Motivation Monday: Fat to Fit

Nihat Strider’s journey into the fitness world

By Nihat Strider// Contributing writer//Motivation Monday

June 1, 2013 was a very important day in my life. My only sibling’s first baby, Adiyat was born.

When I was in the hospital for his birth I saw little children on their smartphones, tablets and hand-held game systems. Instead of being active and running around, children and even toddlers were sitting in a corner staring at the screens on their palms. I was shocked at how times have changed.

During my childhood, the most we had were little game consoles with brick-like games like tetris and most of the time we were running and playing outside. But who was I to talk? At that time, I was an unfit and dealing with weight issues myself. Every day, when I woke up, the first thing I thought about was “what am I going to eat today?” I had an addiction to sweets and fatty foods.

The only active thing I did was walk from my car in the parking lot to the building. When Adiyat was born I realized that I needed to change my unhealthy lifestyle and be the best version of myself. I was the only uncle to my new baby nephew, if he sees me overweight and eating unhealthy foods, he would definitely follow my footsteps. I did not want him to become inactive, unhealthy and stare at a screen all day like other children. I took an oath to myself, my new goal became to be healthy and fit.

Now mind you, I have tried many times before to be healthy and lose weight. I would keep it up for a few weeks but then give up and go back to square one. This time I was determined that I would get it done. I started eating six small meals a day. In the beginning for my workouts, I used many different smartphone apps, DVD programs and later joined the gym. However, my nephew being my motivation and my undivided determination truly helped me through my fitness journey. There were days I just wanted to quit. I felt like I was going to faint but still stayed focus to reach my desired goal – to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle.

After six months of constant nutritional diet and working out on daily basis, I lost a total of 61 pounds and six inches off my waistline. I finally did it! After so many unsuccessful attempts I looked much better and felt that way too. This fitness journey truly changed my life. I had not perceived how much a healthy lifestyle can impact one’s life until I went through it myself. I fell in love with my new healthy lifestyle and applied for work at the FIU Wellness and Recreation Center.

I started working as a weight room attendant. Then I decided that the change that happened to me should happen to others as well. I must share and show my path of fitness to everyone. I got certified as a fitness trainer and my first ever trainer position was offered to me by Lia Jiannine, assistant director of fitness programs. I am very grateful to her as she opened many doors to the fitness and trainer world for me. Currently, I am the official fitness trainer of the FIU Wellness and Recreation Center, Golden Dazzlers, Cheerleaders, University of Miami Wellness center and Florida Power and Light, Next Era Energy.

Once a fat man, now a fitness trainer – just a few years ago I had no idea that I would ever be following this path. I was scared to go to the gym and I always thought people would mock me if they saw me working out. Ironic right? Now I have five fitness trainer positions.

Do not let anything or anyone bring you down. My father always said, “When there is a will, there is a way!” I have now dedicated myself to help others into the fitness lifestyle.

Yes, this is my job but money is not the only reason I am doing this. Each person whom I affect and assist in fitness, that’s my wealth. I will be your guide to all your fitness needs; trainings, programs, workouts, weight lifting, nutrition, diets and lifestyles.

Motivation Monday is a weekly column covering fitness and health. Nihat is a certified personal trainer, for comments or questions please email

1 Comment on "Motivation Monday: Fat to Fit"

  1. Amazing ! Will definitely try to be more fit from now on … It is true how technology has taken over and made us ever so lazy. Reading true stories like this is very motivational for us.

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