From 322 Lbs to The Next Fitness Star

Erica Lugo Wants Her Journey to Inspire Your Transformation
How the woman behind EricaFitLove took control of her health and created the life of her dreams.

On the homepage of Erica Lugo’s website, these are the first words you see:

“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.”

This isn’t just a cute phrase, at least not for Erica. It’s a rallying cry, the core belief that has powered her total life transformation over the past few years. But that wasn't always the case.

In 2013, “strong” was not a word that Erica would have used to describe herself. She remembers sitting on the couch when her young son asked her to play on the floor with him, and she didn’t have the energy to get up. He was two feet away. “The thought of getting my ass off the sofa was dreadful,” she says. “That’s a terrible feeling and situation on so many levels.”

But the dreadfulness of that moment made something click in her mind. She needed to make a change...a big one.

Erica had never been ultra fit, but she’d gained a significant amount of weight in the previous years, reaching 322 pounds after the birth of her son. It was painful for her to realize that her outside didn’t match how she felt inside; and as a fashion-lover, she experienced the disappointment of not being able to fit into any of the stylish clothes she wanted, limited instead to whatever came in the 3-4XL size.

More than anything else though, she knew she needed to be a healthy role model for her son, Connor, who she describes as a “beyond handsome, rambunctious, and witty toddler.” She wanted to be a mom with the energy to join him on the floor, or out in the yard, or on the playground, whenever he asked.

So she got to work. As a single mom (“I don’t have a sugar daddy…yet,” she laughs), she needed to keep budget in mind. Surgery wasn’t an option, nor were expensive shakes or pills or personal trainers. Instead, she found a path to fitness that proves beyond a doubt that a fat wallet is not necessary to totally transform your body.

She began monitoring her food intake, following the good old calories in < calories out formula, and got a membership at the local Planet Fitness, where she started off with cardio machines and self-taught HIIT routines. She also dove into all the free information available online, educating herself about fitness and nutrition and learning from her own mistakes.

Eventually, her hard work, dedication, and positive attitude helped her lose over 130 pounds in 13 months. It also led to a new career: during her transformation, she decided to channel her passion for fitness into a personal trainer certification and begin inspiring others to begin their own weight loss journeys.

Today, she inspires hundreds of thousands of people through social media, runs boot camps across the country, and offers diet and exercise plans to online clients. It was one of those clients who led to Erica being a finalist in Women's Health magazine’s Next Fitness Star competition. “She sent me a link and said ‘Have you heard of this?! You should look into it!’” Erica remembers.

And so Erica did. She filled out a submission form, and then sent some videos after the magazine contacted her. Soon after, she was notified that she had been selected as a finalist from the thousands of submissions they received.

The annual competition let fans vote to name the best up-and-coming trainer, and Erica describes it as being “like a dream.” As she said, “I mean, here I am. A working single mom who used to weigh 322 pounds, and now I’m running for the Next Fitness Star? I was really nervous for negative feedback like ‘she doesn’t belong—she’s not as fit as or little like the others,’ but I think people are open to seeing a size 8-10 person who has come from a large weight loss be able to grace the cover!”

Although Erica didn't end up winning the competition, she won something far more important: the healthy, storng life she set out to achieve those three years ago. And everyone in the DietBet community is in luck, because she's delivering her inspiration and weight loss guidance firsthand as host of a DietBet game starting on Monday, October 24th.

She’s an enthusiastic and motivating host, and is super excited to be back for her third game. “I love the interaction of DietBet,” she says. “With the world of online availability, so many forums for positive purposes get negative people with negative intentions. DietBet is a safe place for everyone with the same common goal!”

Make it WayBetter

Be sure to follow Erica on Instagram to get daily motivation and healthy tips, and to know when she's hosting another game!