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

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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, wendyida.com  or send her an email at info@wendyida.com. 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.

Podcast

Episode 5: The REAL Bow – Dr. Rainbow Barris

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

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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.

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Podcast

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.

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Interviews

CrossFit Inc Global Branding Manager Talks with Black Fitness Today Ahead of Manion-WOD to Honor Fallen Hero

Ilen Bell, MS, CSCS, Co-Founder of Black Fitness Today

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Manion WOD events will be occurring at CrossFit gyms across the United States on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Times vary by location. Proceeds from each event will go towards TMF veteran initiatives such as TMF veteran expeditions, veteran-empowerment programs, and scholarships.

 

On April 29th, CrossFit gyms across the country will recognize the sacrifice of 1stLT Travis Manion and complete the Manion-Workout of the Day (WOD) to benefit Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) veteran initiatives such as TMF veteran expeditions, veteran-empowerment programs, and scholarships.

Read our interview with CrossFit Global Branding Manager, Jimi Letchford, and TMF President and Sister of Travis Manion, Ryan Manion.

Who was 1stLT Travis Manion?

Ryan: Travis was my best friend, and younger brother by 15 months. Even though I was the older sibling, I looked up to Travis in many ways because he always set the example. Travis was a high character person even from a young age, and when he saw something wrong, he would stand up. He was an all-league standout in wrestling, football and lacrosse, a member of five championship teams, and an All-American wrestler. Travis was best known as a motivating and popular figure to his classmates. This combination of leadership, athleticism, and academic achievement opened the door to his appointment to the United States Naval Academy.

After graduating from USNA, he decided to follow in our father’s footsteps and was awarded a commission into the United States Marine Corps. After finishing at the top of his class at The Basic School in Quantico, VA, Travis was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force, with whom he deployed to Iraq for his first tour of duty. On April 29, 2007 during his second tour of duty in Iraq Travis, his fellow Marines and Iraqi Army counterparts were ambushed. Leading the counterattack against the enemy forces, Travis was fatally wounded by an enemy sniper while aiding and drawing fire away from his wounded teammates. Travis Manion paid the ultimate sacrifice that day, but his selfless actions allowed every member of his patrol to survive.

 

How does CrossFit serve as a vehicle for honoring heroes like 1stLT Travis Manion, who paid the ultimate sacrifice?

Jimi: Every day, millions of people engage in CrossFit workouts around the world. Our Workouts of the Day (aka WODs) are constantly varied, (relatively) high intensity, functional movement challenges that are intended to elicit physical and mental responses like no other workout regimen. The CrossFit program may not be for everyone, but it is for anyone.

Our Hero WODs are a different breed. They’re intended to take you to your limit. It’s up to the athlete to decide whether they’ll push past this limit. During this process, we honor the Hero(es) in which the workout was named. The men and women we honor through these WODs have amazing stories of character and bravery, and knowing about their legacy pushes us to go even further than we thought possible.

CrossFit has closely aligned its core values with that of the military. Why might CrossFit be something veterans want to give a try?

Jimi: CrossFit has a very tight-knit community, and a great sense of camaraderie among participants. When veterans join a CrossFit gym, they often find that camaraderie very similar to what they experience while in service to our Country. The idea that you belong to something bigger than yourself can often be lost while transitioning out of the military to civilian life. Like the military, there’s also a competitive nature to CrossFit. That friendly competition is something many veterans continue to look for in the next chapter of their life, and CrossFit is a great way to fill that void.

“If Not Me, Then Who…” is a question that has come to shape 1stLT Manion’s legacy. How is TMF and CrossFit answering this question?

Ryan: “If Not Me, Then Who…” isn’t actually a question, it’s a mantra that Travis lived by every day, and we’re inspiring future generations to put that mantra into action within their own lives. Just before Travis left for his second deployment to Iraq, he attended a football game with my husband Dave, and while they were leaving the stadium, Dave said to Travis “How about I push you down the steps so you break your ankle, and you won’t have to go back?” Travis looked at Dave very serious, and simply replied “If Not Me, Then Who…” He went on to explain that if he didn’t go back, someone less prepared would have to go in his place. This is the way Travis approached everything in his life, even from an early age. Those words have grown into a national movement that is inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to be of service to their own communities, and to be part of something bigger than themselves.  

Jimi: Travis was as true a friend as you could ever find. He always looked out for others, and often times would even thank me for pushing him to work harder. He was also a fierce competitor, and would never cut corners. His mantra of “If Not Me, Then Who…” really does represent how selfless Travis was. To me, Travis is representative of all the other Heroes that our Nation, and CrossFit community, have lost. So, I’d like to tell anyone that will be honoring Travis (or whoever else they’ll be honoring this weekend) to do so with the utmost integrity to the workout standards. Remember that those we honor through our Hero WODs paid the ultimate sacrifice in their line of duty. It is now our duty to never forget them. “If Not Me, Then Who…”

How does CrossFit motivate its members to collectively complete intense WODs sometimes named in honor of fallen military and first responders whom the members have no personal connection?

Jimi: The people that walk into our CrossFit boxes are people that recognize that only hard work will achieve health and wellness. CrossFitters don’t believe that there is a ‘magic pill’ for fitness. It turns out that this psychographic also tends to be very altruistic and humble. As a CrossFit community, all we have to do is tell the story of the fallen Hero, how it may relate to the workout, and the rest just happens. For example, the “Manion” Hero WOD is extremely leg intensive. We know from our relationship with Travis that he always had the strongest legs of anyone on our team. So, Travis’ workout consists of a 400 meter run and 29 back squats (135lbs), done over 7 rounds. The numbers are somewhat poetic; Travis was killed 4/29/07.

Manion WOD events will be occurring at CrossFit gyms across the United States on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Times vary by location. Proceeds from each event will go towards TMF veteran initiatives such as TMF veteran expeditions, veteran-empowerment programs, and scholarships.

How can people exemplify Travis’ character and sacrifice beyond the four walls of a CrossFit box where many join together once a year to complete a WOD honoring Travis’ legacy?

Ryan: Get involved in your own community. Look for your passion and a purpose, and wake up with determination to make a difference in the world every day, no matter how small. Live by “If Not Me, Then Who…” and look for those opportunities that present themselves each and every day that you can be the best version of yourself, and take advantage of them.

What communities does TMF serve?

Ryan: We currently have offices in 8 cities across the country, which include: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington D.C. However our impact and opportunities for involvement are nationwide.

How does the Travis Manion Foundation ensure that children of fallen heroes are not left behind?

We work closely with families of the fallen, and specifically organize service expeditions for survivors. These expeditions allow family members of fallen military to spend time with others who can relate to their journey, while providing them an opportunity to carry on their loved one’s legacy by being of service to a community in need. We host 8-10 domestic or international expedition each year, and one such expedition is specifically for teens who have lost a parent or sibling in service to our country. These young adults learn that while their loved one may be gone, they can honor their memory and carry on their legacy through the actions they take each and every day.

Where can people find information on joining or volunteering with TMF?

Ryan: Anyone can join the mission by visiting travismanion.org. We have volunteer and engagement opportunities throughout the year, which includes our Operation Legacy service projects and the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series.

What do you want people to know most about Travis?

Ryan: Travis always challenged himself to be the best person he could, and he did that by focusing on being big in the little things. Because of that, he was prepared when bigger challenges arose. The legacy that Travis left behind, and for that matter all our fallen heroes, is one that we all have a responsibility to carry on. The way that we do that is by look towards the character they lived with, and challenging ourselves to think about how we can be the best version of ourselves – because “If Not Me, Then Who…”

 

 

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