All Articles Tagged "fitness"

Beautifully Balanced: 5 Famous Fitness Enthusiasts Whose Hair Stays On Fleek

June 25th, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Need proof that being fit and having your hair on fleek are not mutually exclusive? Check out these famous fit females who make time for their health and their hair and keep both consistently on point.

Source:  PNP/WENN.com

Source: PNP/WENN.com

Angela Simmons

A red carpet appearance doesn’t stop the fitness show for Rev Run’s baby girl Angela Simmons. The 27-year-old is a well-known fitness enthusiast, regularly posting IG pics and videos of her doing yoga, kick-boxing, and more. And then we see her kill it at appearances like in the pic above and we think, when does she have time? Extensions make it possible for the young beauty to easily go from gym to glam. And if you’re curious how she keeps her body on point, just check out this circuit below.

No games will be played 💪 Sunday fitness @thebestdamntrainer !!

A video posted by angelasimmons (@angelasimmons) on

It’s GO time !!! @thebestdamntrainer thanks for joining @vanessajsimmons and I today !!! #ImReady 👊🏼 A video posted by angelasimmons (@angelasimmons) on

Working It Out: How Meal Prepping Helped Me Drop 81 Pounds

June 22nd, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

January vs February vs June

January vs. February vs. June

Preparedness is one of those concepts we tend to only think about when it comes to natural disasters and road trips, but it’s a principle that also serves people quite well on their weight loss journey. I know because over the past nine months I’ve noticed the difference in results when I make a concerted effort to eat clean; and I’ve also seen how susceptible I am to falling off the wagon when the food I should be eating is nowhere to be found.

In case meal prepping sounds incredibly intimidating — or daunting — to you let me start by saying there are levels to this ish, as Meek Mill would say. There are some people who spend their entire Saturday or Sunday bagging and bottling every single cooked thing they will ingest for the next seven days. On the other end of the spectrum are people who spend their weekends doing pre-cooking preparations so each night they can come home and simply plop some chicken on the grill or throw a casserole in the oven and eat. My method tends to fall somewhere in the middle, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of leftovers, and I tend to get bored eating the exact same thing every night. So here are a few of my standard practices when it comes to various items of the food pyramid:

Meats

On Sundays, I usually pan grill strips of chicken breast using Mrs. Dash’s all-purpose or chicken seasoning (I use this type because it doesn’t have salt) and a little extra-virgin olive oil (healthy fats). If I’m supremely on top of my game, I’ll go the extra mile and weigh 4 oz. portions and separate them into plastic containers, but usually I just put all the cooked meat in Gladware and pull it out each night to make dinner or the next day’s lunch. With basic chicken, the meal options are pretty endless, but I usually use the meat for salads, tacos of some sort, homemade pizza, or even pasta. I also prep ground turkey the same way — minus the olive oil — and use it to make gyros or tacos, like these. Ground beef can be done the same way as well, just be sure you’re using an option that is 93 percent lean.

Vegetables

I’m lazy, which is why my vegetables of choice tend to be leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale or corn — none of which require much prep other than pre-portioning and separating into containers for the week. Every now and then I switch things up and grill asparagus underneath my stove, all of which can be cooked at the same time and warmed up throughout the week and spruced up with a (measured) sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. I also love this recipe for baked green bean fries. The preparation is a bit time-consuming, but once the fries are made, all they need is a quick zap in the oven to heat them up and keep them crisp each night.

Grains

One of the first foods my trainer introduced me to was quinoa, and he’s pretty adamant about me having at least one serving of it per day. Thankfully, like rice, cooking the protein-heavy seed requires nothing more than water and a pot, unless you want to get fancy. At the top of the week, I tend to make a big pot of quinoa without any seasoning and then put cup-sized portions in individual containers that I can pull from Monday through Friday. Most days I eat quinoa as a plain side but sometimes I add meat and flavoring to make a pasta-like dish and separate my lunch and dinner portions after cooking. One of my favorite recipes is garlic butter shrimp and quinoa. I also love buffalo chicken quinoa bites, which give you meat and grain all in one, that way all you have to add is a vegetable of choice as a side.

