, and that Friday I had gotten a call back stating that I have tested positive.
This was already ten days in, and if my body wasn’t able to fight it, it could have been a lot worse because of the obstacles I had to go through just to get tested.”
It took Tamika 2 weeks to get through the effects of the virus. She then quarantined herself for about three weeks instead of the customary two weeks. She focused on eating healthy, juicing, and exercise to help her get through the sickness.
Not only was Tamika exposed to the virus, but her children and nanny were exposed as well. This whole ordeal has made Tamika more determined to focus on her health because she believes that it is because of her health that she was able to fight off the virus. She is also determined to help others within her community.
Being a trainer in top physical condition, Tamika shared that she was a little surprised that as a trainer, she would contract the virus. She stated that “at the beginning stages of the pandemic we were told that only a certain group of people or ethnicity or health conditions would get the virus, but after I was able to dig a little deeper and understand what we were up against, I realized that this virus doesn’t discriminate and anybody could be infected.
What advice would you give to someone who is worried about contracting the virus?
“The advice I would give is to continue to wear your mask, continue to wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing, and just to be mindful because some of us think that it’s over, but we still have to take precautionary measures.
We don’t want this thing to reach the level of emergency that it was before. I think people just need to continue taking precautionary measures as we’ve been told, and I think now is the time to focus on immunity, focus on health, making realistic changes. I’m not saying go all green or do 5 miles a day like you’re going into the army.”
Coronavirus Pandemic and Body By Tamika
The Coronavirus pandemic seriously impacted Tamika’s business, which she started 3 ½ years ago. Even though she feels like she is restarting her business, she is more determined to see it succeed. Tamika believes that in adversity, there is an opportunity; you have to reposition yourself. She transitioned her business so that she can serve her community virtually, and she advises other entrepreneurs to “find other ways to reposition your business and your talent because many of us have several talents.”
What services does Body By Tamika provide?
“I provide in-person training, one on one personal training, small group training, virtual classes. I also have a Medspa, where I offer body contouring services. We consider that non-invasive weight loss services. I do laser lipo, slimming sculpting, and massages. We also do aesthetic procedures also non-invasive that can help speed up the weight loss process. I am also Life Coach Certified with an undergrad in Psychology.”
Who Are Your Ideal Clients?“
“My ideal clients are women age group between the mid-20s to about 60, the working-class women juggling a career and children, the everyday women. I have a lot of empty nesters whose children are off to college, and now they’re making time for themselves. I service predominantly African American women, and they are all career-minded professional women who can afford services as to what I provide.”
Where do you see Body By Tamika in the next 5 years?
“A few locations. I want to take my business to different states for starters. I see a larger virtual community. I see all these things because they are more achievable for my business, and I’m more than capable of doing it, so now it’s just manpower and time. I see myself as a household name, and I’m just waiting for the day that all of it is showcased.”
Tamika’s motto is: “If they don’t open the door, kick it down, I’m not promoting violence, but if you got to kick it off the hinges, kick it off the hinges, take what is meant to be yours and just stay diligent, stay on course and God will send you the people that you need in your life. They will start showing up. Just stay positive and not stop despite the obstacles ahead because there are going to be several, but each one you knockdown makes you stronger for the next one, so just stay positive."
For more information on Tamika Harden, you can visit her website at www.bodybytamika, also Instagram: BodybyTamika and Facebook: BodybyTamika.