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I’ve always been a big person all of my life. I didn’t really follow any type of diet or have the knowledge about losing weight growing up as a kid. Being a kid and dealing with kids being certain ways, saying certain things and being treated badly because of my weight was very hard. I reached my heaviest weight in 2008 — weighing over 450lbs at 6’1, dealing with high blood pressure, risking the chance of diabetes and losing my life due to obesity. I started working out and lost a few pounds here and there but nothing drastic.

In April 2011, I decided to take it to the next level and started a program called ‘Insanity’ by Shaun T — I’m sure you heard of it, it’s a 60-day program with aggressive and high intensity interval workouts getting your heart and cardio up to the max. When I started this program it was very difficult for me to do some of the routines but after several weeks turned months, results started to show and I started to notice the changes in myself and became very satisfied and happy. I became so dedicated and determined that I would work out at least 7 days a week and it took me over a year to get down to a decent size.

I use to wear size 60 pants, 6x t-shirts and had to shop at big and tall stores — there was a point in time in my life when I was so heavy that I was literally breaking chairs, was unable to fit into certain places, didn’t feel comfortable going out and most of all I was unable to keep up with my kids and their high energy. Now, over a year-and-a-half later, I can officially say that I am weighing in at 247lbs at 6’1 with a clean bill of health, normal blood pressure and cholesterol. I don’t even remember EVER weighing 240lbs!! It feels good to go into any store and purchase clothing off the rack and be very confident in myself. Still to this day I do the Insanity program, along with new programs, for example T25, HipHopAbs and P90X – I’ve also became part of the Beachbody team, which promotes healthy living and motivation to eat right and live right. I was even invited to attend the Summit next year where I can actually meet all the trainers that put all these workouts on DVD’s – I’ll get to meet Shaun T (Insanity), Tony Horton (P90X) and many other major trainers!

Clarence Wells InsanityI also have created my own group called “Team Defining Your Life.” I am able to run marathon’s — 5k’s and 10k races and compete in certain events where my weight is not in my way. My next event I hope to start training for is the SPARTAN RACE. When I see family and friends and church members they ask me “how did you do it?” and “how can I get to where you are?” — someone told me that I am a walking success story, and it took me a moment to accept that, but it is true, my journey has been a long one, but far from over.

After coming down from weighing over 450lbs down to 247lbs, I have about 30 to 35lbs worth lot of extra loose skin located in my abdomen and chest area that I can’t get rid of — my primary doctor told me that NO matter what type of exercise or diet I continue to do, the loose skin will remain unless surgically removed.

Once my procedure is finished I want to become certified as a personal trainer and really reach out to people I know; my friends, church members, family and even young kids because they have it bad these days. Everywhere I go now people know who I am and see that I live a healthy lifestyle and want to be apart of that.

Become an NASM Certified Personal Trainer – Free 14-day CPT Trial. Start today!

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read my story, and if your able to donate towards my Abdminoplasty and male chest reconstructive/contouring, I really appreciate it, if you’re NOT in the position to, I totally understand and I still thank you for taking time out of your day to read this.

To learn more about Clarence’s surgical procedures and find out how you can donate, visit his GoFundMe page.

You can also find him on Facebook, email him at clarence.well.18@facebook.com or connect with him on Instagram @HIPJAZZ.

Do you want to share your health and fitness journey or know someone who does? Submit your story to be featured on our website!

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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Fitness + Health

James Edward of Atlanta, Georgia Is Down 130 Pounds!

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In roughly one year’s time, James, a professional background singer, has found a new voice in promoting healthy living. Today, he is more than 130 pounds lighter than he used to be. Showing no signs of slowing down, he is currently committed to staying active for at least 60 minutes every day for 60 days as a part of the #60for60 challenge.

Progress. I don’t think there will ever be a day where I will say “I have arrived.” I feel great. My eyes are more open now than ever before (mainly because I lost weight in my eyelids but that’s neither here nor there). 

Great job James!

Follow James’ journey on Instgram at @jedsings!

 

jedsings

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Heather S. Takes Fitness From “Hobby” To NPC Bikini Competitor

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Heather Sumpter

This month we had the opportunity to chat with NPC competitor Heather S. about her fitness journey from getting started to how her life has changed since taking on a healthier lifestyle. Read Heather’s inspiring interview to get the lessons she has learned along the way, tips on how you can not only start your journey but also stay on track and see how what was once “just a hobby” for Heather has now become a lifestyle! 