Miscellaneous

Even with all of these at-home preparations, I still sometimes don’t feel like toting everything I need between my apartment and my office. So I’ve taken to leaving some things at my workplace to make my diet life a bit easier. That includes a set of measuring cups for times when I don’t pre-bag the 1/4 cup of cheese I use for my salad or the dressing I put on top. I still drink protein shakes as meals or snacks from time to time, so I bought a container of protein powder just for the office, so I don’t have to transport that big jug back and forth. I keep protein bars in my desk drawer for times when sweet cravings hit me too. I also try to bring most things I’ll need for the week on Mondays. For instance, if I made salmon burgers, I will put all the patties in one container and put them in the office fridge and leave the buns sealed in my desk drawer as well. The basic premise is the less I have to do when I get home from the gym around 8 p.m. each night, the better. That is also why I sometimes bring two sets of gym clothes to work in a day and leave one set at my desk for the next day.

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August 2014 vs June 2015

Now the obvious question you might be asking is, why do all this work? And to that I would say you have to do the work anyway. The real question is, do you want to do a lot of work each night or a lot of work in one day and save time throughout the work week? Depending on your lifestyle, cooking meals from scratch might work for you each night, but I know myself. Meal prepping helps me in a few different ways because I know myself. Just the act of putting together sensible meals on Sundays resharpens my focus on my fitness regimen. Especially because I tend to start my day with a 10 a.m. Zumba class, go to the grocery store, and then come home and cook for the week. With that regimen, there’s little room for error. As a person for whom the saying “Idle hands are the devil (food)’s playground” rings far too true, I need to spend that time trying to prevent downfalls throughout the week.

While restaurants boast “healthy” meal options, the truth is there’s no way to know exactly what you’re putting in your body unless you make it. Sure, I can pick up a salad somewhere on days when I forget my lunch but as someone who is a bit OCD about counting calories, eating out doesn’t provide the type of accuracy I prefer. Not all restaurants provide calories for their meals either, so while you may be able to guesstimate how many grams of protein, carbs, and fat are in a particular meal you’ll never really know for sure with so many outliers regarding measuring and the various oils used for cooking and so forth. Also, fast food and restaurant meals tend to be packed with salt, which, at the very least, leads to water weight and bloat, not to mention far more serious health problems down the line.

I won’t lie and say meal prepping is easy, but it’s not exactly hard either. I tend to look at it as preventative care because I know if I’m tired and don’t have any food at least halfway ready for me when I come home or go to work, there is a 75 percent chance that I’m going to pick up something that’s no good for me. When I came back from the DR, my weight loss stalled quite a bit because my mind was still in carefree island mode; meanwhile my waist was about to start looking like 2014 again. Now sitting at a loss of 81 pounds, I have to remind myself of what got me to that point, and it wasn’t trying to be like Jarred and eat Subway every day. It was measuring, weighing, and cooking my own food and doing so in bulk so that throughout the week I would have no excuse not to win.

Give Us Fitness Life! Michelle Obama Takes Us To The Gym To Celebrate Five Years Of Let’s Move!

May 20th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Image Source: WENN.com

Image Source: WENN.com

If you’re one of those people who always wanted to know how Michelle Obama, 51, gets those toned and taut arms and stays so slim and trim, look no further than her new workout video, which shows the First Lady training dirty at the gym.

It all started when President Obama put out a video last week of the five ways he tries to stay in shape while on the go. He put this together to celebrate five years of Michelle’s well-known Let’s Move! campaign. In his video, he challenged the First Lady to show him, and the world, five ways she moves in an effort to stay healthy. So she did!

