Connect with us


Domestic Violence Survivor, Wendy Ida – “A time to mourn and a time to dance.”



wendy ida, black fitness today

Wendy Ida (pronounced ee’da) also known as “America’s #1 Expert on Looking Fit, Fierce & Fabulous after 40” is an internationally recognized Best Selling Author, Speaker, TV Host, Life Transformation Coach and Fitness Expert.

She is also a two-time Guinness World Record Holder and 8x award-winning National Fitness Champion.

You may have seen Wendy in dozens of appearances on TV or talk radio and other media such as Essence Magazine, CNN, Fox Sports Net, NBC, ABC, B.E.T., exercise videos and more.

Wendy is on a mission these days to transform and rebuild the lives of women (and men) around the world. Her mantra is: “It’s never too late to Take Back Your Life!                          

A Time to Tear Down

How did you go about tearing down the walls that domestic violence built?

Quite honestly…it was really hard. I will tell you this. It didn’t happen overnight. We are talking years. In fact, it has been quite a long process and remnants still remain. Initially I sought some help from family and other knowledgeable people for comfort and a sense of safety. I also did some soul searching with counselors and coaches in order to move forward and not repeat the same patterns or mistakes. In addition I went back to college to get my bachelors degree and I did some study & research on my own to understand the “why’s” of my past which all helped me to understand how to breakdown those walls. But this is an ongoing life long task for me. In essence the way I continue to breakdown those walls is by helping other women through similar crisis as mine – whether its abuse, health & fitness issues or simply if they want to Take Back Their Lives like I did. For me it is rewarding, therapeutic and important for the greater good.

A Time to Build Up

If you had to name the corner stone from which you’ve built your new life, what would you name it and why?

Hmmm…good question. No one has ever asked me that before. I have a good answer though and I have to tell you that this hits one of those sensitive cords that makes it rain on me – but in a good way. The first name that comes to mind for my corner stone is… Sylvia Sanders. That’s what I would name it. That’s my sister.

She was my second mom, confidante, life guide and happy pill all in one. She is the sole person who helped me out of deep do-do when I had no place to go. She opened her angel heart and provided a place not only for me to rebuild my life, and myself but also for my children, my other sisters, brother and their families all at the same time.

Although Sylvia has passed on, she will forever remain my greatest mentor. She has helped me rediscover the true meaning of life and how it should be lived. As a result I was able to reopen my heart again and meet my new love and husband today of 25 years.

A Time to Weep

If you could talk to Wendy of the past during the times she wept, what would you tell her?

This question makes me cry even now because it goes deep.

This has actually been a sore spot I had been struggling to overcome for years because there is still that vulnerable piece of me that visits me every now and again – mostly in my dreams or should I say nightmares. I confess up until just a few months ago I was constantly looking back and asking myself why did I let it happen or why did I live like that for so many years. Why? Why? Why? I would beat myself up with the whys. It took hearing some wise words from a psychologist that Oprah interviewed to help me see the light and get a little more resolve on these issues.

In several ways I have gone to that place in my spirit and soul and talked to that incredibly scared little girl, Wendy from my past. I say to her…this is NOT your fault…this is NOT what love looks like…don’t be afraid anymore …wipe away your tears and stand strong. Walk out that door NOW and don’t ever look back! You deserve more! In fact, you deserve the best and you can have the best as soon as you let go here!

I understand now what I didn’t understand then and therefore I forgive that part of me. She (Wendy) just didn’t know any better.

A Time to Laugh

What makes Wendy laugh?

I am so happy I found my happy you don’t even know. My list is long for the things that make me smile these days. But what is even more incredible is that I found my laughter again too! I had lost it for at least 13 years. I am talking about real belly laughs folks. Nothing like it! It’s medicine to my soul!

