BFT “Life Changer” – Cristin Wood

Black Fitness Today is proud to present a new feature called “Life Changers,” spotlighting African-Americans who have made a commitment to improving the lives of others through health and fitness.

This month’s “Life Changers” spotlight features Zumba instructor Cristin Wood. The Shaker Heights, Ohio native currently living in Norfolk, Virginia talked to us about her personal health and fitness journey, and what inspired her to become an instructor.

Q. When did you start getting serious about your health?
A. In October 2010 I started training for my first half marathon with a group called Team In Training. We help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by training for endurance events.  After each run, I would post my mileage on Facebook and Twitter. The feedback I received was amazing! People I didn’t even know told me that I inspire them. When others started taking my fitness journey seriously, I was forced to do so as well.

Q. Tell us about your journey to becoming a Zumba Instructor and what you enjoy most about it.
A. My journey is a little different than most. I didn’t like Zumba and couldn’t understand what all of the hype was about.  I have a dance background so when I watch other people dance, I’m a tough critic. It seemed that the instructors of every class I went to had NO rhythm and that drove me CRAZY! In April of 2011, I was in San Diego for work, and my friend convinced me to try Zumba at her gym and it finally clicked. The instructor had so much energy and I felt like I was at a party!  From that moment, I knew I could be an instructor too.

I love having the opportunity to inspire my students in each class while doing something I enjoy! Additionally, I have a Zumba box that is filled with quotes, scriptures and inspirational messages.  At the end of class, students come and take a card that is made to nourish them mentally after being challenged physically. 

Q. What is your current workout routine?
A. This sounds like a lot more than it is – but I am finishing my 4th week of Insanity, running three times a week to train for a half marathon and teaching Zumba 1-2 times a week. I’ve lost 30 pounds so far and have 15 more to go.

Q. What does health and fitness mean to you?
A. To me, health and fitness is a journey to become your best self. No matter how smart you are or what legacy you want to leave, you can’t accomplish anything if you have poor health. When I exercise and eat right I sleep better, have more energy, think more clearly, am more productive more likely to challenge myself in other areas. As I become stronger physically, I’m doing the same mentally and becoming an all around better person.

Q. Where can people attend your class?
A. I am currently teaching on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. at:
Cardio Studio
5127 Witchduck Court Suite 102
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

In September, I will be adding additional classes. Feel free to visit my website at


Are you a “Life Changer” or know someone who is? Submit your information to be featured on our website! 

We are looking for individuals or groups working in the health and wellness field (i.e. – medical professionals, coaches, fitness instructors, nutritionists, etc.) who are dedicated to improving the lives others and have a unique story to share. 

Email with individual or group’s name and description. We will respond with additional information. Look forward to sharing your story! 

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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