We chat with a Centerville native who’s a finalist for Women’s Health Magazine’s Next Fitness Star and how she’s empowering women on the road to a healthier life.
Erica Lugo hasn’t always been the poster child of women’s health like she is today.
Three years ago Lugo, this 29-year-old from Centerville, was ready to transform herself. Weighing 320 pounds, she found it hard to get on the floor and play with her 2-year-old son. That’s when she decided to change her life.
Today, Lugo has lost more than 130 pounds and, while on her weight loss journey, aims to inspire other women to do what she did: get healthy.
But Lugo’s story starts with something that many people also struggle with – binge eating. “I’ve always struggled with binge eating,” she says. However, through her weight loss journey she’s been able to work on the desire to sit and binge. “Sometimes I need to plan a weekly cheat meal, because if I splurge on a whim, I won’t be able to bounce back. You have to be in tune with what you’re dealing with that day, and to be honest about it, to make the healthiest decision.”
Once she knew she wouldn’t turn back to her old lifestyle, Lugo launched an online coaching plan from her social media platforms, became certified, and has been coaching online for more than a year now. Lugo has found success in Erica Fit Love by listening to clients, trying to relate to their struggles (and successes), and making fitness something that they can all look forward to – something that she found to be rewarding herself.
Using a combination of high-intensity interval training drills (HIIT), circuit training, and structured weight training, Lugo says she “discovered what good tired meant, and it felt amazing.”
Now, Lugo is in the running to become Women’s Health Magazine’s Next Fitness Star. The Next Fitness Star is a search to find America’s top personal trainer. The magazine searched for empowering personal stories, large social media followings, savvy entrepreneurship, and beneficial workouts.
When asked for a piece of advice, Lugo says it’s about keeping it real.
“Comparing yourself to others won’t get you far,” she says. “It’s a work in progress, especially on Instagram where it’s so easy to get caught up in filtered versions of people’s lives. But fitness isn’t an image or a size. It’s a mindset. I try to capture that mindset, not just selfies.”