Overcoming Circumstances

My name is Jax, and I’m 27 years old. I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I started my fitness journey not that long ago. My fitness background is…exactly nothing.

Like most urban kids that went to underfunded public schools I never had a school sport to participate in that really interested me. Seeing as I’m 5’11 ¾ the only sport the school would recruit me for was basketball.

Even though I grew up being a tomboy I was only athletic enough to run around with the boys in the neighborhood.

As I quickly approached my teenage years I found myself becoming a TV watching, junk food eating, young woman. Fortunately that turned around when I turned 25. I was watching Extreme Weight Loss on ABC. As I watched those people share their stories of how they lost control over their eating habits, and how easy it was for them to fall into obesity it made me think about my future.

Week after week I watched in awe as they worked hard to reach their goal of being healthy once again. Yet, with each passing week I became overcome with sadness because I could see myself becoming them.

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After each episode the host would say “if they can do it, what’s stopping you?” That saying always echoed in my head whenever I would see someone working out, or being active. So, that summer I decided to take control of my life. I started small by stopping my addiction to soda, and replacing it with water. I slowly began to run a few miles per day. As time went on I began to feel healthy and aware of my bad habits with food, realizing the importance of nutrition.

Despite doing well on my own, and the fact that my active lifestyle was becoming a part of my daily routine, I hit a plateau. That is when I was introduced to the wonderful and amazing Jayel or JL as I like to refer to her. I met her at the CityFit Girl’s retreat last summer. After watching her lead a group exercise class and have the ladies sweat like no other I decided she was the type of trainer that I needed.

I wanted her to push me to my maximum potential. She proved to live up to her own standards as my personal trainer, becoming part of my support team and cheering me on to be the best version of myself.

It was at that point that I realized; I can’t fail unless I become my own enemy. My fitness journey is just that, a journey that will never stop for me.

Submitted By: Jax Perez


There are many words I can use to describe me: Intense, passionate, happy, no tolerance philosophy, loving, mostly vegan, witty, gluten-free, raw food enthusiast, blogger, yogi, marathoner, fiercely loyal, endurance and adrenaline junky, digital strategist, and volunteer who allows her free-spirit to come out on occasion. Obviously, my mentality is “go big or go home”.

This mentality has carried through multiple circumstances in life.  A few hardships I have overcome are: I got divorced, my mother passed away from cancer, an estranged relationship with my siblings, I called off an engagement, and I had emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer with no known cause.

Throughout each of these situations, I pushed forward never looking back with regret at how I handled each situation and really adopted the mentality of; “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” ~Dalai Lama

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I checked my to do lists and got through each day by putting one foot in front of the other literally and figuratively.  Looking ahead, always looking ahead.  I tasked myself with new challenges to be a better me for me.  I became a vegan, cut out gluten, worked with a trainer, ran, practiced yoga, started consulting so I had flexibility in my work schedule, volunteered, meditated, and surrounded myself with those that enhance my life.  And I still do all of these things today.  Adopting things into my life to fulfill overall wellness that allows me to be the best possible person I can be and lessens my risk for disease.

…and now I’m a yogi who also runs 10 – 13 miles 5 or more days a week and meets with a trainer 2 days a week.  Kind of how a lot of things happen.  All of a sudden you find yourself on a new journey not truly understanding how you got there.  Writing this now, I had to think, analyze and link together past actions with emotions as opposed to making the decision and moving forward as I have become accustomed to.  I was so adapted to just pushing forward that I wasn’t allowing myself to just be in the present. Yoga enhanced my physical capabilities of course, but it also helped me mentally learn how to stay in the moment instead of always looking forward.  Through my hardships (as we all have), I have learned to be almost too independent. In my mind, you can only rely on yourself to make these positive decisions in life.  Find the positive in a negative situation, when there is no positive, know you will come out stronger and have no regrets, pick the healthy route instead of the unhealthy (I promise you will feel better), surround yourself with positive people and cherish them, and embrace the journey even when it’s tough. Most importantly, know yourself and reevaluate yourself often as you grow, change, and evolve. The choice is yours.  I throw myself into my health and positive relationships, because we have one body, one life, one chance and I will soak it up.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” – Henry David Thoreau


Submitted By: Britney Harmon