Planet Fitness Black Card Membership: Is it Worth the Upgrade?

ImageFor just $10 and without signing a contract, you can join Planet Fitness and get your workout on. Truly, not a bad deal when I once was paying $49.99 a month a few years ago at an athletic club that forced me to sign a twelve-month contact. That may not sound like a lot but in this economy it’s almost the $70-$80 bucks that is now missing out of our paychecks these days. But as I was saying, $10 bucks can get you started and on your way to accomplishing your New Year’s resolution of dropping a few pounds and getting in better physical shape. Planet Fitness also offers what they’re calling their “Black Card” membership for $19.99 a month with a twelve-year contract—still not bad. You can workout at any location across the country, bring a guest every single time your workout and best of all…enjoy the benefits of their HydroMassage machine! I’m unsure if every location has one but most of the newer locations more than likely do.

Now, if you’ve been lucky enough to have a deep-tissue-whole-body massage at the hands of a professional masseuse then nothing—not even the Hydromassage—can compare. It would be like comparing the euphoric-dopamine filled feeling you feel after an hour-and-a-half workout versus that of a forty-five minute workout. Yet and still, working out is better than not working out, which is how I feel about the Hydromassage machine at Planet Fitness. You may not feel GREAT after the five minute massage, but you do feed good…at least while the jet system travels up and down the length of your body. It also has customizable pressure ranges and gives you the option to target any part of your body.

If you don’t have a personal masseuse at home (some of us haven’t come upon such luck yet) or a professional masseuse on speed dial (still…no such luck) or can afford to hit the spa every month (damn luck) then, yes, upgrading to the Black Card membership at Planet Fitness is DEFINITELY worth it…even if just for five-minutes of pleasure after a grueling workout! 

 

Female Muscle: Respect the Flex

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We’re making progress—the Black community that is. We’ve come to accept gay choir directors in the Black church (although we damn them to hell Monday – Saturday, but praise their choir-directing talents on Sunday mornings…that’s a joke…just in case someone … Continue reading

Black Women: Don’t let your hair hinder your health in 2013!

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Nicole Ari Parker

 

Dear Black Women:

Let’s declare 2013 The Year of No Excuses! Specifically, as it pertains to our health and getting fit in the New Year. Year after year, month after month, day after day…we’ve used our hair as an excuse preventing us from getting in our best physical shape. And, we all know, it’s no secret in the African American community that we black women have a dysfunctional relationship with our hair. Each year we spend billions of dollars on straightening, blow-drying, flat-ironing, curling our hair and the list goes on. Not only that, we sit idly—wasting valuable time—in salons and beauty shops for hours upon hours before we even “get in the chair” to get our manes tamed…only to turn around and do the same routine all over again within two or so weeks. Even if you’re rockin’ a natural these days, in which I’ve been told by friends, the routine is still as time-consuming (natural hair salons are popping up like corner liquor stores and laundromats), costly (natural hair products can be expensive) and not so maintenance-free as people think (one of my friends literally spends hours washing, twisting and turning her hair into knots at least three times a week before she goes to bed in preparation for the next day). 

We don’t work out because we don’t want to sweat out our fresh do(s). Why? Because we’ve spent money and time to look fabulous from the neck up. I pose the question: What’s the use in looking great from face up when we’re not our best from the collarbone down? Really, it’s not even about our outward appearance (Although who doesn’t want to look their best?). It’s about maintaining good health and preventing future illnesses such as obesity (yes, obesity is an illness), high blood pressure and diabetes—illnesses that can be prevented by living a healthier, fit lifestyle.

With all of the above, I wouldn’t leave you hanging without providing a possible solution, which brings me to the-next-big-thing to hit the scene…Nicole Ari Parker’s Save Your Do™ GymWrap (she’s the wife of the most-handsome Boris Kodjoe just in case you were wondering). I have not tried this product; however, according to the website it’s “a stylish headband developed with a patent-pending revolutionary “Edge Control Technology” that minimizes sweat absorption through a unique blend of materials that allows heat to escape while letting cool air in. The moisture ‘wicking’ process occurs at the molecular level within the fabric resulting in drier flat hair!” And, it comes in a variety of colors and is available in three styles: full triangle, wide band and narrow band. It’s also ideal for all hair lengths, types and textures.

