An Interview with Fitness Instructor Katherine Tisha Wilson

There's a quote Brene Brown uses in Rising Strong. It's from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and it goes:

When you're on your path, the universe will conspire to help you.

The universe helped me when it introduced me to today's bitch. When I met Tisha, I was coming off of a two-year stretch of compulsive exercising and dieting and I needed a new community where I could start over. I not only found my community, I found a leader who starts each class by thanking someone who helped her that day, and closes each class with an impassioned plea to love yourself, forgive yourself, and get rid of the people in your way.

Praise and compliments make Tisha uncomfortable, which I understand because I have the same problem, but she is boots on the ground, helping women feel safe, supported, empowered and celebrated. And I don't mean like four women she has lunch with once a month, no, I mean upwards of 120 women in a basketball gym three nights a week. Tisha and her classes have healed me in a way I didn't even know was possible, and I will be forever grateful. Meet today's bitch, Wonder Twerk Woman, Katherine Tisha Wilson!

What is your job title and where do you work?

I hold several jobs:  fitness instructor by night, Vanderbilt office assistant by day, and my third job is nursing. I'm also a mom to three sons and a PhD student.

When did you first learn about this field of work?

I've always been in the medical field, but over the last five years I discovered a passion for the administration side. I'm getting my PhD in Health Care Administration.

The instructor developed like a sweet story book. I was on a mission to lose weight because I found myself taking showers in the dark. I had become so angry at myself. One day I attended a class at Coleman Community Center, and I was hooked. I started out in the back and worked my way up to the front, as well as slimming down. Four years ago, I was attending a class and none of the instructors showed up, so I plugged in my iPod and taught a gymnasium full of people. The rest is history!

How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

Nursing was not my choice, but I come from a long line of nurses, so imagine the shock when I said I wanted to switch over to administration. Fitness has always been a great stress reliever. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would teach a class.

What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?

Currently I am obtaining my PhD, which is a great opportunity for me. Teaching at Coleman has opened up so many doors as far as meeting new people and pushing myself in all areas of exercise. I now run marathons and ultramarathons.

Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?

My favorite piece of advice was given to me two years ago when I was at my lowest point in my life from a failed marriage. I was told:

Always remember it’s not what happens, but what you learn from it. Your greatest strength will come when you are hurting the most.

Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?

I must say that to me failure is in the eye of the beholder. My greatest gift is sharing my life with others. Failures are meant to be built upon. There is no greater feeling than overcoming something that should have broken you. 

What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

Dance, especially twerk.

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your life?

It's two things. One, getting my master's degree. I was a high school dropout and obtaining my master's was everything. Two, losing over 125 lbs.

What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?

Well, technically I run six miles every morning at 4am, but I always read Morning Inspiration by Joel Osteen. It’s important to set the tone of peace daily.

How do you decompress at the end of the day?

Hot tea and romance novels.

What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?

Consistency and trying to stay relevant. Teaching at Coleman is my passion and I love it with all of my heart because it allows me to show people you can do anything you wants regardless of your limitations or your past. B.fab provides an oasis where you can cast away your fears and be you while sweating and improving your body one twerk at a time.

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

That I am a beast. I am not. I am just persistent and refuse to fail.

Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

Law and Order is my favorite. Gummy bears, fries and margaritas.

All photos courtesy of Katherine Tisha Wilson

P.S. Hear Tisha's story in her own words on the podcast Neighbors: The Manifestor episode.

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

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