By: N.L Preston
HOUSTON – As we make a laundry list of all the things we vow to change about ourselves this new year and pray for the Sweet, Black Baby Jesus to please help us lose enough weight to squeeze back into our favorite jeans, we must realize that the power is in our hands to either make positive changes or keep doing the same old undisciplined things which have lead us to where we are today.
But all jokes and vanity aside, when it comes to health and fitness, African Americans need to get real – real fast – and take control of our futures. We are at war with ourselves. According to the most recent study shown on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans were 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non- Hispanic whites.
Getting back on the right track is easier said than done and Jennifer Winters, personal trainer and owner of Fit4Lyfe Gym at 9892 Southwest Freeway, is here to help.
“What I’ve learned to understand is food is getting worse and technology is getting better, and those two things combined are killing us,” Winters said. “Food is no longer the healthy vegetables grown in your grandmother’s garden, there are pesticides and things injected into food these days that contribute to our heart disease, asthma, high cholesterol and everything else we are battling. And technology is so great these days, it’s making us lazy. No one has to get up to do anything. You can clap your hands and turn off your lights, your voice can activate your television and other household items.”
Winters says her job is to educate people so they can understand how to live healthy for the rest of their lives. The first key is to do your research.
“We don’t read, we follow. You can’t believe everything you see on TV and must realize that everything does not work well for you,” she explained. “Keto is great, but it doesn’t work for people with high cholesterol or who are diabetic. You can’t eat all those carbs. Just because Jen is doing it, doesn’t mean Jane can do it too.”
And until you get moving, start by doing small exercises immediately in the morning to wake up your body daily.
- Stretch the moment you step out of bed
- Lunge from your bed to the bathroom
- Rotate your free arm in a circular motion while brushing your teeth; switch arms and repeat
- Get a trainer to educate, motivate and inspire you
- Find an “accountability buddy” to call you out on your crap when you start to slip up
- Create a “Fitness Vision Board.” Anything you plan, you tend to follow more
- Exercise 3 times per week for beginners, as often as necessary for advanced
- GET TO A GYM. You need to be surrounded by like-minded individuals to help you stay on track.
- Pre-plan your healthy meals and don’t leave home without them! If you can’t cook them yourself, contact a meal prep service. Set timer on your cellphone reminding you when to eat.
Remember, there is only ONE you and your life is VALUABLE to yourself and others depending on you. You can’t #LiveYourBestLife if it’s breaking down inside.