Fighting the War Within
By Meghan Sullivan
I first learned of Warfit Clothing Co through a friend’s Instagram page. I was immediately drawn to the label due to its slogan: The War Within. I considered all that could mean and I decided to learn more. What I found peaked my interest further.
Warfit Clothing Co. was created by Erika Amini and her partner Bryan Garcia. Erika is a survivor in every sense of the word. After an awful car accident in 2004, at not even 21 years old, she ended up in a wheelchair and weighing more than 275 pounds. She’s had multiple reconstructive surgeries resulting in a titanium nail and four screws between her knee and hip which also made her right leg a few inches shorter than her left. The head trauma from the crash has left her with numerous migraines a month. All this, plus she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease and lost her thyroid. She battled through numerous challenges with the health care system before finally finding appropriate treatments for the thyroid issues and then slowly worked her way out of that wheelchair and off the cane to become a strong woman who can bench press 250 pounds.
I met up with Erika to talk with her about her journey, the company, and what’s next and then we went to the gym together (two days later I was still sore). Erika is an amazing, honest, and kind woman who has definitely inspired me to “Do more. Be more.”
Erika told me her story and we talked about the difficulties disabled people face in dealing with the system and people in general. She told me of the judgment she faced and how she retreated into video games. She, like a lot of people, myself included, found herself spending more time in virtual realities where you are judge only for your gaming abilities and not your weight, your status, your looks, or anything else. She spent so much time playing World of Warcraft (as part of the Horde if you’re curious) to escape the real world she became a top tier raider (WoW geeks understand what this means; everyone else should just know it takes A LOT of time spent gaming).
Eventually she managed to get her thyroid condition under control which in turn allowed her to get more active. With her condition and her leg, she was actually advised not to work out heavily. But she did anyway. She was determined. Her favorite quote, “It’s not over until I win” [Les Brown] gives you a taste of her drive. Now, she’s not just fit, she’s a beast (in the best possible way)!
We talked about strong woman and society’s judgement of woman’s bodies:
“Media tells us what we should look like, you can argue that media also tells us how to act. You can’t watch TV, scroll through Instagram, or Facebook without being reminded of what society deems the ideal woman to be. I’d like to hope that the tide is turning back to women being proud to be strong, full-figured, or even muscular. However, I’m not seeing the acceptance from the general population just yet. As I walk around town with built shoulders and an athletic body, I still get a negative reaction.”
And yet she remains hopeful and encourages others to be a positive, accepting role model on social media and in the community. And she practices what she preaches. Her promotion for Warfit Clothing Company features a variety of real people, many of whom have faced their own struggles and challenges. Erika and Bryan’s clothing company is in many ways a spin-off of their personal views. It’s creating a brand based on her message not to go through life a victim of your circumstances. She wanted a tangible product with that message and hopes that those wearing that message can empower themselves and others to form a community of strength. Warfit Clothing Co. produces a limited number of each hand-printed design and help spread Erika’s message to “Do more. Be more.”
She also told me that this idea of the clothing company developed out of her personal charity program. She regularly provides a chosen client, one who’s been through or is going through trying situations, with free coaching and training to come back to a healthy and fit lifestyle.
When we talked about the future of the company, she told me she wants Warfit to be successful so that she can expand her charity to help more people. Erika has so much drive it’s hard to imagine her not succeeding at whatever she puts her mind to. She’s an inspiration and believes that no one can define your limits for you. She’s committed to believing in herself and helping others believe in themselves.
“If you want to change your life, you need to change your mind. Decide you’re not going to settle….you are greater than your circumstances.”
Check out WarFit.net to learn more about some of the Ambassadors and Sponsored Athletes helping to spread Erika’s message. And see the next set of limited items from WarFit to be released on March 20th.