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.

Women of Fitness: Jessica P

Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia is what started my fitness journey. My name is Jessica Peralta, I am 36 years old, a wife and a mother of 3 children that keep me on my feet. I worked for the University of Illinois Extension for about 2 years. I would go to schools or community centers to teach about nutrition. I left that job because I felt the need to be there for my kids 100% of the time. Especially for my son that has special needs. 


In January of 2017 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is constant musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. My doctor recommended exercise as a sort of “medication” for the pain. That’s when I showed up at W3body, and I have not looked back.  It’s a great feeling lifting weights and pushing myself to my limits in a safe space like W3body. I have had my obstacles but never made them excuses to give up. I just modify and make it happen. 


If I can inspire just one person to not give up and to keep pushing, I know I have made a grain of difference, and it motivates me to keep moving forward. I exercise for my health and so my kids can have someone to chase them around for many years to come. 

Women of Fitness: Salma

My name is Salma and I am a 23 year old insurance agent, I know it sounds boring haha! Apart from insurance I also am a marketing specialist in the insurance industry while managing my side business as a marketing consultant for local small businesses. Throughout my childhood and up to my freshman year of college I was always active in sports. However, school took most of my time and I slowly stopped working out and taking care of myself. The start of 2021 was the most difficult and life changing for me, I made decisions that were extremely tough but ultimately rewarding. However, I was not feeling myself, the image I would see of me in the mirror was not attractive to me at all.


 Like any other person, TikTok and Instagram was my distraction where I would watch influencers talk about their transformations and how proud they were of their progress. I honestly wanted to have their body but I was not doing anything to get it 🙃. A year ago today I started taking my fitness and health seriously, I signed up at W3 where I could feel comfortable. I recorded myself working out and now looking back at them I can see my progress. I use social media now as a way to learn correct forms and customize my own workout routines, meal intake, etc, that have given me results that I am in love with. I’ve gotten to know how my body works and how strong it is by pushing my limits every workout. Being at an all women gym honestly helped me become confident with lifting and trying workouts I never would’ve. I’ve also learned and continue to learn about what I like and dislike for example: I honestly enjoy working out on my own, on lower body days I listen to Reggeaton, upper body days it’s R&B, and cardio well…. anything that will get me through it honestly lol.  


Anyway, my fitness journey has been tough/challenging but I can’t see myself without working out. I finally know the meaning and feeling behind the phrase: Love Yourself. 

Women of Fitness: Amanda

My name is Amanda Martinez. I’m 35 years old. I started my gym journey in September 2021. I injured myself November of 2020 at work and couldn’t walk on my right leg for 2 months. Dealing with my injury, my 3 children and finishing my nursing program was a hard struggle, but I’m glad to say I made it happen. I graduated with my nursing degree in May 2021. Even though I was happy and proud about graduating, I became very depressed about my situation and my injury; I didn’t put myself first. I got to my heaviest I have ever been in my life, and I knew I had to make a change. After doing a year of physical therapy, I knew I needed to do more to push myself, so I joined W3Body Women’s Gym. It’s close to home and convenient. I make it a point to go right after I take my kids to school, and I go about 4-5 times a week. When I go to the gym, I see so many women all ages all shapes all with the same goal to be a healthier version of themselves. There were many times I walked in not wanting to work out, but the energy and the vibes you get as soon as you walk in make you tell yourself you can do it. Being consistent is key! I’m not where I want to be, but I’m glad to say I am down 18lbs!! This has motivated me so much to keep pushing and working out by pushing myself a little more and trying different machines and equipment. Thank you W3 for having this gym. It’s become my new habit; I am finally finding me again.

Women of Fitness: Marcela

My name is Marcela. I’m 40 years old and the mother of 3 beautiful kids. They mean everything to me; they are the air in my lungs and the curve on my smile. I work for one of the biggest companies in the fast food industry, and I love what I do. Working during the pandemic was definitely one of the biggest challenges for me, and these past 2 years were the most difficult times in my personal life but like they say sometimes what you have has to get destroyed so you can create what you’ve been praying for. And this is definitely my new beginning, my new life and a new me.

Learning self-love and self-care has been one of the best experiences. Learning how to put myself first definitely was my biggest challenge. W3Body has been my biggest support- the trainers, the staff and all my gym partners- they definitely are my biggest support. They are my new Family because that’s what this Gym is, a big Family. We support each other in every situation and now in days, it is definitely hard to find people that really care for you and people that push you to be always at your best not only physically but mentally.

