Local business owner and fitness expert, Tammy Wright, was crowned Mrs. Charles County this past spring. This woman is a true wonder woman – family, business, community – she is zumba-ing through it all. Tammy and her husband, John, are owners of ABC Fitness Connection in Waldorf, MD, a personal training and group fitness gym, and are passionate about educating the community about the benefits of a good old fashion workout and healthy lifestyle. She says it’s not necessarily about losing weight, it’s about getting out there and exercising and then just watching the weight come off. Whether Latin dance is your thing, personal training, boot camp or abs class, at ABC Fitness Connection you will find other like-minded women looking to get fit(er) but mainly focusing on their overall health.
Tell us a little about your childhood and young adulthood?
I lived in the inner city known as the hood. Survival was making sure that you were in the right place at the right time. I was careful about whom I socialized with because God blessed me with a spirit of discernment. I did not know how I was going to make it out of the hood, but I knew that there had to be a better place for me. In 1990, I enlisted in the District of Columbia Army National Guard after graduating from high school. To me, the military uniform signified confidence, loyalty, dignity, and most importantly pride and I wanted to wear it. Determined to make a success story out of my life, I continued to pursue my education at Virginia State University. By the second semester of my freshman year, I joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) because I decided that I wanted to be an officer. In May 1996, upon graduation with my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, I also received commission as a Second Lieutenant. At that point, I returned home and decided that I was not content making $30,000 a year. So I embarked upon another journey and that was the decision to return to school to earn my Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland University College in Information Resource Management.
What ignited your passion for fitness?
My tenure in the military is what opened my eyes to the importance of fitness and wellness. When I joined the military, I did not know about the dynamics of fitness. In my community people did not say, ‘I’m going to the gym to workout.’ As an officer, you strive to be the best! My goal was 300 points on my annual Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which is the maximum score. I only failed one APFT during my 22 years in the military and it was one of my biggest failures.
Why was this experience so hard on you?
The are three components to the APFT: Sit ups, pushups, and a 2-mile run. I was always a high achiever in the sit ups and pushups, but on this one particular test the challenge was the run. I stopped running when I heard the time because I thought that I had failed. Come to find out, I looked at the time incorrectly and if I’d kept running, then I would have passed the APFT. So with this experience I learned a life-long lesson. My challenge to everyone is to never give up because you never know how close you are to victory!
What motivated you to compete in the Mrs. Maryland United States Pageant?
I’d never heard of the Mrs. Maryland United States pageant, until Lesa Diggs-Moore, distributor for ItWorks!, sent me the information. So I was motivated to compete because I believed that Lesa saw me as a winner in the pageant. Then, when I heard that Deshauna Barber won Miss USA, I saw myself.
What did you find to be the biggest challenge while competing?
My biggest challenge was overcoming the thought that I was not pageant material. Then I realized that I had so much in common with Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, that I built the confidence to compete. She is in the Army Reserves. I was in the Army National Guard. She went to Virginia State University. I graduated in 1996 from Virginia State University. She is a Pershing Angel. I am a Pershing Angel.
Since being crowned Mrs. Charles County in April how have you used your platform?
My platform is Devoted 2 B Healthy. My goal is to impact generational wellness, meaning if I can encourage one person in a family to make a lifestyle change, then hopefully someone else in that family will follow. I wasn’t exposed to exercise until I joined the military but I believe that if we lay the foundation now, then children will have the option to make healthy choices. It is not taught in school, on TV, nor radio, so I will do my part to lead the way and educate the community.
What has spurred your community involvement?
I love to uplift! I get so excited to share the importance of wellness and health because so many families are losing loved ones to chronic diseases that are preventable with lifestyle changes. As a fitness center owner, I’ve learned the value of health and fitness. I made small changes over a period of time to achieve my goals of cleaner eating and I want to share my passion for wellness, whether in my studio or out with the community. For example, I currently present Zumba at Waxter Juvenile Detention Center. Also, ongoing right now we have a “Kick Butts 4 Health” Fitness Bootcamp to educate about the dangers of tobacco, e-cigars and vaping for teens ages 12-18 and the fitness camps are free to them every Friday in June.
What’s an example of a great success story from a client at ABC Fitness Connection?
A young lady came up to me one day at church and said that my husband and I changed her life. It was at that moment I knew I was on the path that was destined by God. She was in tears when she spoke to me that day. She remembered the time that we’d spoken to her and encouraged her to get healthy, but at that point in her life she was in denial. She said that she tricked herself into believing that although she was obese, she was healthy. It wasn’t until she had a major injury that the doctor told her that she had to lose the weight. That is when her eyes opened up to realize that she had been living a lie. She got onto the path for a lifestyle change and thanked us for never giving up on her.
What is your #1 healthy lifestyle rule you live by?
The one tip that I would give is, “Be honest with yourself and realize that your body is a temple!” So many people put values in material things, but don’t invest some of those resources (monetary and time) on their health and well-being. When you think of your body as a majestic temple, then you will not fill it with junk.
What is the most alarming health pattern that you are seeing today?
Inconsistency! People will start with a goal of losing weight and stop when the numbers on the scale don’t read what they want to see. We remind people that you did not get unhealthy overnight, so trust the process. With people wanting things to happen so fast (i.e. Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!) it is sometimes hard for them to realize that the numbers on the scale don’t depict whether they are achieving their wellness goals.
What ‘s new at ABC Fitness Connection?
We wanted something special for women so we just kicked off our Power Woman Initiative, which includes packages of massage, meal planning, vitamin boosters and personal training, as well as monthly classes. We’ve scheduled monthly lunch meetings at Waldorf West Library set to start on July 25th, 2017. We encourage women to visit the library’s website or ours for dates and times.
What is your guiding principle?
I believe that any situation can become a success story if we use our set back as a step up for a dynamic future. My husband and I put this to practice in our life after he was laid off from his job and we are now sharing our passion full time.
For more information about Tammy and John’s fitness studio, personal training, facilitators booking and group classes, visit www.ABCFitConnect.com