Female Muscle: Respect the Flex

This gallery contains 2 photos.

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!

Image

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

Best-

Brown Belle Fitness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay the Course…Snack Healthy While on the Go!

ImageImageImage

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)

Best-

Brown Belle Fitness

Ultimate Motivators…Wheelchair Bodybuilders!

ImageImage

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

Best-

Brown Belle Fitness

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

Oh So Sweet! Small changes, Big payoff!

I stepped on the scale and then I stepped back off. I picked up the scale and examined it—to make sure it wasn’t broken or anything of that nature. I turned if off and then I turned it back on again (it was one of those new digital ones…fancy). Then, I stepped back on and back off again. This scale sucks!  Yep, that’s exactly what I thought as it sunk in that I was at my heaviest weight ever–approximately 48 lbs overweight for my height (5’2”). However, I haven’t been 120lbs. since the 3rd grade. Nor am I seeking to lose 48lbs. I’ve never been skinny and have always been considered “thick” in my culture, which…funny enough, is a good thing. But, the extra weight has me feeling a little sluggish and unfit.

So, since stepping on the scale (exactly two weeks ago), I decided to commence on this fitness journey…to “live the fit life” or at least try to by attempting to exercise and eat right. My goal is to lose 23lbs and tone up. I’ve been taking a boxing class and I joined the gym. I have been working out (30 minutes on the treadmill…walk first 5 minutes at 3.2…jog next 15 minutes at 4.8/5.0…set incline to 7 and speed to 3.8 for 5 minutes…incline back to 0 and walk 3.8 the remaining 5 minutes) and 15 minutes on the Elliptical.

Diet wise, I’ve made small changes by substituting healthier food choices over those I regularly eat and crave:

1)      Frozen Yogurt (low fat, no sugar) in lieu of Ice Cream

2)      Whole Grain/Wheat bread in lieu of White Bread

3)      Fish in lieu of Ground Beef/Pork

4)      Diet Soda in lieu Regular Soda

And possibly the hardest substitute I’ve made…

5)      Spilt Tea (sweet & unsweet) in lieu of 100% Sweet Tea

I was raised in the South, Kentucky to be more specific, and the one staple in a “Southern” refrigerator is a large pitcher of sweet tea (spring, summer, winter, fall)…right next to the Zip-Lock bag of deer meat. And it’s not “good” sweet tea if it doesn’t taste like syrup! I really, really did try to drink a cup of unsweet tea and couldn’t bear it. It’s spilt tea for now!

Also, just to mention, from what I’ve read nutritionists and fitness gurus all agree that cutting added/refined sugar out of your diet can result in weight loss and prevent weight gain. Here’s an article you can check out for a little bit of inspiration. http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/how-cutting-out-refined-sugar-changed-one-womans-life

With all of the above…drum roll please…exercising regularly over the last two weeks in addition to the small changes I made in my diet….I’ve lost 4lbs!

Let’s hope I don’t gain it all back tomorrow…Thanksgiving Day! I know…I know…terrible time to all of a sudden decide to make such a huge lifestyle change. Guess we’ll see how I do…next weigh-in is in two weeks, but I’ll be blogging in between time.

Best-

Brown Belle Fitness