All Articles Tagged "fitness"

Work It Out: Cute, Affordable And Supportive Sports Bras For D-Cups And Up

July 22nd, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shopping for bras is tough, but shopping for quality sports bras can be a nightmare. While your everyday bra only needs to lift and support you as you go to and fro (and keep your nipples from being on fleek in public), sports bras have more work to do. They have to lift and support you as you bust a move in Zumba, give it your all on the elliptical machine, and do your best jumping jacks in boot camp (now that’s the real test of support). It’s even harder to find a good one when you have a bigger bust. And did we mention that they’re expensive too?

To further help encourage you as you make your health and wellness a priority this summer and beyond, we did some digging for supportive and stylish sports bras that won’t break the bank. And because we know how real the struggle is, we compiled this list for the divas with D-cups and up. Links provided!

sports bras for D cups and up

Victoria’s Secret

Incredible by Victoria’s Secret Sports Bra

Price: Originally $49.50-$58.50 depending on size; Currently $39
Sizes: 32 A – 40 DDD

For The Young Yogis, Cardio Killers And CrossFit Queens: Black Female Fitness Gurus To Follow On Instagram

July 21st, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I find that following fitness gurus on Instagram has greatly motivated me in ways I didn’t think possible. When I’m on the couch and planning to spend my night watching Netflix and eating junk food, I look on Instagram and see one of my faves going hard in the gym. That makes me think to myself: “I think I’ll do a workout video real quick.” Watching other people on their fitness journeys keeps me on track with my own. And while any woman killing it on the health and wellness tip is worth following, I prefer to follow women who look like me: Black and curvy. So in case you’re looking for motivation as you try to shed some pounds and get both physically and mentally fit, these are the Black female fitness gurus you need to follow.

Lana Ector: @lanagem

Lana and her mother Ellen Ector, the brains and beauties behind the “Black Girls Workout Too” DVD, have been motivating people for years. Lana is a certified trainer and nutritionist who believes that every woman should and can have killer abs and glutes. She works her clients to the bone and makes us want to get it right and keep it tight.

Fitness, Family, And The Importance Of Being A Good Example

July 16th, 2015 - By Kendra Koger
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I recently joined a gym to help me stay focused on my weight loss goals. As I filled out the application, I didn’t realize my motivation and the magnitude it had in my life, parenting, and self-esteem.

The receptionist asked why was I interested in joining the facility and my answer was: “I want to fit my clothes again, and for my daughter.”

As I waited for an overly happy (and extremely tanned) guy in a polo shirt to come over, shake my hand and welcome me and my daughter into the “gym lifestyle,” I sat back and thought about my answer.

Shopping was beginning to become a pain. Stores have separated their plus-size clothing from other departments now, whereas a short time ago they were simply at the end of a rack in the women’s section. Back then, if someone saw you perusing clothes for your fuller figure, you could always make it seem like you “wandered” to that area by mistake. You know how it goes. Someone walks by, and you’re holding a garment. All you can think to say is “This shirt is so cute! Let me look at the size. Oh! I didn’t even realize I was in the extra large section. Well, I’ll go ahead and get it anyway. It’ll just be a little loose.” Deep down you know good and well that’s your size. Nowadays, there’s no playing it off. The plus-size section is in an area of its own, and walking into it seems like a declaration: “Yep, I’m big.  Charge me extra!” I’m just not here for that.

More importantly, though, I realized that with everything I do, I’m creating an example of acceptable behavior for my daughter.  If I’m doing something wrong, it’s going to seem right to her until she knows better. After finally getting used to a sporadic sleep schedule, and once my daughter got old enough to sleep throughout the night, I thought I would finally have enough energy to start working out again.  But with such an unhealthy diet, the only exercising I felt like doing was channel surfing.

As my daughter got older, she didn’t want to share in my fatigue. Instead of just sitting down while mommy watched television, she wanted to get up and play–like most little kids do. When we would finally go outside, I would sit and watch her run, jump, and ride her tricycle. As for me, I would grunt if I had to get up and get a ball that was out of her reach or get a new toy she wanted.

As a person who prides herself on setting a good example for her daughter to follow (and hopefully transcend) I was becoming a horrible example of health and how to take care of one’s self.  Yes, I fed her healthy food, but I would proudly eat my junk while she ate her vegetables.

As a child, I hated the whole “do as I say, not as I do” mentality that parents tend to have when it comes to raising children. So I decided as an adult that instead of being a hypocrite, I had to make some changes. I didn’t want my daughter to think that being a couch potato is the norm.  She’s full of energy, loves to run, jump, and play, and since she’s an only child, I have an obligation to join in.

As I started my first workout at my new gym, I realized just how old I felt, despite being relatively young. But I also knew that with each workout I’d be able to gain a portion of the youth I wasted on a sedative lifestyle and fast food.