How would you describe your life before you began your health and fitness journey?

Life before my fitness journey was a normal college life. Although I majored in exercise science, I was not exactly 100% healthy. I would eat whatever I wanted, go out on the weekends and drink, and think I could exercise it away. I was never happy with my body and could not figure out how to fix it.

What led you to want to change your life?

I always read the fitness magazines and wanted to compete. After college, I wanted a hobby to occupy my new-found free time. Once I started researching about cleaning up your diet, I knew this would be a challenge but I was determined to try it. Everyone laughed at me when I told them I was going to try to compete because they knew me as the “foodie” who loved her happy hours. I was always trying some new diet and failed. This gave me more motivation to prove them wrong.

Heather Sumpter

How has your life changed since your transformation and journey?

It has given me a complete change for the better. I am healthier than ever and love the way I look. I have more energy and have not been sick since I have started this in 2011. I use my knowledge to inspire others. I no longer drink alcohol and feel better for it. I have found my purpose and live my life fulfilled because I am helping others change their habits through my example.

Have you experienced any difficulties on your journey and if so, how have you been able to overcome?

At first, my friends did not like or understand that I did not want to go out anymore. I felt pressure to drink and party like my old ways and sometimes felt left out but I knew if they were really my friends they would stick around. I would also get comments about how I was too skinny and how I did not eat (even though I eat 6-7 times a day). In the black community being ‘thick” is something that is praised and people seemed offended I did not want to be like that. I just realized that people will always criticize the unfamiliar and people eventually came around when they saw this was permanent.

Many people feel they are too busy or have too many obstacles as to why they can’t make a lifestyle change or live healthier? What excuse busters or advice do you have?

It’s important to be organized. If you have to make a schedule for yourself to make the time then do it. If you want something, you will find the time. Just like you find the time to go shopping or out with friends. 1 hour of exercise is only a small part of your day. Most of the time we spend Saturdays or Sundays relaxing and watching a movie; why not take that time and prep your food for the week, which saves you even more time to finish tasks during the busy week.

Keep your gym clothes in your car to remind yourself to go before or after work. A lot of black women give me the line “I’m not trying to lose my butt!” Curves are beautiful, and exercise makes them even better. In fact, I have more curves and booty than before. Don’t make excuses on why you can’t because there are so many reasons why you can.

Heather Sumpter

How do you keep your body in shape? What is your typical nutrition regimen?

I stay in shape by doing cardio consisting of running distance and sprint intervals. I also like to incorporate HIIT and plyometrics. As for resistance training, I lift weights five days a week working a different muscle group each day.

I prepare all my meals for the week on Saturday or Sunday. It is important to have a plan for becoming successful such as, I eat about 6 meals a day with a 40/30/30 split of protein, carbohydrates and fat. I eat mostly clean foods and stay away from sugar but I do allow myself to have one free meal a week.

What are your favorite indulgences?

I love peanut butter and chocolate covered almonds

What advice would you give to those who are looking to improve their health?

It’s not going to be easy at first. It will take time and you will have to make sacrifices. Be patient and don’t try to rush it. You will be thankful later.

How can people learn more about you and what you are up to?

You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

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Fitness + Health

Transformation Story – Cookie Miller

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@cookiemiller

A family history of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and breast cancer – Cookie was well on her way to much of the same as a prediabetic. Being made fun of and getting laughed at because of her size, did not stop her from improving her health and reaching her goals because she was determined to get the “last laugh.” She is now encouraging people to make the same decision that she did – simply put, she says “change your mind, change your life(style).”

@cookiemiller

For the not so nice girls who started at me in  disapproval when I walked into the gym: instead of staring, you should’ve smiled with encouragement because after all, I was doing something about it. To the guy who told me I looked like a “linebacker” during my senior year of high school. In the hallway! In front of everybody! I sincerely thank you – in fact, thank you all who have criticized or judged me for being obese. It is all thanks to you that I’ve been able to build the thick layer of skin that I have now. Thanks to you, I no longer concern myself with other peoples’ insignificant opinions of me; because of people like you, I am inspiring others; now, what is it that you do again?

Look guys, if you’re on a weight loss journey, my best advice to you is to worry about You! Disregard the criticism of others and NEVER give up! Build yourself a thick layer of skin and work [your hardest] because in the end, you get the last laugh.

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