Black Girls Workout, Too! {Part 1 of 3} – My Story

A few months back I came across a picture of Nicole Ari-Parker wearing the t-shirt above. I thought it was funny and so true that I had to have it. In the African-American community we often struggle with weight, being healthy and unlearning generations of bad food habits/choices. I personally and luckily have not had these struggles as an adult because I learned early on that healthy lifestyle choices really do make a difference later on in life. So, I bought that t-shirt, knowing it might offend some folks, but wanting to dispel the myth that black women do not workout and that we are not health conscious. Don’t believe me? Check out this site!

How I Started Running                                                                                   I have been running for a little over a year now and I LOVE IT. I found it by accident. Early last year I had some unplanned weight loss. I went from a “full” size 10 down to a 6 and sometimes a 4. While the weight loss was not my goal, I felt so much better about EVERYTHING: the way I looked, the way I felt, the way others responded to the “new” me, etc. that I decided it was time to make a lifestyle change, start running and taking my health more seriously.

Why I Run                                                                                                     While I initially started running to maintain my new weight and get healthy, I also started running because before I lost weight, I wasn’t at a good place in my life. Running provided me with an “escape”. For that moment, I didn’t have to think about what was going on in my life or be “present,” I could just lose myself in my thoughts and it was marvelous. I would allow my mind to wander and I always felt better afterwards.

I also run because it’s free to run outdoors.

My Usual Run                                                                                           While I do love to run, I am not a great runner nor do I run long distances. I usually run 2 miles followed by calisthenics at home (read about  calisthenics here) at least four days a week. My total workout is about 35 minutes long which is very feasible (for those of you who claim you don’t have time!!!). On the days that I don’t run, sometimes I’ll still do the calisthenics so that I burn some calories and get my heart rate up.

Do I Love Running and Working Out?                                                   No! During college and grad school I hit the gym regularly and I enjoyed it more because I was surrounded by others who kept me motivated. Running is different for me because I do it alone. Some days I would rather stay home and watch TV. But, once I’ve tied my sneakers and take my first stride, I’m glad I did. And, once I’m done I feel amazing.

I Ran a Race!                                                                                               Last year I actually ran in my very first race! It was so much fun. A college friend, Julissa, who is an ace runner and participates in races ALL the time, noticed my frequent facebook updates about running. She asked if I had ever considered running in a race. I thought that the only races were the NYC Marathon – a TWENTY SIX mile race through the five boroughs of NY – so I told her “no”. She introduced me to God’s Love We Deliver and I was sold. The Race to Deliver is a four mile run in Central Park the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

I registered a little late so I wasn’t sure if I would reach my donation goal, but I surpassed it by $85 and I was delighted. It was definitely hard and it took dedication, especially since I had to motivate myself every day. But, it was reasonable and realistic (for me), something I think people forget to be with when they start a new workout regimen (which is why a lot of people often quit).

Since my usual run is two miles, I had to train a little to build up my endurance. I also had to change the way I ate (we’ll talk about food in Part 3 of this Series). On the days leading up to the race, whenever I didn’t feel like running, I would take out my running shoes and MAKE myself do it. And, I always felt really good afterwards.

***I’m running again this year; definitely look out for an announcement!!!***

Do you run? If so, what has been your biggest struggle? How did you overcome it? If you don’t, what are you waiting for?

Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of this “Black Girls Exercise, Too” Series.


13 responses to “Black Girls Workout, Too! {Part 1 of 3} – My Story

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. I secretly want to be a runner, but I am very heavy and getting heavier and can’t even fathom running consistently enough to call myself a “runner”. It’s such a slow process to build up endurance or at least that is the excuse I tell myself. I want things to happen over night; I am a tad bit impatient LOL, but while I complain and make excuses my waist line is expanding. So I’ll start with walking and report back 🙂

    • Things will happen overnight, a few nights. And, that’s okay. Get started NOW! I’m typing this with sore abs and burning legs and it feels great. Please start today. Walking alone really does wonders.

  2. I just started walk/running myself. I am a big girl and am setting small goals weekly until I can physically do more! EVERY STEP COUNTS

  3. I absolutely love this post! I can’t wait to read the other post associated with this one. I love your blog and your writing style! Thank you for the encouragement to work out. I always use the excuse I don’t have time to work out. There is a quote that says those that don’t make time for their health will have to make time for illness.

  4. Grateful I came across your site. I am encouraged to do better – thanks!!!

  5. Yea! Really enjoyed this! I am not a runner either. My sister ran track and was on a state ranked relay team. I joined the track team under duress … I just didn’t do sports. I was the chubby, un-athletic one in my family. The summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I started working out (step aerobics and light weight training mostly) and lost the baby weight and freshman 15. But, I didn’t run. The summer between my junior and senior year of college, there were no good aerobic classes offered on campus. So, my friend, who is a runner, convinced me to go running with her. I LOATHED it! I mean, seriously. Loathed. I got the worse shin splints and always got a stitch in my side. Flash forward about 10-15 years later … I had done amateur body building, competed and placed in every contest I entered, could dead lift and squat 225 lbs … but I never ran. I had walked at 4.0 on inclines, did eliptical trainers, bikes, row machines, step masters … but still NO running! But, then, for some reason, at about 30 something, I decided to start doing some jogging with my walking. And, since then, I have started to like it. More, I like what it does for my body and I like how I feel when I get well-conditioned. Mind you, I fall in and out of condition far too often. But, I always work to get myself back in order. So, that’s where I am now. I’m in week 5 of the “Couch to a 5K” treadmill training regimen. I did it before (I think I stopped at week 8 though) and liked how it incorporates intervals and gradually builds endurance. So, yes, black girls do exercise. In fact, I went natural 13 years ago because I exercised so much. Straight hair and my work-out regimen didn’t mix.

    But yeah, love this post because we don’t have to be runners to run :).

    • WOW! This is so dope. I rarely meet other women who weight train, let alone dead lift and squaut. That’s amazing to me – I’m always the only girl weight training with the guys and I carry most of my strength in my legs so I’m a leg press beast. Congrats on the “Couch to a 5K”. I’m sure you’ll stick with it this time. And, even if you don’t, there’s always next time. Lol. I’m such a bad influence. Thank you for sharing! I enjoyed…

  6. I am 5’3 and weigh 253lbs i just got out a bad relationship that has scarred me mentallyi know that i have a weight problem but don`t have the motivation to do anything about it.Can someone who has gone throurg the same delima give me some feed back please,

    • Hi, Anita. I am so sorry to hear that you are not doing well. I think at a time like this the best thing for you to do is be selfish and focus solely on you. Do things that you enjoy and that might help with your mood. Once you start to feel like yourself again you have to start off small with walking and slight changes to your diet then eventually start running and cut out the foods you know are not good for you. I know it’s not much but I do hope that helped a little. Please take care of yourself.

  7. Pingback: Friday 5 Luvs: YOUR 5 Faves! |

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