In her video, we received access to the White House athletic unit where her trainer, Cornell McClellan, showed us the moves that keep her in shape: jumping rope, ab work (including with a medicine ball), explosive in n’ out plyo squats using a bench, lifting free weights, and boxing/kickboxing with a punching bag.

And as Michelle reminds us, if you’re going to take part in these exercises, you can’t forget to stay hydrated!

Check out the First Lady’s workout regimen and get inspired! Summer unofficially starts next week, but it’s never too late to get it right and keep it tight…

Fitness Advocate Lita Lewis On How Getting Fit Helped Her Beat Depression And Her Beef With Waist Trainers

May 1st, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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At the insistence of one of my friends, I checked out the Body Blast Bootcamp of fitness advocate Lita Lewis. The Los Angeles-born, Australia-raised fitness juggernaut, who currently resides in Brooklyn but travels across the country to share her camps with hundreds of people, instructed everyone to meet at Fort Greene Park. After seeing her kick-a** body on her popular Instagram page, I knew I had to go and get my fitness on and be taught by Lewis and her killer thighs. But it wasn’t just your ordinary ol’ boot camp. I spent an hour doing froggy star jumps, jumping lunges, sprinting up and down stairs, doing high knees and squatting for my life. It was an excruciating 60 minutes, but damn if I didn’t feel amazing afterward!

Feeling motivated and uber impressed with my workout, I was interested in getting to know more about the woman who puts strength and muscles over simple bikini bodies with a side of a perched booty. I had the honor of chatting with Lewis, otherwise known as Follow the Lita and the woman behind the popular Body Blast Bootcamp, the Legs & Glutes Blaster training program, and the Abs Chiseler training program, about her fitness journey, her previous battle with depression, and how she became the sensation she is. And of course, she gave her two cents on everything from waist trainers to dealing with water weight and the right way to get some strong glutes. Find out what it means to be #ThickFit and get inspired to get it right and tight for the summer!

How Her Fitness Journey Started

After a relationship ended, it was a very unhealthy time. Now, in hindsight, I can look back and say that I did suffer from a deep depression. Life kind of felt not worth living. I found myself acting more like a robot. I would wake up, I would go to work, I would come home, and I would go to sleep. I would barely eat, and I would barely exist. I dropped a whole lot of weight in a short amount of time. Over three to four months I dropped close to 30 pounds, which is crazy right? It’s hard to shake five pounds off when I’m actively trying. So 30 pounds on somebody can have them looking drastically different. There’s a lot of people who would ask me if I was okay, and I found myself putting on this brave face, smiling and telling them everything was fine when I was truly suffering from depression.

One morning I woke up and I was getting up to get ready for work. I went to my bathroom and when I caught a glimpse of my reflection, I remember being terrified because I could barely recognize that person. I slumped to the ground and started weeping and crying. I thought to myself, “It’s time to move back to Australia.” At the time I had been living out here by myself and loving life, but when everything went bad I felt like I needed to go home and be around people who could support me and help me get healthy if I didn’t have the strength to do it on my own. But I also didn’t want to do that because my pride and my ego said no. I equated that to failure, and I don’t like to fail at anything. So I remember calling in sick and telling my boss I needed some time, which he was happy to give me because he too was recognizing my spiral down from being depressed. The one thing I could think of was going back to my track and field days. I thought, “I should go to the gym. I know a good workout would make me feel better.” I remember giving that workout everything I had. I was in the gym for three to four hours going HAM, looking stupid. But it was after that workout, I remember showering and going, “Oh my gosh, I’m hungry.” I hadn’t been hungry and had an appetite for months so I remember going out and eating like I was feasting for five men and eating really good food. That kind of stopped everything: Going to the gym and refueling my body became an addiction. And so I started doing this consistently and feeling a need to share it on social media. During that time, I just started on social media. I was just sharing the food I was eating, little workout things I was doing. During that time, I also took some time off from my job in the corporate world to travel. I was traveling by myself to different parts of the world. There were humbling things that really put everything into perspective. So here I was crying about heartbreak when I’m witnessing things like women who can’t afford to feed their children. I thought, “Oh wow, there’s actually real sh*t going on in the world.” It also sparked my interest in reading more. So not only was I working out consistently and feeding my physical health, but traveling, reading, meditation, prayer, these were feeding my mental and spiritual health, which was just as important. My mind was still dealing with the depression, dealing with all this other stuff. I wanted to start feeding my mind so I could get healthy mentally and spiritually. This all became something I shared on social media. That’s how it became what it is and evolved.

