Testimonials from extraordinary people motivated to achieve a healthy lifestyle

Dust Settles…...I don’t! I will never again settle for less in my life and neither should you especially when it comes to your health. You have nothing without your health in my opinion so it is important as well as necessary to put things in motion to maintain a healthy lifestyle for as long as you possibly can. Developing health routines are critical to longevity and includes watching what you eat to exercising your body. So, the aim is to step up your motivation game and be extraordinary to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

For example, I read comic books during my childhood and was motivated to stay in shape based on an advertisement in the book by Jack LaLanne. The ad described a young man relaxing on the beach with his girlfriend on a sunny day when a muscled bound man approaches the couple and kicked sand in the boyfriends face for no reason at all. The boyfriend was embarrassed and too scrawny to consider defending himself so he coward.

Soon after, the young man went home very upset but was motivated to follow Jack LaLanne’s exercise recommendations and his body eventually bulked in size and he grew stronger over time. Several months later, the new and approved young man was on the same beach with his girlfriend when the same bully approached him. The boyfriend gave the bully a can of whoop ass to defend his honor and his girl. Like the young man, I was inspired by Jack Lalanne’s routines and have been working out ever since.

So, what else motivates Kelvin Abney to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle? Exercising makes me look and feel good. I think better when I work out. I love the pain when pushing it to the limit physically. My clothes fit just right when I am in shape. I am able to manage stressful situations and make better decisions. I have a strong desire and will to combat the aging process through exercise. I must boldly admit that exercise keeps my sex life on point too. I go beyond the limits to satisfy and enjoy the benefits of sex because of being in great physical and mental shape. The bottom line is that I want to live a long and independent life without mental and physical limitations for as long as I possibly can and exercise is the key for me.

Enough about my story. Let's find out what motivates several friends of mine. At the starting blocks of the relay team is a former business partner of mine.

Dr. Evan Thomas Hill.

I've always been an active person however, I took a 20-year break from regularly lifting weights from 19 to 39 years old (the left picture is me at 39 the picture on the right is me 6 months later). The main reason I reinstated lifting weights as a habit was for the future. I learned that without focusing on stimulating muscle growth the natural process of sarcopenia (age related muscle deterioration) would cause me to lose 1% a year of my muscle mass every year after the age of 35. That would leave me with nearly nothing left by 80 years old as I was already skinny! I had lost a lot of muscle mass of over the last 20 years due to stress and not taking care of myself while focusing on my career and three little kids. I wanted to reverse the inevitable path I was on, which I learned is possible by stimulating muscle growth.

The reason I continue lifting weights is for a lot more reasons than why I started. Now I love it. It makes me feel awesome, more confident, more relaxed, more productive, stronger and healthier. I enjoy the challenge of it and the tangible results because of my efforts, having gained 15lbs of muscle in just over a year. I also love the way I look more than I ever have. I love the challenge and strategy around optimizing my nutrition and recovery so I get the most out of short 20 minutes’ workouts compared to the hours in the gym I did in university. And for a touch of vanity, I love the snugness of my clothes around my shoulders, chest, upper legs and butt. Now I am proud to take my shirt off, whereas before I wasn't proud at all. It's all those reasons that I exercise. I don't think I'll ever stop now that I've found the formula that works for me. I love it.

The second leg of the relay team is one of my favorite couples who inspire me because they achieve a healthy life style together.

Dr. Matthew and Ayanna Smith

Working out consistently can be difficult and an arduous task. We garner enthusiasm to keep at it from our support systems such as friends and family. We encourage each other daily to achieve a healthy lifestyle by preparing and participating in 5K’s, 10K’s and on occasion, half marathons.

Working out together translates into being successful in every part of our lives. I am grateful to recognize that one of the best support systems at our disposals is the better half or should I say your spouse. We lean on each other from time to time as necessary especially when physically pushed to the limit.

I have found that this team support inspires and holds you accountable to drive your relationship and increases self-empowerment. Our relationships are built off so many different strands of support but at times we don’t tap into them because of our fear of failure or getting into bad routines. The best way to break out of negative dynamics is be led by your positive support systems and then return the favor.

The third leg carrying the baton is a good friend of mine and Spelman College sister

Alison Ashe-Card Esq.

Biologically, women are the nurturers. From a very young age, I was immersed in taking care of everyone else needs. It was for this reason why I decided to become an attorney because I wanted to help others. Despite being the "go-to" person with my family, friends, and colleagues I suddenly realized that I neglected taking care of myself.

The reality was evident during my 25th college reunion. I was disconnected from friends that I went to school with and I almost felt like a stranger! Not only did I miss out on years of friendship bonding, but I was not proud of my physical appearance either. How could I have neglected taking care of myself? I wish I had done a better job in maintaining a better balance.

Shortly after the class reunion, I made a commitment to take my life back by focusing on me first. I had to realize that self-care was not selfish, but necessary for my own survival.

My plan was two-fold. First, to reestablish relationships with friends and the next step was to get back in shape through exercise and better nutrition.

I made a commitment to exercise 5 days a week at 5:30 AM. I have never been a morning person, but I knew this was the only way that I could work out consistently. I had tried working out routinely before for stress relief and always got out of my routine when I missed a few days because of other obligations. This time was different because I committed to a lifestyle change for a new life.

I combined exercising with better eating habits and drank at least 64 ounces of water daily. I knew that if I put in the work and effort, the weight loss would come and it has. I am not where I want to be, but I have come a long way. I am truly grateful for family and friends who have supported me along the way. The journey continues…

Rounding the corner and bringing it home to the finish line is my chapter brother of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Shafton Fraley

What motivates Shafton Fraley to continue exercise regiments on daily basis? "Well, the simplest answer would be to have good health as I get older but there is a competitive side that wants to be GREAT at endurance sports. Now that I know there are others in my age group 45-49 that are still excelling & performing at high levels at this age,

I'm happy to say that they help motivate me to keep trying to get better each day. The competition, comradery, and the friends that I make along the way through exercise & races give me a piece of mind away from the busy world we live in...

The sum up!

Well, there you have it. People from all walks of life who are willing and motivated to achieve a healthy lifestyle. They are no different than you and me except that they made the decision to change and executed a plan to become extraordinary. Not convinced? Well my next article will include more testimonials from others to help lead you from being ordinary to becoming extraordinary. You are not by yourself. I am with you every step of the way so let's journey!

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My Journey of Discovery
and Weight Loss

A year ago, I decided it’s time to change my lifestyle. This meant taking control of my life and making important decisions..

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