No matter how hard we try, self-care is often the first thing to go when we’re when stretched for time. However, 41-year-old Tamara Prince-Parrish, a native of South Memphis, refuses to let her busy schedule keep her from prioritizing her own well-being. 

A lifelong dancer, athlete, and instructor with years under her belt—she teaches others to move and appreciate their bodies while doing the same for herself.

Describe your journey with health and fitness.

I have always loved to move. I started off dancing classical ballet at age 10 and immediately fell in love with it. Then I grew up and began my career as a professional dancer. At one point I had branched off into doing musical theatre, which was a fun way to keep me moving.

How did fitness become your profession?

After spending years as a dancer, I wanted to try teaching group fitness classes. I taught Cardio Barre in Midtown for five years before it closed down and then went on to become a certified personal trainer. I’ve also competed in some professional bodybuilding competitions, but now I teach reformer Pilates and am an adjunct dance professor at the University of Memphis. I teach a curriculum that I created myself!

How do you juggle all of your interests?

I try to focus on them equally. However, right now I’m practicing and teaching the Gyrotonic Method at least three times a week and Pilates four times a week. I decided to take a year off from bodybuilding prep so now I just lift weights 3–4 times a week instead of every day.

What has you most excited nowadays?

I’ve been working as an apprentice trainer of the Gyrotonic Expansion Method®. I began pre-training in March 2021, did Foundations prep in April, and then finally began apprenticing at the Karen Wilder Studio in May. It’s a holistic method that works to increase the suppleness of the spine to improve one’s range of motion. It’s beneficial for senior citizens, injured athletes, or anyone who wants to learn to move with ease.

How does your self-care go beyond fitness?

Nutrition is a huge factor. I like to eat clean and drink a half-gallon of water or more per day. I’m actually cheating a little right now and indulging in some dairy-free desserts!

What’s the key to balancing everything?

I have to schedule everything on my iPhone. It helps to keep me organized. I have three gigs and three dogs, and I also need to spend time with my boyfriend, friends, and family. When I add in my own need to exercise, it all gets a bit hectic. It’s odd to schedule time with my family and friends, so I’m still trying to find a better way to balance everything in my life.

How do you cope with stress?

I work out! Usually, I go to HOTWORX classes or meditate. I also love to get a monthly massage or do trigger point work on my achy muscles.

What lessons have you learned on your self-care journey?

I’ve learned to love all the phases of my changing body and not to be too hard on myself if I don’t meet my daily goals. I can just try again the next day. I greatly value keeping my body healthy and agile, and sometimes that means taking it slow. I don’t get caught up in the day-to-day because change takes time. It’s a journey after all.

By Alejandra Machin

Photo by Tindall Stephens