Why She’s For Strength Over Skinny

I posted a before and after picture and the before picture was me at maybe 135, the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life. This was when I was unhealthy and depressed. I lacked strength and any sort of confidence. Then there was the picture of me today at 165 and 5’5″. I can sprint faster and squat 255 for reps, and people bashed me! They were like, “Well sh*t, I’m trying to get to your before picture. I can’t relate to this.” I said, that’s a misconception. I was unhealthy. It doesn’t matter what I looked like, my strength wasn’t there, nor was my mindset there. This is something I have to bring to the forefront because I think people are so caught up on what they see visually rather than what is really going on inside.

I don’t shame anybody’s personal goals. But I don’t care to be skinny. That’s not something esthetically I care for. And genetically, I’ll never be very skinny. I won’t ever be that. So instead of trying to fight my own genetics and molding my body into something that pleases everybody else, what does Lita want? that’s when I was like, “Oh, I want to be strong!” I want to be fast, I want to be powerful, and I want to give women another definition of what it means to be fit and beautiful. A good percentage of many women in the United States, especially women of color, will never be able to identify with the 5’11” very skinny white woman who graces the cover of your favorite fitness magazine talking about five-minute abs. I think it’s really unfair that media portrays these ideals, but instead of getting mad, I thought I’d take Ghandi’s lead and be the change I wanted to see in the world. I really move in a space of leading by example. I tell women to be the best versions of themselves. We’re all built and created very uniquely and perfectly, but perhaps, we are carrying 20 or 30 pounds more than we should or that makes us feel comfortable. So whatever it is for you, just aspire to be the best version of yourself. I’m a work in progress just as much as everyone else is.

What Does It Mean To Be Thick Fit?

Thick Fit really isn’t about a physical form. I’m using the word thick. It’s what I identify myself with, but it really speaks to not just a physical thing, but a mentality that says I totally and proudly accept who I am. I’m a thick girl, I’m always going to be thick. I train in a certain way and style to maintain my thickness. But just because I’m thick, that does not mean that I can’t be fit. So I combined the two, which is funny because I just randomly started doing it. It wasn’t like, “I want to start hashtagging Thick Fit on everything.” People just started seeing that in my hashtags and it became its own brand, which I was super proud to support and be the engine behind. People ask me, “What about the skinny fit?” and I’m like, Skinny Fits are part of this too. It’s just about the mentality of being proud of your curves and the body type that you carry.

Will You Look This Good at 62? Find Out How Many Times A Week You Should Work Out!

April 28th, 2015 - By jade
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In the series, One Bold Move, we profiled four popular bloggers in the categories of Hair, Makeup, Style, and Fitness. These bloggers discussed the one bold decision that placed their life on a completely different trajectory. For two of our most popular episodes, we are releasing never-before-seen footage with more great advice from excellent women. In this episode, mother and daughter duo Ellen and Lana Ector discuss their motivation for getting fit, why it’s important for black women to work out, and they share some great tips along the way.

To join their gym, purchase workout DVDs or workout gear visit their website.

Episode 1 – Curly Nikki 

Episode 2 – Missy Lynn 

Episode 3 – Black Girls Run!

Episode 5 – The Curvy Fashionista

Episode 6 – Series Extras

In 2 Years, Millennial Brittne Jackson Has Built An Online Fitness Business. Here Are Tips So You Can Do It Too.