The Save Your Do™ GymWrap may turn out not to be our saving grace when it comes to our hair. And, if not, you’ll still have a very important decision to make—to decide to put your health first and not your hair!

Photo: blogs.centrictv.com

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Brown Belle Fitness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay the Course…Snack Healthy While on the Go!

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Eating healthy at home is often hard to do let alone trying to stay the course while on the go—especially during the holiday-shopping season as we meander places like the mall, desperately trying not to stop for a cinnamon roll (with extra icing) at Cinnabon or fast food from the food court or a pretzel with caramel or cheese sauce from “that pretzel” place (you know…the one that is in every mall in America).  Let’s face it, it’s tough not to be tempted by all of those mouthwatering mall aromas–deliciously seeping up our noses and teasing our taste buds. It’s a dieters purgatory! But…

Thank goodness we’re not just dieters but people who have dedicated ourselves to making a lifestyle change…to upgrade the quality of our lives by making better food choices and choosing to get fit. We’re disciplined (not really but we’re really trying hard to be)! And, we’re in it to WIN it!

So, here are some ideas/tips to help keep you on track while you’re on the go:

1)      100 calorie snack packs – Stock up on 100 calorie snack packs of some of your favorite treats and before you leave the house, throw a bag or two into your purse. You’ll feel super EMPOWERED and in CONTROL when you decide to pull out pack as you stroll past Cinnabon, which beats standing in line for that cinnamon roll and licking your fingers in guilt afterwards.

2)      Pumpkin Seeds/Almonds – I keep a bag of pumpkin seeds in my car. They’re absolutely great! They have a chewy consistency, which makes you feel like you’re eating a snack with substance. After a handful of these, I’m good to go for another hour or two. Almonds and other nuts are great snacks as well.

3)      Fruit – It never hurts to have an apple or banana on hand to keep a growling stomach tame for a few hours.

But, if you’re “starvin’ like Marvin’” and need just a little bit more than a snack to do away with your hunger pains while out and about, try:

1)      Taco Bell – The Cantina Bowl is actually pretty good and filling. Best thing is that whether you get the chicken, steak or veggie bowl…each is under 600 calories!

2)      Wendy’s—Yes, you can eat healthy at Wendy’s! Try a large chili (310 calories) or a sour cream and chive potato (320 calories). You can also pair one of these two items with one of Wendy’s choice of side salads (Caesar/250 calories, garden/210 calories).

3)      Panera Bread—The Panera menu offers an array of healthy food choices from soups to salads and half sandwich combinations, in which, you can go to www.paneranutrition.com to calculate the number of calories within your combination of choice.

Hope this helps!

Progress Note: Welllllllllllllllllll….I weighed in last Wednesday and was highly disappointed to see that I hadn’t lost any more weight since the last time I weighed in. It’s a little discouraging being that I’ve been working out every day and trying to eat healthier for a month now. However, I’m still at it and I won’t quit until I reach my goal!

Photo Credits: (100 calorie snacks/amazon.com, pumpkin seeds/tumblr.com, fruit/mandybloomsraw.com)

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Brown Belle Fitness

Ultimate Motivators…Wheelchair Bodybuilders!

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There are some days when I need a little bit more motivation than I can muster up to hit the gym (those days when visions of the body I want just don’t get me off the couch). I may listen to some music to get pumped or flip through some fitness magazines to get me up and moving. Or, scour YouTube and watch some bodybuilding videos, which always get me hype! (I can’t get enough of watching those Kai Greene videos. The guy is a bodybuilding beast!)

