Please vote for Grace Tacuyan-Witt, my coach, to be Pika’s Best Fitness Coach 2023

Voting has started for the Pacific Daily News’ Pika’s Best of Guam 2023, and I humbly ask that you register in the voting, and vote for Grace Tacuyan-Witt to become Pika’s Best Fitness Coach this year.

Grace has been a major part of my life the past three years. Not just as someone who coached me literally into a new and healthier body I’m becoming proud of. The past five years of my life have been my golden age of growth physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These also are my mid years. I went from a heavy meth user to crown out my 30s, and started out my sobriety as a lost, angry, unhealthy, and aging man moving into his 40s.

I’m 43 now. And I have never been more strong, physically fit, emotionally stable, and committed to God.

That kind of change brings with it the strongest of temptations to fall back to the lifestyle of deceit and death. Grace, whether she knew it or not, played a critical role in keeping me from falling off this journey.

One of the biggest – if not the top – concerns of drugs addicts who stop using meth is, “I don’t want to get fat.” Actually, and speaking as a lifelong fat boy, who does want to get fat? When I quit meth I got back into the gym. Lifted weights. Walked Tumon for two to three hours every night. Really committed myself for some time. But, when you’re in your late 30s and early 40s, drug addict or not, you know what I mean when I say it gets harder to become and stay healthy.

Eventually, Kandit picked up steam and I didn’t have as much time to dedicate to fitness. A few months before the pandemic I joined Cross Fit Hita and saw Grace there. She was introduced to me as the powerlifting coach; the only certified powerlifting coach on Guam. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen her. I remember admiring her awe-inspiring deadlifts and squats at Paradise Fitness Center in Agana long before powerlifting became a trend on Guam.

Back then I’m certain she held the record as the strongest woman on Guam. Today I am certain she can deck most of the men at any of the island’s gyms.

Going back to that first meeting with her…

She was coaching a class of six people, mostly women who I’d never seen at another gym. That’s a thing about Grace. People who would never see themselves walking into a gym are comfortable with her. She helps us to build our confidence and our self esteem. Anyway, I went up to her intrigued, but never thinking I could be a power lifter. And she says to me, “Why don’t you try it out?”

So I did. The first thing I learned is that despite working out for 20 years before that, I wasn’t even lifting correctly. My first lifts were depressing: A chest bench of 135 pounds. A squat of 155 pounds. A deadlift of 160 pounds.

Today I bench 325, squat 415, and deadlift 455. But it isn’t just the strength that matters.

Grace took time to teach me about fitness, about my own body, about replacing vices with better habits. She taught me to “trust the process;” I had no idea what that meant. I just remember her telling me that I could use my gut girth to my advantage to get stronger first, and that would give me the foundation I needed if I wanted to sculpt my body later.

Along the way she lectured me about consistency and discipline. She praised my successes. She explained scientific research about aging and the importance of strength. She talked to me about work, life, and everything she noticed about my growth emotionally and spiritually.

I was just one of the hundreds of clients she coached who have had the privilege of walking along a journey of fitness and friendship with her.

She does all of this as a woman who has overcome her own insecurities, the body shaming, and the prejudices against women who strength train in gyms dominated by men. She does all this while caring for her elderly parents and raising her daughter on her own. She does all this in an economy that has not been good to any of us trying to make a living.

There have been times along this fitness journey the past three years, when the demons inside me and that surround have tempted me to degrees that have never been higher. But the moment I walk into the gym and see Grace’s smile and her eagerness to help me become a better person, I have more confidence in my higher purpose in life away from those temptations and toward a life worth living.

Grace is a coach through and through. She is a teacher. A mentor. And my dear friend. Please vote for her. She’s earned the title of Pika’s Best Fitness Coach 2023.

Go to to register then you can vote for her by looking for the sub category Best Fitness Coach. She’s the first nominee on the list.

Pictures: Grace posing. Grace coaching. Me physically unfit and fat three years ago. The remaining pictures: Me yesterday strutting my stuff… stuff I built under Grace’s coaching.

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