April 21st, 2015 - By Rana Campbell
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brittne babe fitness

You may know her from her popular fitness Instagram account as Brittne Babe. Over the past two years, the 21-year-old New Jersey native, Brittne Jackson, has grown her platform from one that offered free workout tips and documented her personal fitness transformation to a growing online fitness coaching business where she has assisted clients with meal planning and fitness training.

We chatted with Brittne about her entry into the fitness world, business challenges and successes, how others can get into the industry, and her future goals.

MadameNoire (MN): What inspired to start online fitness coaching?
Brittne Jackson (BJ): When I started two years ago, I was 18 going on 19.  I was a freshman and put on a lot of weight. I wasn’t huge, but I wasn’t as slim as I used to be. At that point, I reached out for help but it didn’t work out well. I figured out how to do everything on my own. I researched everything and took classes while at school.

I started to put my social media to good use documenting my journey. People were asking me for help [so] I made an email account and helped people daily for free by giving out meal plans, video guides, recipes, and tips. I stayed up all night. My mom was like, “What’s going on here?” She told me that I can’t do everything that I’m good at for free. That’s when I began to [build my business.] My mom helped me a lot. She had to leave her job because I didn’t know what I was doing.

MN: Instagram was a big driver of your business growth. How can others build their following and customer base?
BJ: When you think of Instagram, you think of things that are visually pleasing. Before I was in fitness, a lot of my photos were of fashion. I got about 40,000 followers in a year based off that. When I transitioned into fitness, I kept it bright. It was more about fitness and helping others. That’s what attracted the crowd.

If you want to grow your following, be yourself. You can’t look at my page and say you are going to do everything that Brittne does. Your social should be a combination of everything you have to offer. Show off workouts, your progress, and others that you’ve helped.

Do your best to network within the fitness industry with people who have similar followings. Share with them. Get some of their followers who may not be consumers but may be looking for something that you have. I built my following  based off sharing with other fitness accounts. I asked everyone. A lot of people will say no. Others will want to charge you. Some people do pay to get featured, which is fine. You would consider that using a marketing budget. My mom and I market through social networking. We have a small budget set aside for fliers. For the most part, everything is through social networking, our website, and word of mouth. If you have the money put aside and don’t have a big following, then you should invest in features.

brittne babe fitness 3

MN: What were some of the challenges you faced when building your business?
BJ: One of the challenges was just trying to break into the fitness industry being an African American, a teenager, healthy, and athletic. It’s weird to certain people. The main features are usually the White chick, slim with abs, big legs, a nice butt… “sexual fitness porn” as I like to call it. I was none of that.  I had a huge male following prior because of the fashion Instagram I had. The girls who followed me were into the same type of things. It was hard for the Black community to accept it at first. It was also hard for the fitness Instagram society to accept me. They wouldn’t do shares with me. It was unheard of for a Black girl to get into the fitness industry.

I’ve gotten a whole lot more respect within the fitness industry. They understand that this is not just a phase that I’m going through. My followers are very diverse now. In the fitness industry, everyone’s like “I’m better. I train better. I work harder. You have more followers. That’s not fair.” I don’t work too well with senior fitness people.

MN: What are some of the services you offer?
BJ: I’ve been doing meal plan and online training since I started. My meal plan program is based around a healthy balance of all food groups. I calculate how much a person should have based on their height, weight, and level of activity. It’s all about portion control. We have weekly check-ins. I give them tips.

I also have online training, where I send them training routines they can do. As they progress through the program, I add more based on how they do. I started to introduce workout video guides. Nutrition is where it starts. A lot of people want to know about good exercises for back fat, how to build a butt, etc. Everything is about nutrition: how much protein, carbs, and fat you are getting with exercise.

brittne babe fitness 4

MN: How have you developed as a businesswoman since you started two years ago?
BJ: I’m definitely still growing. I’m 21, live at home, and commute to college every day. It’s pretty tough. This business has made me more organized and focused on my goals and what I want out of life. It’s made me better at school. My studies used to suffer. At this point, I’m only seeing myself getting better. 