What gives me a real belly laugh is my husband, Art – when he does imitations of people, places or things. He’s a conservative guy but a comedian at heart. In fact, I had my first real belly laugh with him. On the other hand, I can get a little silly myself. I like acting out unexpected, chaotic pranks and things just to humor him or myself for that matter. I just feel energized and happy most times so I go wherever the feeling takes me with no inhibitions!

A Time to Mourn

What helped you get through your time of mourning?

I have to say I am a God-fearing woman and that was my first point of refuge and still is the root of my stable being. Otherwise, Family talks, counseling, involving myself in constructive activities, being around positive people and simply improving my health are largely responsible.

What I used to eat made me feel bad, had me on brain fog and exacerbated my fears and insecurities. Building my body up improved my confidence and increased not only my physical strength, but also my mental strength. A pleasant side affect was an 80-pound weight loss.

Let me emphasize that this was not an overnight process. It has taken me years for these things to unravel and mend itself, but it was worth it because on the other side of it all you can really enjoy and appreciate the sweet spot you find yourself in!

A Time to Dance

Wendy, show us what you’ve got!

Look out “Dancing with the Stars!” Dancing is one of those things listed high on my happy list.   At 63 I still just can’t stop moving!

Keep up with Wendy by visiting her website,  or send her an email at You can also follow Wendy on social media: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Reference: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

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.


Recap: 2018 Finding Ashley Stewart Event

Watch our recap of the 2018 Finding Ashley Stewart Finale Pink Carpet at the King’s Theater in Brooklyn, New York.



Photo: Finding Ashley Stewart

The 2nd annual Finding Ashley Stewart Contest searched around the U.S. in search of a diva who personifies Ashley Stewart and everything she stands for: kindness, resilience, confidence, community and fashion! In the video below, Finding Ashley Stewart host and comedian Loni Love, 2018 Miss Ashley Stewart winner Tiffany Gosa-Flamer, journalist and author Soledad O’Brien, DJ Kid Capri, actress Andrea Rachel-Parker, Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Peter Thomas, Essence Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor and Naughty by Nature all talk with BFT contributor Ryen Watkins about the importance of this competition and how Ashley Stewart is immersing themselves into the communities that support the brand.

Video: Ryen Watkins
@ryenwatkins (IG)

Keep up with Black Fitness Today on social media!
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Continue Reading


Episode 5: The REAL Bow – Dr. Rainbow Barris

On ‘Black-ish’ Success, Marriage, Motherhood and Living Healthy Her Way!



Rainbow Barris, Blackish, Kenya Barris, Rainbow Barris book, podcast

We had the great pleasure to chat with The REAL Bow – Dr. Rainbow Barris for episode 5! Click on the link in this article to listen! And, read on to see more info on your chance to enter to win a copy of her brand new book!

podcast, rainbow barris

In this episode, we get right into our interview with Dr. Rainbow Barris, who is the inspiration behind the character Rainbow Johnson on ABCs hit show ‘Black-ish’ and author of Keeping Up With the Johnson’s – Bow’s Guide to Black-ish Parenting. It’s hard enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle period – let alone as wife of director and writer Kenya Barris, being a medical doctor and raising six children! But Barris has found what works for her and wants to encourage other women balancing family and career to find what works uniquely for them! Plus, we talk about the show, Mr. & Mrs. Barris’ recent $1 million donation to Clark Atlanta University, and what life is like for her now. Don’t miss this!

Beginning Friday, June 29th – you’ll be able to enter to win a copy of Barris’ book! Stay tuned to our website, and Facebook and Instagram pages.

Continue Reading


Episode 4: Leah Uko – Journalist on Fox 11 Los Angeles + Bodybuilder

Los Angeles area native Leah Uko is back home working as a nightside reporter, as seen on Fox 11 Los Angeles. But she’s also a bodybuilder preparing to step on stage again this fall. Learn more about her journey, why she loves to bear arms on camera, and why discipline and journaling keep her motivated and determined to reach her goals.



leah uko, los angeles, fox 11

Continue Reading