Moving along…

So, the other day I was watching a bodybuilding documentary. In one of the shots, I noticed a really ripped guy with big bulging muscles. It wasn’t until seconds later that I noticed he was in a wheelchair. Days later, this guy was still on my mind. I want to know who that guy is, I thought.Thus, I proceed to Google “wheelchair bodybuilder guy.” Now, I am aware of the Special Olympics and other athletic competitions for those with disabilities, but I seriously thought that this guy was the only wheelchair-bound bodybuilder in the world. That’s until my search led me to several men and women wheelchair bodybuilders. Not just bodybuilders, but IFBB pro bodybuilders!

I am sure these amazing men and women are known throughout the bodybuilding and fitness communities, but I was genuinely surprised to learn that the IFBB hosted a competitive category for those wheelchair-bound. These men and women are more than portraits of physical strength. They are examples of extraordinary people who, when faced with unfortunate circumstances, didn’t simply stop living—competitors who didn’t let their disability stop them from pursuing their passion. These men and women are the ultimate motivators! Not only do I feel like I can overcome my battle with the bulge, I feel like I can win the battle against anything that life throws my way.

Photos: wheelchair-bodybuilding.com

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Eat HOT…Burn FAT: How spicing up your meals can help you slim down!

A little bit of Louisiana Hot Sauce can not only add flavor to your meals but according to a Penn State University report, hot sauce can also help boost your metabolism and burn fat! Flavoring your meals with hot sauce … Continue reading

Whatever You Do…Don’t Lose Your Butt! Ummmm…what?

From family to friends, I’ve been given the same warning since embarking on this fitness journey of mine, “Whatever you do…don’t lose your butt!” NEWS FLASH…that’s exactly what I’m trying to lose…well…maybe not all of it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to lose so much weight that my backside ends up looking like a deflated beach ball and I suppose I should consider myself lucky as some women these days are risking their lives for butt injections/implants from phony doctors in unsterile storefront-strip mall offices. Still, my cushion is overstuffed! I do love my curves, but the reality is that I am 48lbs overweight.

I suppose the question is, when does curvy become unfit? Is it when you find yourself short of breath after climbing a set of stairs or when you can’t run twenty consecutive minutes on the treadmill or do one hundred crunches without stopping? Well, that’s me! I. AM. UNFIT. And, I’m not the only one.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. This statistic, of course, I’m sure is due to many different factors. However, I believe the main factor is living an unhealthy-unfit lifestyle. And, I can’t help but wonder if the statistic is permeated by Black America’s—specifically a large majority of black men’s—obsession with “big” butts. At this very moment, I have a friend who is seriously considering getting butt implants! My thought…why add the extra weight?

Personally, I have wondered if—over the years—I put my desire to get in better shape unconsciously on hold because I believed I would no longer be desired in my community if I lost a few pounds (specifically my voluptuous backside) as women-entertainers such as Nicki Minaj, Deelishis and a host of video vixens are worshiped in my culture because of their enormous buttocks. In all honesty, carrying so much “junk in the trunk” can be tiresome. Yes, I said it! And believe me; I know (pic of my butt provided…center). I like to compare the experience to that of a woman with DDD’s, who desperately wants a breast reduction. It’s a lot to travel with.

Despite being warned, I’m going to continue on my fitness journey—aiming to get fit while also trying to preserve some of my voluptuousness. But, my ultimate goal is to have a tight and toned body because butt or no butt…fit is feminine and strong is sexy!

Progress Note: So, I usually can only manage to run/jog for 15 consecutive minutes on the treadmill at speeds 4.8/5.0. Well, yesterday, I decided to push myself a little further. My aim was to run/jog for 20 minutes and a few minutes at 5.2…sad to report I didn’t quite make my goal but I did manage to run/jog for 18 minutes before totally conking out. A small step forward is better than a giant step backwards!

Photos: Deelishis (Mediatakeout.com), Nicki Minaj (hiphopnewsdaily.com), Me (my lovely mother was the photographer)

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Brown Belle Fitness