MN: Why do you think there’s been such an explosion of online fitness coaches?
BJ: It’s free marketing. You don’t have to pay a dollar to market yourself. The money that you are bringing in, you are not putting out.

MN: What makes you stand out then?
BJ: I’m pretty strong. I can do pretty much what any guy can do. Also, I’m actually helping people. It’s not just a butt shot where I’m getting crude remarks. I can count on two hands how many crude emails I’ve gotten since I got into the industry. I try to keep my page as professional as possible.

MN: What tips would you give to a women of color trying to break in to the online fitness world?
BJ: Don’t get butt naked on Instagram. You don’t have to take pictures in your panties. You don’t have to concentrate on butt workouts. Have personality. Be yourself. Training is not just about how many push ups you can do. Don’t be rude. Be sensitive and positive.

MN: What needs to be done within the Black community in order for individuals to have a more encouraging outlook on fitness and wellness?
BJ: It starts at home. My mom got into nutrition about 10 years ago. She pretty much threw everything out. At first, I was pissed. Eventually, it changed my lifestyle.

As adults, we need to have awareness about any issues that are going on internally. Get your physical. You will get a full report of what you need to work on. Don’t just do it for yourself. Do it for your family as well. Knowing what’s going on inside your body is number one. Heart disease is a silent killer. You may think you are fine because you are skinny. My cousin is 110 pounds but she is on the highest dose of blood pressure medicine because she likes to eat salt.

When I do my sessions, I always ask when was the last time you had a physical. It’s very rare that my clients say this year or last year. It’s usually a couple years ago.

brittne babe fitness 2

MN: What keeps you going?
BJ:  This is both me and my mom’s lifestyle. This isn’t something that I do part-time. This is how we eat every day. We go to the gym. We meal plan. We like doing that. It’s not a punishment. I like going on Instagram and taking pictures. We like teaching our friends and talking to them about fitness. We like people asking us if we’re sisters. We do this full-time meaning from when we wake up until we go to bed. We spend our entire day putting together different ideas, workouts, programs, and videos.

Rana Campbell is a freelance writer and marketing/branding strategist. Connect with her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, Linkedin or visit ranacampbell.com

Working It Out: I’ve Officially Dropped 70 Pounds

April 17th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

Dropped 70 Pounds

April 2015 vs July 2014

Last time I wrote a column I was riding the weight loss struggle bus after getting distracted by the length of my journey and some other personal struggles I was dealing with. But I stopped by to tell you (in my old lady church voice) that the struggle is over — at least for now — and I’ve officially dropped 70 pounds.

One time for hitting goals!

I actually almost missed this milestone getting ready for work this morning. I’ve been working to move past a bit of what I considered a plateau– although considering the fact that I weigh myself an unnecessary amount of times per week, it may have just been water weight — so my main concern when I stepped on the scale this morning was seeing that the scale was at least the same or lower than it was earlier in the week. Low and behold, it was. But it wasn’t until I got on the train to work that I realized exactly what that number meant: 70 pounds was now gone from my body. For good (sometimes you gotta speak things into existence).

April 2015 vs October 2014

April 2015 vs October 2014

As I prepared for my weight loss struggle bus departure at the beginning of the month, I decided to adhere to a more strict regimen by way of a modified eating plan known as the V-diet — the v stands for velocity. I’ll give you the full breakdown on the plan in my next column, but the diet, as I’ve managed to follow it, consists of me drinking three-four protein shakes per day, one amino boost shake, and one solid meal that’s a healthy balance of complex carbs, veggies, and not much protein (because most of that comes from the protein shakes), rounding out to about 1300-1500 calories per day. While I’m not starving myself, the lack of solid food has been trying, but I decided to test my willpower in this way for two reasons: One, I’m three weeks out from my 30th and when I plop down on the sands of Punta Cana next month, I want to be able to say I did everything within my power to look my best. And Two, I needed to refocus my energy and remember why I started trying to lose weight to begin with. Yes, I wanted to look good (read: great) at 30, but more importantly I wanted to be confident at 30 because I decided that was too damn old to still harbor unnecessary insecurities, most of which were predicated on my size.

