Tucked on the side, behind a bingo hall on south Van Slyke is Chica’s Fitness and Nail Salon. There you will find Ericka Paschal and her commitment to health, beauty and sending a positive message to women. “It started about six years ago, I was going through health issues. I was 240 pounds and wore a size 22, and I was on vacation. … I couldn’t wear anything. Nothing fit. I couldn’t even tie my shoes. It was just a hard wake-up call.”
Paschal started making changes.
Paschal began those very first steps toward better health, more confidence and, eventually, entrepreneurship.
“So immediately when I got back I started walking because that’s all I could do. I changed what I was eating, I stopped doing fast foods, fried foods. I incorporated more water, cooking off the grill and more vegetables.”
Walking turned into running, then 5K races and then winning races. “A few women who knew me when I was heavier asked me what I did to keep the weight off, and I told them about changing my lifestyle, and eating better and a few asked me if I could train them.”
One day her son’s friend asked if her mom could work out with her. “It touched me because he asked for her ... so we started walking. I got to see my impact and her progress, and she would always call me Chica,” says Paschall, who took her new passion with her back to school, earning her fitness instructor and personal trainer licenses to pair along with her nail tech license. “With that, here I am.”
Paschal is owner, proprietor, and inspiration at Chica’s Fitness and Nails, 4501 Van Slyke in Flint.
“I knew I wanted a gym for women, and Chica’s really encapsulates that — a place where women can feel comfortable and feel good about themselves,” Paschal says.
Chica’s is home to kickboxing, Zumba, Hustle, hip hop aerobics, boot camp, and lifting classes. Pachal works to make it an ideal experience for every woman that step’s in to Chica’s.
“the goal for me is to meet her at her level,” she says. “Doesn’t matter if they have worked out before, or haven’t worked out in ten years; beginners or advanced levels, I work to accommodate where she is, and I personally run the boot camp, kickboxing and really anything you’d need to learn in the fitness industry, we offer here.”
And, a full-service nail salon for fingers, toes, sparkle, shellac, custom nail art, and pampering.
Yes, walk past the gym, weightlifting equipment, pull-up bars, and yoga mats and there in the back room is a nail salon.
“I went to nail school like 25 years ago, right after high school. I just knew that was something I wanted to learn and wanted to do, so that was something that was incorporated with the gym,” Pascal says. “When someone comes here they can feel confident and beautiful when they walk out the door.”
It’s not all about shredding pounds, Paschal says. “This isn’t about being a size 2 or a size 22. This is about being fit and working to prolong our lives. ... I want them to know it’s about being healthy and that, for me, is being comfortable in your skin.”
It’s about taking care of yourself and about women supporting each other. A gym motto is: No Chica Left Behind.
“We won’t go to the next exercise until everyone is done. We will stand there and cheer that person on to the finish,” Paschal says. “That is what we do. We make women feel special.”
For more information, check out Chica’s Fitness and Nails on Facebook
or call (810) 309-5381.