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Harlem Run Founder, Alison Mariella Désir – Find Meaning On the Run



Alison Mariella Désir, black fitness today, Harlem Run

Whether you see Alison Mariella Désir in action or through moments captured in photographs, one cannot but help understand why she is loved and admired. Her skill for igniting that “special something” in people through physical activity is infectious. Growing up, Alison’s parents used to say that she had powdered feet; she was always involved in multiple, often competing activities, had a penchant for travel, and was the life of the party.  This characteristic once troubled her parents who wondered if she’d ever just stay still long enough to catch her breath.  Over the past several years, Alison has channeled that energy into running and a deep commitment to improving her own health and fitness and inspiring others to do the same. Now, the Harlem Run founder is full steam ahead, managing a city running group that has garnered the attention of national publications and corporations.

What inspired you to create a running group in Harlem?

Harlem Run is the result of many lessons learned along my journey through depression. In January of 2012, a bad break up, my father’s worsening dementia, and limited job prospects led to me decide that I would sign up and train for my first marathon. I was feeling completely helpless and demoralized and had little faith in myself. I had no confidence or self esteem but, somehow, I had this idea that I could do the impossible and run a marathon. I committed to my training schedule in an almost devoutly religious way- I did not skip a single workout and valued my time running more than anything else in my life. As I moved through my training program, I found that I was doing things that I once dreamed were impossible and I was validating myself in the process. Even though I still did not feel good enough in many ways and found my father’s worsening health condition out of my own control, I could control my running and how I pushed my body. Running became moving therapy for me and I discovered my mantra – Find Meaning on the Run.

After completing my first marathon in May 2012 and raising over $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, I decided to start blogging about the lessons that I was learning along the way. I touched on a lot of self-help related topics and, what I would later learn, were key ideas in counseling psychology and sports psychology. As my blog following grew, I felt compelled to start putting my words into practice and wanted the opportunity to interact directly with the people who were reading my blog and feeling empowered by it. In November 2013, I started Harlem Run, at that point known as “Powdered Feet Run Club,” with the hope that it would be the tangible expression of all that I was blogging about and an opportunity to inspire and empower others to find meaning on the run.   That run club is now Harlem Run.

How has Harlem Run grown since its start?

I never imagined Harlem Run would become what it is today. If you ask anyone who is a member, Harlem Run truly is a family. Membership, by the way, is all inclusive- from the moment you show up, you are a member and part of the family. Harlem Run began with just me- showing up and running all by myself, pretending there were others with me — and it has grown to become a group of anywhere from 50-125 people on a given Monday night run. Over the past 22 months, I met several exceptional individuals, including 7 other people in particular who have become captains in the group and take on various volunteer roles, from leading different pace groups (from 7min miles down to a walking group), to organizing socials and events, to designing and creating new gear, etc. We also have some new and exciting partnerships with global brands that we are eager to announce, we will be featured in the November issue of Runner’s World Magazine — we have become a change agent!

Alison Mariella Désir, black fitness today, Harlem Run

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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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Cover Feature

Living Fit The Civil Way – How A Healthy Lifestyle Powers Karen Civil’s Success



karen civil
Photo credit: Noel Daganta

Karen Civil, Live Civil, Black Fitness Today

It’s another beautiful November day in Los Angeles, and it’s shoot day. Karen Civil is en route, and the team is preparing for her arrival. You can feel how the atmosphere changes when she walks into the studio. She brings an aura of confidence, yet calmness. Even while she’s ironing out details of her schedule for the rest of the week, she’s in lock step during shoot prep. Karen is like a chameleon who can rock many different looks and shine bright while doing it.

Everyone has their own method of preparation for photo shoots. We can imagine that in being a cover girl for a fitness mag, she wanted to be ready. But, her lifestyle, work ethic, and commitment to maintaining good health and a solid physique proved to be a perfect return on investment on shoot day.

The Elizabeth, New Jersey native now residing in Los Angeles is one of the best digital strategists in the game.  Even if you still don’t know who she is by now, you probably know her work and have seen her footprint. Check some of her most notable receipts:

Remember when Weezy went to prison? Karen was responsible for the creation of his fan site, that kept his fans connected and brand intact during his incarceration. This was crucial because it was before social media gave us all direct access to our favorite celebs and entertainers.

You know all those Beats by Dre ads with notable athletes and entertainers wearing the headphones while getting a glimpse into their journeys? She spearheaded that campaign.

The booming success of mainstream artists like YG, Nipsey Hussle and Dave East and more, link back to her, as she has elevated these artists into formidable brands.

One of Karen’s platforms,, which kicked off in 2008, has been unique in the hip-hop industry because it is credited with introducing now global superstars to the world before anyone else including Drake, J. Cole, and Nicki Minaj.

Karen and her team launched the LiveCivil playground in Haiti, the place of her roots, to create a safe place for children to be able to play and express themselves.

Karen Civil is not only holding her own in a male-dominated industry, but is setting the path that women — and men — want to follow.

What enables Karen Civil to be the powerhouse that she is goes beyond her knowledge, experience, and connections. It is often said that our health is our greatest wealth. How can we live out our fullest potential if we aren’t healthy enough to do it? This is an idea that Karen takes very seriously; it gives her balance and a solid foundation.

Self-care has enabled her to successfully fight her battle with anemia, and maintain not only a solid body, but a solid mental state – something so crucial in the industry she dominates each and every day.

Flip to the next page to read our interview with Karen to find out what fitness means to her, why she felt it was best to let go of her vegan lifestyle, what keeps her grounded, and advice she has on brand-building.

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@iamnayfit – 5 Tips to Make Your #BodyGoals A Reality and Getting Results In 28-Day Challenge




What is the #Ri28 challenge?

The 28 day challenge was made when we put together all of the elements needed to lower your body fat percentage quickly and efficiently.  The combination of reducing carb intake and increase activity on a daily basis is key to fat loss.

What can people expect over 28 days?

Clients can look forward to a no stress program. No gym membership is needed , no gym equipment is required. All you need is $39 and a device to watch the workout on.

Who is the #Ri28 challenge for?

This challenge is for anyone who wants to tighten and tone. This a great way to spice up your normal cardio routine with high intensity interval training.

Why should people join the challenge?Anyone wanting for feel better and look their best should join the #Ri28 family. 2017 is coming to an end and it’s time for bring in the new year feeling and looking  like the best version of YOU!

What are your Five Tips to Make #BodyGoals A Reality?

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Elise Neal – Fit Over 50 Interview – Black Fitness Today Exclusive



elise neal, black fitness today

Watch our exclusive interview with multi-talented actress, dancer and gym lover Elise Neal! Get the full cover story and find out about Elise’s newest role in Wolverine 3 (Logan) and more about the Elise Neal Body Boot Camp on
Keep up with us!
Twitter: @EliseNeal
Instagram: @therealneale
Snapchat: EliseWorldWide

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Karen Civil, Live Civil, Black Fitness Today





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