Confidence may work from the inside out but working on my outside has forced me to be honest about the issues I have on the inside and face them head on. Losing 70 pounds has by no means “cured” me, but it has helped me recognize my inner strength while I progress in my physical strength. It’s also helped me better embrace some of the positive attributes that others have pointed out for years, but I sometimes failed to see — though there are times I still find myself questioning the authenticity of compliments and accepting some remarks at face value. But when other people come to me with questions about how I’ve managed to stay on the (mostly) straight and narrow for so long, it’s a good reminder that sometimes I need to stop and smell the roses, i.e. take pride in the work I’ve done and the results I’ve achieved instead of worrying so much about when I’m going to get to this weight and that waist measurement. I’m doing good, I’m getting better by the day, and I’ve lost more weight in the past seven months than I ever have in my life and been more consistent in the gym than I’ve ever managed for more than three months. Attention must be paid.

Working It Out: The Eating Habits That Led To My 63-Pound Weight Loss

March 25th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.

March 12, 2015 vs. October 20, 2014

March 12, 2015 vs. October 20, 2014

A month ago, I revealed that I’d dropped 54 pounds within five months and many of you asked me to share details on the eating habits that got me there. Now with a total loss of 63 pounds under my belt, I’ve narrowed down a few key behaviors that have contributed to my success. Keep in mind, I am not a nutritionist, personal trainer, or doctor, but I can say that incorporating these methods has helped me stay on track during the past six months.

1. Counting Calories: Weight loss is math. About 3,5000 calories equals one pound. If you want to lose one pound per week, you must have a deficit of 3,500 calories per week, which would mean eating 500 less calories per day. I went about my current weight loss journey more aggressively, with an average loss of about 2.5 pounds per week, which means on any given day I eat about 1300 less calories than I expend.

To figure out how many calories to eat, I recommend an online calorie calculator like this one that takes into consideration your height, weight, age, and activity level, and recommends a small range of calories you can eat to lose, burn, or maintain your current weight.

2. Measuring Everything I Eat (and Drink): Yes, I have poured vodka in a liquid measuring cup before putting it in a glass with a splash of club soda and lemon and lime. Don’t judge me! Part of counting calories is making sure you’re calculating the right amount. While there are plenty of portion guides that will tell you four ounces of chicken is equal to the inner palm of your hand, I’m pretty anal about knowing the caloric value of everything I eat. So before anything goes in a baking pan or my stomach, it hits a food scale or measuring cup. #PortionControlOnFleek

3. Logging Everything I Eat: After I measure my food, I log it. I won’t act like this isn’t one of the more meticulous aspects of my journey (especially when calculating the total calories for a dish with a million ingredients), but for those times I step on the scale and don’t see the figures I expect, knowing that I didn’t underestimate my calories (and can therefore likely chalk up the disappointment to water weight or muscle gain) gives me peace of mind. I currently use DotFit to log all of my food because it comes with my Crunch personal training but prior to this I used MyFitnessPal.

Logging not only keeps me organized, but it keeps me accountable. It’s easy to convince yourself that you didn’t eat that many baked tortilla chips, but when you actually count and log your portions you know whether there really is room in your caloric budget to have that late-night snack you’re craving or if you need to drink some water and lay yourself down.

4. Tracking Calories Burned: If you want to take the accuracy of your caloric input and output to the next level, I recommend some method of calorie tracking. I use an Exerspy, again, via Crunch, and a couple of my coworkers use a FitBit. There are a couple of benefits to calorie tracking. The most obvious being that when you know how many calories you’ve expended, you know exactly how much you can eat to hit your deficit goal (again, weight loss is math). Calorie tracking also serves as a reminder to get moving. If it’s 4 p.m. and you’re thinking about skipping the gym tonight but you’re nowhere near 10,000 steps for the day, you know you need to get your butt moving! Third, we also tend to overestimate the number of calories we burn working out at the gym — as do the exercise machines we use — and a personal calorie tracker provides the highest level of accuracy.

