Meet Yonka Beckem: Wife, Mom, Fitness & Wellness Guru and Business Woman


YONKABy Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Yonka Beckem is a woman who not only talks the talk of healthy living, she walks the walk. Aside from her many accomplishments, she is also one of the most positive, upbeat women I know. She has an infectious laugh and she models strength, courage and love in many different ways.

Yonka Beckem is the ultimate model of a Healthy Black Woman; a woman who is committed to living her best life, mind, body and soul. Yonka does not only live this life, but she is also committed to motivating, encouraging and inspiring other women to also take care of themselves and make choices that encourage healthy living. She is a wife, mother, health and wellness expert, business woman and is still aspiring for much, much more. I am pleased to introduce, Yonka Beckem.

1) What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Yonka Beckem and I am a Wife,  Mother, Entrepreneur and part-time Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor.

2) Please tell us about your experience in the area of fitness and wellness.

I have always been active throughout my entire life.  I played sports all throughout school and college. For the past 15 years, I have worked as a Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Fitness Director, Health & Wellness Director and Fitness Facility Manager.  In addition to teaching fitness classes such as QiDance, Zumba, Cycling & Core Cardio classes, I train for and compete in running and biking duathlons.

3)You were selected for the spotlight because of your exemplary commitment to fitness, health and wellness. You recently had an adorable baby boy. Can you tell us how you have remained committed to fitness and health during your pregnancy and since your baby’s birth?

While pregnant, I continued to work out and teach fitness classes until the day before I gave birth.  In the beginning of my pregnancy, I had days when I just did not feel like doing anything.  On those days, I would just ride the bike for 10 or 15 minutes and go and lay down.  After my first trimester and beyond, I felt great!   For the duration of my pregnancy, I walked, rode the stationary bike, did prenatal yoga, lifted weights & taught Zumba, Step & Body Sculpt classes.  I didn’t do anything for two weeks postpartum.  I then began walking and doing yoga.  After that, I progressed to taking Mommy and Baby Fitness class and Cycling.  At 8 weeks, I began teaching fitness classes again, and doing strength training workouts.  I was motivated to remain active during my pregnancy because I wanted an easy delivery and recovery.  Many of the other fitness instructors that I knew swore that fitness made their labors and deliveries easier; so I was priming myself for the same experience.  Also, I was in the process of completing my pre/postnatal fitness certification and learned that fit women experienced fewer complications during pregnancy than women who were not fit.  I was also motivated by the fact that I was missing my racing season and that I would comeback better than before.  I’ve found that being around other moms (whether new or experienced) with fitness goals; was very motivating.

4)What advice do you have for women who are wives, mothers and professionals and want to maintain their fitness and wellness goals?

My advice for wives, mothers and professionals who would like to maintain their fitness goals is to schedule their fitness sessions in, just like any other appointment.  In the first month or so, it’s a little more challenging, as you’re adjusting to having this new little one around.  However, don’t let your baby be your excuse for not caring for yourself.  The very best gift that you can give your family is a healthy you.  I’ve also found that making little fitness goals throughout the day can be helpful.  The baby’s sleep schedule might not work with your workout schedule; so you have to be flexible.  Sometimes I only get through half of the workout before my baby wakes up and wants to be nursed.  For the remainder of the day, I will get in x amount of squats or push-ups or go up and down my stairs 10 times.  Every day, I will do something (doesn’t matter how small) towards improving my fitness and health.

5) Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Your Black World audience?

I am a graduate student (MS Exercise Science & Health Promotion) and the new owner of 60 Minute Fitness in eastern Upstate NY.  Feel free to email me with any fitness/ health related questions or inquiries.  I can be reached at [email protected]



  1. I have lost 45 pounds I am a 57 year old black female and have worked out off and on all my life. My questions is: my legs look great standing but loose when sitting, how can I tighten up the my inner thighs.

    • Hi Sheila!!

      First I’d like to congratulate you on your 45 lb. weight loss!!! That’s wonderful! I would like to know how you loss the weight & your current workout regimen & the length of time you’ve been doing your current workout. I’m not being nosey; but your answers would allow me to recommend exercises that will not only tone your inner thigh muscles; but also your stabilizing muscles, which will help keep everything tight!

      If you’re familiar with selectorized or weight machines, then you could do the ADDuction machine (I capitalized the ADD, because most fitness facilities also have ABDuction machines). If this is foreign to you, I could always send you a link via YouTube, with a demonstration of the exercise (s).

      Yours In Health,


  2. Hi Yonka, Your story is really inspiring…I started at Lucille Roberts in November 2010 and even though I took both summers off as well as 6 weeks late last year, I lost 33 pounds. I have 2 problem areas though – my thigh, including inner thigh, need to be firmed up and I have that bulge of fat below my shoulder blade, next to my armpit. My classes include Zumba, step, cross training, weights, kick-boxing, boot camp and I use the elliptical, bicycle and thread-mill. There are machines, but I do not know the names. Thanks so much for your story…

  3. I am 42, in nursing school, wife mother of six. I’m 100lbs overweight. I’m addicted to sugar and can only manage to work out a couple of times a week. I’m a great starter ( I have lost and gained 30+ pounds many times throughout my life. How can I find an eating plan (I’m very finicky eater) and exercise plan that I can stick too. Time management is a problem( finding time to cook and exercise ). I’m committed to making this next twenty the most healthy of my life. HELP

  4. Hi Sheila & Fay!

    Thanks so much for your posts. I have demonstrated inner thigh and “bra fat” exercises for you ladies on YouTube. The link is:
    I wish you ladies much success on your continued journey towards a healthier lifestyle!

    @Fay- You are a beast!!! I loved reading about your workout regimen. I think with a few tweaks to your program, you’ll watch that “bra fat” disappear!

  5. Pingback: Yonka Beckem: Short-on-time, Lazy-Day Work-Outs For Busy Moms | Healthy Black Woman

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