Now 23 pounds down (and counting), I realize how much fun I have interacting with my daughter now that I’ve returned to an active lifestyle.  Whether we’re walking around the neighborhood, hula-hooping, or running in the backyard, I can participate in high-energy activities with her now. Updating my lifestyle and eating better has finally given me the energy I needed to join in.  I’m loving every single second of my newfound youth, and I’m dedicated to not wasting a single second of it any longer. Both my life and my daughter’s as well depend on that.


Working It Out: You Can’t Lose Weight Alone

July 15th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Manging Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy. Follow more of her story on

August 2013 vs July 2015

August 2013 vs July 2015

If I was stranded in the middle of the ocean and someone nonchalantly cruised by with a lifeboat, it’s quite possible I might drown. That’s just how strong my aversion is to asking for help. Some call that having a big ego, I personally think my M.O. is the result of watching too many people around me have to depend on others and possibly taking my oath to never be like that to the extreme. Whatever the case may be, as I thought about what’s made this weight loss journey different from so many others in my past, I realized this was the first time I didn’t go at it alone.

When I say I didn’t do this alone, I’m not talking about the fact that I hired a personal trainer — though I’ve already explained how invaluable that resource has been to me. I’m talking about opening myself up to the encouragement — and accountability — of others, which I didn’t realize I was doing at the time, or was so necessary. In the past I’ve always kept my workout missions to myself, mostly for fear that if and when I didn’t lose the weight (or at least as much as I wanted to) I’d be judged. There’s also that look of Thank God some people get in their eyes when they find out you’re planning to lose weight that just reinforces how unhealthy you are and always made me feel some type of way. (Read: Insecure) Of course, when people noticed I dropped a few pounds I told them I’d been watching what I was eating or exercising, but that was the extent of my conversations about what I was doing. The struggle was too personal, my doubt about the end goal was too real, and being the independent person I am I knew that just as I’d gained the weight alone, I’d lose it alone. Except I didn’t, not for any significant length of time anyway. And then someone would remark about how I was gaining weight (again) and I’d get an attitude and think, see this is why I keep this ish to myself, and then I’d keep on re-gaining until I’d surpass my previous pre-weight loss weight and repeat the cycle.

This go-round, not being able to maintain my weight loss hasn’t even crossed my mind once. Prior to last week, I thought that was only because I’m finally starting to feel comfortable with my body and I know I don’t ever want to go back to how I felt before. But then I discretely, or so I thought, grabbed a bag of Doritos at the office because I was starving and hadn’t had a chance to eat all day and one of my coworkers kindly marched over to me with the Black girl “uh uh, what are you doing face?” and snatched it out of my hand. That’s when I realized I don’t just have myself in check, everyone else does! As I explained my poor eating choice, she explained to the rest of the office, who’d witnessed her actions, that “we have to keep each other accountable” and then she went out and purchased a much more sensible plate of salmon, spinach and baked sweet potatoes for me to eat. #BlackGirlsStickTogether

Funny enough, what she did sparked another co-worker to point out she saw me use the hashtag #effadiet on a picture I posted of a glorious waistline-bloating meal I had in New Orleans (because there’s just no hope in that city) and was more than willing to tell me about myself before she saw me clarify that I was only about that life just for the day. Over the weekend, another friend asked me to come over and help her with something work related and then proceeded to get the full rundown of my dietary needs before making an amazingly healthy brunch that included only one piece of bacon for us the next morning. And just last night when I was at the office past six, another co-worker started to chastise me because she thought I wasn’t going to the gym. Thankfully, I was heading to a late class or it would’ve been game over.

See, truth be told, sometimes those around me care more about my weight loss journey than I do. There are some days during some weeks that I look for any excuse to skip a workout, or eat something I have no business, or drink one too many and then here they come telling me in no uncertain terms “Do better!” and I do. And then I question whether I would’ve gotten this far for this long without their watchful eyes. My trainer gets on me because I pay him to. My friends and coworkers get on me because they see how hard I’ve worked to get where I am and want what’s best for me. I used to be the type to scoff at weight loss tips that suggest having a workout partner or an accountability partner. I have about six of the latter that I see every single day from 8-5 and they are just as invaluable as the man I pay to make me swing kettle bells and jump rope ’til one of the “girls” nearly pops out of one of the two sports bras I wear to contain them.

If you’re thinking about starting up a fitness routine, don’t feel like it’s an embarrassing secret you have to keep to yourself. No matter how little or lofty your goal is, tell someone about it. It doesn’t have to be six someones. (In fact, I don’t recommend that because it can’t be a bit much at times.) But confide in a best friend, or a co-worker you trust, or hit up someone whose done it already on social media. In those moments when cake and ice cream are calling you more than the elliptical you’re going to want to talk to someone who can relate to your struggle and keep you on the right path, and most times your conscious simply isn’t going to be enough.

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/

Source: PNP/

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 Manging Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy. Follow more of her story on

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

Image Source:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or visit