Most of my life I’ve been active, at one point even athletic but these recent years have seen an increased need for more motivation. Well, the hubster’s college reunion in Florida is coming up this November and I will NOT be the fat woman at the ball. NOPE! I’m enlisting the help of professionals in the PGCo area who work with those, like myself, whoÂ need a little motivation.
Byron Nichols is a certified fitness professional who’s boot camp classes and personal training sessions are gaining followers and momentum in the County. Check out the bnfitdc website for class schedules and helpful information on nutrition and training.
Question: BNFit is coming into its own self-propelled movement. Tell us how BNFit was born. Break it down superhero style. Did you get bit by a bug like Spiderman or something?
BN: I love that everyone acknowledges that I am, in fact, a superhero — but I’m more like Thor or the Patriot (ha!). BNFit was Facebook born on a whim. In the summer of 2009, I decided it was time to counteract the past few stressful years of my accounting career by losing the weight that “snuck” up on me. I challenged myself to ride my bike everyday and when I posted about it, people asked if they could join me on my rides.
During a Facebook conversation about one of the pictures, I jokingly made mention of a “BNFit challenge” that called for my friends to commit to move for 1 hour each day. Any kind of movement, running, fitness classes, bikes, walking. I’d forgot about it until people started checking in and posting their goals on my page. I was being taken seriously!Â Â I discovered that people were and still are looking for inspiration and something to be a part of. Through my challenge, I lost 100 pounds. Afterwards, Â Rodney Hunt,Â owner of the Capital Sports Complex (CSC), took interest in my progress and I began an internship program with them. In essence, I did get bit by the bug of people trusting their health and goals to me. My clients expect results and demand creativity. My clients also come back. I love this!
Question: With all the exercise-mania in DC, why did you choose Prince George’s County as your location?
BN: I chose Prince George’s country because it’s where I live and because that’s where I see a great need.Â I have to set a lower price-points than my colleagues in the District, and my marketing strategies aren’t always conventional, but I am committed to my community and seeing people’s lives change. I love that Washington, DC is high on the list of health-conscious cities. You can go to the monuments, the National Harbor, Georgetown, Mt. Vernon, etc., ad nauseum and see mostly non-Black people independently working out. Black folk are opening up to fitness but this slow upturn is sobering and saddening. Fitness isn’t a common function enough of our culture, our homes, families, churches, communities, or our schools.
Question: What are the challenges people in PGCo face that are unique to County residents i.e. sedentary culture, un-walkable communities, age?
BN: I would say that it’s a socio-economic inequity that has to be addressed. A lot of our challenges stem from how we view and define family, food, fitness, even how we define fun. Is fun always centered around food? A cookout or a jog? When I drive to my personal training sessions in Falls Church, I rarely see carryouts or Â fast food restaurants everyÂ 1/2 mile like in our communities. These challenges have to do with what we demand as taxpayers, voters, parents. When we require fitness and arts programs to be provided for our children, they’re provided. Our biggest challenge is that these are not shared values.
Question: What fad diets/workouts/supplements do you wish would just go away?
BN: HCG, “The Biggest Loser” franchise and all it’s emotional trappings. Acai berry because there are so many fake acai products on the market. All ab machines. *Shameless Plug* You may see the BNFit+ in the marketplace in 2 years. I’m not a fan of most lotions or potions. Supplements get tricky because one can attain optimal health by eating well. At my 4-year old goddaughter’s school they say “Make Good Choices!” and I’ve adopted that for myself and my clientele.
Question: What is the funniest excuse anyone ever gave you for not pursuing a fit lifestyle or for skipping bootcamp?
BN: Aint none. There is no funny excuse for not pursuing a fit lifestyle or skipping bootcamp. I’m intense about this thing. It’s life or death. “Overslept.” “Too early.” “I don’t want you to ‘kill’ me.” “I’m too big-boneded.” “I’m not ready for that kind of intensity.” I can’t see any humor in any of them. And if you know me, you know that I LOOOOOOOVE a good laugh when appropriate.
Now there are some funny things I’ve heard once people arrive at their class or session:
- Kym Lee, celebrity makeup artist, DETESTS Plyometrics and her step workout because I include weights; she would prefer a weight workout without the step because it’s less intense. So one day we began a Plyo/step workout and she screams out in the key of high-C: “YOU SAID WEIGHTS!! YOU SAID WE WERE DOING WEIGHTS TODAY!” We laughed for 5 minutes and every time we see each other, it’s bound to come up. Fun-ny!
- During some of the exercises (scalers, planks) we do that require a push-up like position with straight backs, I’ll holler out “butt down” meaning to straighter out the body. One day I said “butt down” and two bootcampers said in unison, “It’s made like that!” It was a class-stopping moment. It was so funny because it’s actually a good excuse that ALMOST worked!
- I have a client who told me that he wanted to edit his personal training contract and ban about 10 exercises from our sessions. After he named specific moves and exercises, he went issued a general edict: “no resistance bands.” The next clause was, “No rubber products of any sort.” That was another moment.
Question: What do you think of the current Zumba craze?
BN: I appreciate that Zumba has drawn so many women [and men] off the couch and into something that gets them sweating and thinking about their health. Excellent. Zumba has “all-levels” appeal so I endorse it as a start, good cardio and clean fun. The flipside, however, is that many of my clients have lost lots of weight doing cardio only — Zumba, running, walking — without weight training and end up not building muscle and toning the body. Without toning, a person will lose weight but the soft tissue remains as sagging skin. Weight conditioning is so very important to develop muscle tone and to beat back sag. The difference would be First Lady Obama arms (weights – Clearly!) and the Oprah arm (All due respect. Oprah said it, I didn’t).
Question: Give me 3 sentences on how to begin the journey to a healthy, BNFit lifestyle?
1. Determine how committed you are and what you are willing to invest — time, money, extra sleep.
2. Meet with your physician to make sure you’re aware of your health bio. Blood pressure is important to know before you start your programs.
3. The proof of your desire is in your pursuit. Let’s do this!