5. Giving Up Everything I Thought I Loved: I don’t want to be too TMI, but the fact that I would end up on the toilet in the middle of the night every time I ate Popeyes, which I used to proudly proclaim my love for, should’ve been an indicator that such food wasn’t for my body. That’s why I say I’ve since given up all the food I thought I loved, like fast food (minus the occasional sub from Subway), soda, and even fried food that left me with “the itis” instead of energy.

Protein shakes and bars have been a big part of my diet over the past six months. I typically have two of either option per day, usually either as breakfast or a snack. I mix the shakes with unsweetened almond milk because it tastes better than water and has less calories than skim milk. And even though I’m totally over chicken at this point, I do routinely eat grilled chicken and also shrimp or turkey. For a dose of healthy fats, I almost always cook with either extra virgin olive oil or Pam cooking spray, and I love avocado. My carbs consist of corn tortillas, which I have to chill on sometimes; quinoa, which is considered a super food due to all of its benefits, and green vegetables like spinach that I can admit I don’t always get enough of.

Foods I’ve tried to get away with that my trainer shut down include: grits (oatmeal is more nutritious); canned soup (too much sugar); chips of damn near any kind, from corn, to pita, to spinach, and tortilla, although Quest protein chips have been approved; steak (not a lean meat); and chicken wings (they’re mostly fatty skin, though I do trim a lot of the skin off).

Foods I should be eating more of include: healthy nuts, fish, sweet potatoes (a healthy carb), and Ezekiel bread (if you have to have bread). I’ve included screenshots of some food logs on the next couple pages for more insight into my day-to-day eating.

6. Using #Fitspiration: Instagram has kept me on my toes almost as much as my trainer in two ways: Number one, I follow at least 15-20 women who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that loss to remind myself that I can do it too. Seeing their workout and results posts also keeps me from going off track (90 percent of the time) when I want to say eff it and either eat something I have no business or skip workouts. I also follow another dozen women or so who post healthy recipes. They help me switch up my meals and enjoy eating healthy more.

Hopefully this helps you on your journey. Of course, if you have questions leave them below. FYI, I’m currently working on a way to visually share my workout routine with you as well.

Trying To Get That Summer Body? 11 Budget-Friendly Tips On Getting Fit

March 23rd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Are you thinking about shedding a few pounds or toning up for the summer months? It’s a great dream to have you can turn into a reality. All you need is time, dedication and a place to work up a sweat. Whether you choose to join a gym or find another alternative, here are some money-saving tips on your journey to getting fit.

Healthy State Of Mind! New Study Examines The African-American Consumer & Fitness

March 6th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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A new survey by Nielsen looked at African Americans and their attitudinal views on health and wellness priorities and financial management behaviors. And the results could help marketers reach this untapped consumer–the African-American fitness buff.

According to the study, 92 percent of the African-Americans said they felt it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle, and they’re doing so by adopting healthier habits. Also, African Americans are more likely than the general population to reduce what they may consider unhealthy or bad habits, such as fatty foods, reports Target Market News.

And when African Americans get on a health kick, they go all the way. They take greater efforts to reduce their alcohol intake and decrease cigarette consumption.

So it makes sense that African-Americans’ (age 18 to 54) participation in fitness activities go hand-in-hand with their health goals. The most popular fitness activities are:  running, swimming, and biking, where African Americans have reported activity levels of 40 percent, 34 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in 2014. There was also an increase by health conscious Blacks in yoga/pilates, jogging, tennis, soccer, and camping.

With the collective buying power of African Americans projected to reach $1.1 trillion this year, that’s a lot of money to spend on fitness.