My kids are my biggest fans to my new transformation!! My journey has been hard but my trainers have helped me and supported me in every step. I lost 27 pounds in 7 months, but I definitely gained my self-confidence back and that is the best part of my transformation- being able to see myself in the mirror not feeling bad about myself is definitely my greatest accomplishment. And this is only the beginning. Doing this at my age only means that it doesn’t matter how old you are. To transform yourself all you need is to put your mind into it and most definitely the right Gym to do this is here at W3. We found exactly what we need to begin our journey and to achieve our goals.
If I was able to do all this in 7 months, I can’t wait to see myself in one year.

Women of Fitness: Paola C.

My name is Paola Campos. I’m 17, and I started coming to the gym/W3 when I was around 14 years old. It has definitely been a journey for me. I came to the gym wanting to lose weight. When I was younger and when I was first starting, I wasn’t in the best place mentally and physically. I would come and workout and not eat right. About a year ago I really started to focus on myself and started to put myself first. By putting myself first, I started eating right, coming to the gym more often and got more involved in the training and started to see results. This time I wasn’t focused on losing weight but was focused on making myself happy. It was really a self love journey where I learned how to love myself and how to not let others push me down regardless of what they say about me.  


What changed or shifted? I just got up one day and was like I’m tired of this. You don’t really notice your motivation for things until one day you start and continue with it… I pushed myself because I reminded myself that working out and eating right are the best thing for me and it’s for my health. I didn’t allow negative thoughts like “oh I want to lose weight” because I want to be prettier. I got all of that out of my head because it’s not a healthy mentality to have.  


How do you feel now? I feel great and amazing, and I’m a much happier person than I was 2-3 years ago. I feel stronger than ever. I think it’s just a little more confidence now.  


What’s your favorite part about coming to the gym? Doing anything with weights- it’s just fun! I’m so ready to lift up that weight and do any type of exercise- swings, rows.. It’s fun. I enjoy it. It’s not a chore. I have motivation to come and get it done.  


Favorite exercise – battle ropes- little waves even though it’s tiring, I like it!  


Outside of the gym– I’m a senior in high school. I am focusing on school and graduating. I help out at my church and volunteer and sing in the church choir. I do band, so sometimes I have practices or school events that I play at.  


Outside of school, I like to hang out with friends and love the outdoors. Camping or biking or just walking around.  


What do you want to do after you graduate high school? Go to college, study, have a career in something… just not sure 100% what it is yet. I want to major in sociology- something where I can help and inspire others. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.  


Fav subject at school– math. It comes more naturally to me. Give me a problem, and I’ll solve it!  


The reason why I workout is it helps with my mental health. I see the difference when I workout and when I don’t on those days that I do/don’t. I feel so much better on days when I workout. It goes for every body- everyone should take 30 minutes out of the day. Even if it’s not an intense workout- just going for a walk or something- it helps a lot with your mental health, and it’s for my betterment. I know that at the end of the day, anything I put my mind to, it’s going to be possible. I reached a goal and I have another goal to reach, and I know that eventually I will achieve it. I know that if I can do it, others can do it, too.  

Women of Fitness: Diana D.

My name is Diana. Before the pandemic, I worked as an assistant for a well-known advertising agency downtown. I was living in the city for over 5 years at that time. I was also going to grad school part-time, working on my master’s degree. I spent my free time working part-time gigs as a hostess or go-go dancer. One could say my life was hectic and I’d agree. When the pandemic hit, I rushed home to help take care of my family. Back then we thought the pandemic would only last a week or two, after the second month of quarantine we realized the severity of it all and I decided to break my lease in the city and permanently move back home till things got better. Suddenly my life went from non-stop chaos to stuck at home 24/7. I went from living alone to living in a full house.

Working out was the only time of the day I had to myself. I truly missed the moments alone I used to take for granted when I lived in the city. I realized the best chance of having that again would be at the gym. So once gyms opened back up, I must have been one of the first to sign up without hesitation. I joined the first gym that opened. I quickly realized how difficult it would be to find the right gym for me. The first gym wasn’t very safe. Reports of items being stolen, and unsanitary conditions was very common at this gym. The second cared very little for the wellbeing of their guest. Zero covid precautions and this was before the vaccine was fully accessible to all.  I wasn’t comfortable at any gym until I found Woman Workout World. I found a gym with honest women, serious about their fitness. I went almost every day. It was the only time I had to myself. My time to regroup and recharge.

Coming into the second year of the pandemic, I graduated grad school and quit my full-time job for an internship that paid me less than half of what I made before. Times became incredibly stressful for me, but on my hardest days, I found that running helped me through those moments. I realized running takes the least amount of focus to do and I can give my brain a break for a while and just vibe out. So that’s what I did. No matter the day when I walked into women’s workout world I’m always greeted by friendly faces. I’d come in feeling stressed but leave feeling a lot better. Whether from my run or the fun I’d have participating in one of their group classes, Women’s workout world was my mental health haven.

