Volunteer Member of the Month: Sherieka

Not only is she our longest consistent volunteer at Rainier Health, she models a lifestyle of health with her personal fitness challenges and nutritional eating (yeah, vegan!). She's also involved in our community, leading the Daughters of Royalty Drill team that's twice presented at RHF birthday celebrations! This month's well-deserved Member of the Month award goes to Sherieka Trotter. Oh and she often shares about her workouts and healthy eating as a way to inspire others. Sherieka says, “The things we do aren’t just for us but to encourage others too. Be the best you that you can—I’m all for putting God first and He will allow the rest.”

How did you find out about Rainier Health & Fitness way back in the day?

Let me think. I do. So I used to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club and the director there one day we were talking about going to the gym and she said, “Oh I go to Rainier Health & Fitness” and she told me where it was and I go, “Oh, I live right around the corner from there!” And she’s like “Check it out!” And she knew I worked with the kids so said “I think they have opportunities where you can do childcare there too and stuff.” So then I came and I asked and they’re like “Yeah, you can do childcare, that’s volunteer, and you can get a free membership.” And I was like “Oh, perfect.”

So then I did childcare for I don’t know how many years and I didn’t really even use the gym. My schedule was just like I was always tired and I was leaving and I was like “I gotta go home and sleep” and so I would never utilize the gym as much. I would come in periodically but not on a regular basis. Then one day I was like “Let me get it together. You gotta be healthier and change the way you eat and everything like that.” Then I was like, “The gym is still there! Go IN the gym and use it!” So then I started.

Nice. How long ago was that? Do you have roughly an idea?

So I came almost six years ago. So the first year I came in just sporadically and then the next year I started coming more regularly.

Who would you say your fitness role model is or inspiration?

I never thought about a role model. But I always think about the things that I do—you know I’m always running around volunteering here and helping there—and then I teach my drill team so I’m like, “I need to be able to keep up with these kids.” I could for the most part but then I teach them more things and they wanna do more things so I gotta be able to keep up and then teach if I’ve got help coming in, teach them to teach the kids too. So I gotta keep going for them.

What does your routine look like, especially with all the things you have going on? How do you make time to exercise?

Well now because I drive for the school district it kinda helps me—We have a break in the middle of the day. So I get up and be to work at around 6 and then I’m done driving at around 10 and so I don’t have to go back until almost 2 which gives me those hours in between to come to the gym. And so since the gym is close and my school is South Shore, which right down the street, I just park my bus at the gym and work out and then just go right to the school which has been working perfectly. That’s how I’ve been able to come in on a regular basis and since I work Monday through Friday, it’s allowed me to come Monday through Friday. And I have to be consistent or I’ll be like, “I can just not go today.” I HAVE to go.

And then when you’re here what do you like to do?

A little bit of everything. I love doing the weights. And then sometimes I’ll just get on either the elliptical or treadmill for 30 minutes or sometimes I just go into the classroom and dance for 30 minutes or more. And then pretty much I use all of the weighted machines and the kettle bells. And I’ve learned a combination of cardio and strength-training is great so I try to balance it out. And then recently I’ve been following this 12-week program so it tells you what to do every day. Like 12 reps of 4 push-ups or weighted squats—there’s like 8 different exercises and then we’ll either do 30 minutes on the elliptical or 30 minutes of running or 30 minutes on the bicycle.

What do you like best about volunteering at RHF?

I like the people. I love talking to people and meeting people and then just making a difference. Being able to give people access because I know a lot of parents are not able—they wanna go to the gym but they can’t because they have younger children. So being able to help with that process for them is rewarding.

On Eating Healthy

My goal is just to be healthier so I just decided that I have to go a full turnaround and try this. So when I became vegan my coworker was like “Hey, I’m doing this challenge for a month. Will you do it with me?” And I was like “sure.” And it was a vegan challenge: no meat, no dairy and I think there was no bread. And I was like, “I can do anything; I just ate vegetables and beans I think.” And so after that month I was like, “This was pretty cool.” And so like the next month after that I did like dairy again and eggs and I was just like “I think I’m just gonna be a vegan.” It just felt really good and I had energy. So that’s kinda when I did it. And that for me is like wow. And then I really became conscious of what I was eating and when I was eating and how much I was drinking and it really made a difference. And I have people who hadn’t seen me in years but the year after I became vegan they were like “Whoa. What did you do?” And I was like, “I changed how I ate. I changed my lifestyle.” And that was it. I hadn’t even gone to the gym then. So it just goes to show it really makes a difference what you put in your body.

How long ago was that you switched to being vegan?

So it’ll be six years.  It’s funny I’m the only one in my family or among my friends and everybody’s like And I’ve never thought about stuff like that. Like I NEED somebody else with me. I just did it. Or I’ve never pushed somebody either. Because people always ask and they’re like “Really? You are?” Even with cooking, I love to cook now. Like I cooked before but not a lot but all the different spices to use and making things like you would never think of—like, hey, I can make a burger with beans and rice. So it’s been really great. It’s like art to me. Because I love art and creating in all kind of ways so that’s kinda how I look at it, making it to cook and making it different ways. I always try to challenge myself—like I can go to the store and buy a protein bar for this much money so if I buy one of these every week or buy two a day, it’s like $5 a day. And then I don’t know half the stuff that’s in it. But I can take $5 and buy all the ingredients and make my own and have enough for the week and then know what’s in it and I can put what I want in it. Stuff like that just makes you think whole all around. It’s like the circle of life.

Anything else you wanna add?

It’s been just a pleasure to be here and the atmosphere is just really sweet and most everybody here is always encouraging. I think that’s great.

Also I always tell people who say like “Maybe I should go to the gym” and I’m like, “You really should. Because it really helps too with your mood.” Like all my friends work in jobs where they can get really stressed out and because they’re like managers and projects like that. I’ve gotten a few of them to join; they haven’t COME but I’ve at least got them to JOIN. I’m like, “Come with me! I’ll even change my time and come after practice if you guys wanna come. So we’ll figure it out. I’m always like the ‘go’ person. They’re like “Sit down sometimes. You’ve got too much energy.”