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Atlanta woman uses social media to connect, inspire people through fitness

'I was able to connect with over 5,000 women within the first weeks,' Umama Kibria said of her fitness program.

ATLANTA — Loud music and the sound of hands and feet hitting punching bags fill the workout room inside of Vesta Movement kickboxing gym in Atlanta.

A group of about a dozen women move from one workout to the next.  All, with exhausted looks on their faces.

One of those women is Umama Kibria.

“Oh my God,” she uttered during a brief break.

Kibria is positioned in the front row of the class.  After the break, she gets up and seemingly effortlessly gets back to work.

She may be tired, but don’t let that fool you.  Kibria is a lean, mean, fitness machine.

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“What’s one thing that I can take control of in my life?  I was like alright let me try this fitness thing,” she mentioned.

However, it wasn’t always like this.  Let’s rewind back a few years ago.

“I was like having a midlife crisis,” she explained. “Post-college life, after my sorority was out of the picture, I kind of felt lost. Like I didn’t have a passion or something to commit to.”

One Friday night, Kibria found herself alone and crying in the shower.  It was in that moment when she knew something had to change.

“I’m going to let all of these tears out and as soon as I step out of here I’m not going back to this mentality,” she said.

That night, she began her fitness journey.

“Wet hair, doing burpees in my room,” Kibria said with a smile on her face.

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After weeks of working out and seeing results she decided to turn her passion into a brand.

“No face. No name. Just purely my passion,” she explained.

She called it “Small and Strong.”  She started connecting with people through fitness and shared her story.

“I was able to connect with over 5,000 women within the first weeks,” mentioned Kibria.

She posted videos online and eventually racked up thousands of views on Instagram.  That’s when she began gym hopping and hosting events in not only in Atlanta, but in other cities in across the country.

She also started inviting people to come work out with her and connect.

“I’m such a big advocate for fitness because you either bond over it because you hate it, or you bond over it because you love it,” Kibria said.

January often marks the beginning of many people starting New Year resolutions.  While it gets a bad rap, especially when it comes to fitness.

Kibria hopes she can help change that.

“Community is probably the biggest factor in actually staying motivated, getting results and being consistent,” she said.

This past year, Kibria and her Small and Strong team have put on over 45 events.  She is looking forward to doing more events this year.

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