 One of the best things about Women’s Workout World is the support they give to their community. They have hosted events that support women and small business around the area. Many of whom workout at the gym. After my internship I accepted a position helping multimillion dollar brands advertise their products around the nation. A personal goal of mine is to some day help small businesses grow using the skills I build working for these major brands. I find that so many incredible women entrepreneurs’ working out at this gym as a sign that I’m right where I’m supposed to be and hope to one day get the opportunity to help these women, best I can, grow their business. You never know the amazing people you could meet at the gym and women’s workout is a testament to that. It’s great to see local businesses supporting others inside and outside the gym. I’m very happy to be supporting Women’s Workout World and so pleasantly surprised at how much this gym has helped me throughout the pandemic. Both physically and mentally.

Woman of Fitness: Robbin U.

My name is Robbin. My life, for the last 32 years, has been divided between raising my two children and working as a nurse on a labor and delivery unit of a local hospital. I cannot remember a week that I have not worked at least 50 or so hours. Overtime always helped make ends meet. A little over 5 years ago, I went into management on the same unit. The hours remained the same, but the stress level went up exponentially! It was that same year that I decided to take care of me.

I had stepped onto a scale at the doctors office and could not believe what I saw. I had been on Weight Watchers most of my life and decided to add exercise. I took a Zumba class at the local park district and the instructor told me that she taught the class at Women’s Workout World as well, and I joined soon after. I never imagined that Zumba would take me where I wanted to go, but slow and steady won the race.

As I started losing weight I started new classes. I tried Turbokick early on, but I could not hang. 65 pounds later I was running back to Turbo because I wanted that challenge. Some of the weight crept back on, and I am determined to not allow that to happen. So at almost 60, I am going to kick it up and I started to take team training.

I have always been a strong-minded person, and now I am going to let the trainers at W3 help me to become strong in body as well! I used to say that I wanted to lose weight and get healthy for my kids. They are grown now, and I truly believe that when I really do it for myself, I feel better. I do not feel my age, and that is a great feeling!!

Oh… and did I mention that I am a HUGE Cubs fan??? 🙂


Women of Fitness: Yulonda N.

My name is Yulonda. I currently work as a service excellence rep in the security department for presence health. I really enjoy working in a hospital because I love helping people. I am also family oriented, so I spend a lot of time with my family. Growing up, sports played a huge factor in my family.

We were ALL extremely athletic. I played volleyball, basketball, ran track, and was on the cheerleading team throughout my entire academic career. But of course as I got older, I wasn’t very active anymore. With work and everyday life, things had drastically changed.About three years ago, I went to the doctor because I felt dizzy all the time. It was then that I found out that I was prediabetic, and had high blood pressure. I remember feeling really sad, and thinking to myself, I didn’t want to have to take pills every day for the rest of my life. I knew I had to change my lifestyle. I purchased a set of 10lb weights, meal prepped, and worked out to you tube videos for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I started seeing great results, I felt more energetic, and things were great.

In August 2016, I had to have gallbladder removal surgery. During my recovery, I wasn’t able to work out for at least 6 months. That was a major setback for me and the lifestyle I had created. By the time I had the clearance to start doing physical activities, I was right back to where I started. I gained all of the weight back. I was extremely discouraged, but I knew that if I did it before, that I could do it again.

I started back doing my routines as I had before, but I felt like I was missing that extra push I needed. I decided to join a gym. I did some research, tried out a few facilities, and eventually came across W3. W3 has given me what I was missing and more!!!! The classes are amazing, and all of the trainers are outstanding. The members are really encouraging and inspirational as well. When you walk in a gym and everyone knows your name, and will come over to help you with your workout, it truly feels like a second family.

I am happy to say that through my ups and downs, that I am no longer on any prediabetic medication. I know that as long as I continue to stay focused, that I will be able to accomplish anything. That I can continue to create a lifestyle where I can be here for my family, and I can be a healthier, happier, stronger ME!

Women of Fitness: Teresa H.

My name is Teresa, outside of the gym I raise my two children full time. I can’t put into words how many ways my gym has helped me with everyday life.

I was in a debilitating car accident that changed my life. I have always been active; however for a period of 5 years, I was healing from back surgery. During this period, I was not healthy or active and very depressed. I just had my first child, and I knew I had to make changes otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to function or care for my child properly. My cousin encouraged me to join the gym literally a few steps from my house and I have never looked back.

At first it started with machines and then when confidence came I went into lifting with much guidance and care from instructors. I truly appreciate these instructors who have encouraged me, and taught me correct form so as not to injure myself. Functional training especially has allowed my body to move with little or no pain. That changed my life for the better.

I have also created lasting friendships with others at this gym. I felt very alone before I went to the gym. I wasn’t from this area before I married and moved here with my husband. I now have the best support system I could have ever wished for; these people not only care about me but they love my children, too. I’m very fortunate and blessed.