Women of Fitness: Perla M

I workout to make me a better person. I live with lupus, but I don’t let that stop me from doing what I want to do. I’ve actually been told by doctors that I can’t do certain things, but that is motivation for me to try to do it and prove that yes I can. I know a few others who have lupus, and there is no comparing who we are. I workout to combat my illness, but they let sickness take over. Sometimes they don’t understand or believe how I workout. Trust me, I have the symptoms, and I feel it. But here’s my attitude: you can either cry about it or say I’m not going to feel this right now, and I find ways to stretch, roll it out, and relax. It’s hard to do what I do with lupus, but the alternative it harder and the difference is great. You can live with weight gain, swelling, water retention and many more painful symptoms ,or you can combat that with working out and proving that you can do it, no matter what someone might tell you.

I always feel better after I workout. Along with my illness, I get irritated quickly, but it’s not fair for people who don’t know what you’re living with. I become a better person when I workout, and I feel good about myself and what I’m doing vs. allowing myself to feel bad. When I was younger, I worked out to have a good physique. Now, it’s a lifestyle. It becomes a lifestyle by choosing to incorporate it every single day.

Working out truly made me a better person, and now, I want to help others who are just starting. It took me so long to get to a certain level. I never knew what to do until La Toya reached out to get me into training. Now I see new members, and I want to help them and correct them because I was there once. I want to help them grow as my trainers helped me grow, and I truly think you can learn something from all of the trainers that guide you along the way and push you to do your best.

I embody a helping spirit. I am a natural helper, and that’s even connected with work. I have my degree in political science and liberal arts. I started at Morton as a youth advisor then went into peer mediation and conflict resolution. I moved into the gang program for at-risk kids, and I have stayed there as a support staff. I’ve been with Morton District 201 for 23 years.

I incorporate exercise into everything I do on a daily basis and everything I talk about because it makes you a better person. For my kids who are angry, I tell them to come take a walk with me. Let it out. Do pushups, pullups, punch the bag. They think I’m crazy sometimes, but I tell them “I promise you it’ll put you in a different mood. It opens up your mindset and brings in so much positivity.” I don’t think about anything as I can’t do this. I don’t compete with anyone. I compete with myself.

Why do I work with kids? I want to be able to help them and to make a difference. Even if it’s just 1 kid, my reason for what I do is if I can give a different type of motivation or love or make a difference for 1 kid, I feel I’ve done my job. I know in 23 years, I’ve helped kids make better choices and become better people in life. Many have become close friends. I am motivated by the fact that even if I’ve made a difference in just 1 kid’s life, that’s better than none.

I define happiness as anything that gives you more giggles and positive energy instead of any type of sadness or negativity. People always tell me that it’s too early in the morning to be so upbeat…. stop… I’m blessed the minute I wake up, and when I wake up, I’m happy and I want to give that off to everyone I come across. Some people think it’s annoying because it’s too much in the morning, but that’s how I feel. I’m grateful to live another day. I’m truly blessed.
I literally live my life like it’s my last day because of things I went through when I was younger. But I live like it’s my last day because you just don’t know. I make sure that I live every day with no regrets.

What makes me happy is my family, my surroundings, and the fact that I put myself around people that just do that to me- that make me happy. For fun, I like to bowl, workout, and live life to the max!!

I love W3. It’s a must no matter how many gym memberships I have. There is a sense of belonging here and a sense of family that make me really happy.