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

Photo credit: Noel Daganta



What was your motivating force for deciding to take your health to another level? What were your original goals and how they really evolved since then?

Fitness is a large portion of my day and my overall lifestyle. For a very long time I didn’t really incorporate it. But for me to stay sane and stay healthy, especially dealing with low iron and anemia, I just have to make sure that I’m getting the proper nutrition for my body. I’m taking my meds I’m drinking plenty of water. So yeah, it’s a large portion of my day.

A few years ago, I decided I just didn’t like the way I felt and looked. I decided I wanted to go vegan and I did it for close to two years. It was something I was proud of myself for doing. I did it for my own spiritual reasons because I wanted to fast from certain things. And anybody who knows me knows that I love French fries and they know that I love chicken. So, I wanted to fast from anything fried and anything that comes from an animal. 

I didn’t think I could do it. At first it was one week, then two, then went to a month and from there it went on to two years. So I was very proud of myself for the transition and change because of the things that I removed from my body. And it helped me move forward with understanding portion-controlled meals and what I should be eating, and not celebrating success with junk, or like, getting a new opportunity and saying, let me go have some ice cream, let me go have some french fries. I just I just wanted to abstain from that type of lifestyle.

Did you feel any pressure to stick to veganism once you felt that maybe it wasn’t the right fit for you anymore?

It definitely got to a place where people were like oh, you’re not really vegan because I’d have a leather coat on. I hadn’t yet made the whole [transition] but I wasn’t getting rid of every shoe and every purse I had that’s leather. Some people wanted me to take the next step, asking — what type of products are you using? Are those animal tested?  I’m like ok, this is a lot. I was trying my best, but I didn’t feel like it was so much negative backlash. I felt like PETA was very supportive. My friend Steph Floss who became vegan, was very supportive. My friend Jason Davis who’s a former football player, he’s also vegan and he was supportive. So I just feel like my friends and PETA were supportive about my change in my lifestyle. I used to be in different cities and I’d be [on Twitter] like hey where’s a restaurant and PETA would be the first one to respond on Twitter without me @ them.

Karen Civil, Black Fitness Today, Live Civil

How did your partnerships with brands like Ethika and Aquahydrate develop? Do you also see your brand further diversifying with more wellness-related brands?

With Ethika it was something that was organic and it just made sense. I’m a fan of their products and when I originally spoke to Malcolm who was the owner at the time, and then they had some transitions, it just made sense. It was just a fit. I love their clothes. I love their outfits –  it’s something that I wear around the house and run my errands in.

So it just made sense and especially going through my workout/health journey, and things that I was doing, they were very supportive of making sure that I had the proper garments and proper things. When you’re working out you’re like oh, I need to get new gym clothes and we start making all these excuses. They made sure that there were no excuses for me.

My biggest relationship more than anything are with Ethika and APL shoes. Both brothers [CEOs Adam and Ryan Goldston] have been supportive. When I run my marathons I run in their shoes. Everything I do, like my workouts, are in their shoes. They make sure that I’m equipped. They understand certain challenges I may face and they make sure that I have the proper shoe for it. So it’s really Ethika and APL who have been supportive throughout this whole transition.

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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

How Will “WillDaBeast” Adams Beasted His Way to Becoming One Of Dance’s Biggest Influencers



Willdabeast Adams

Will "WillDaBeast" Adams

He’s elevated dance. His style is highly sought-after. You’ve probably seen a viral video already showcasing his ridiculous choreography. Will “WilldaBeast” Adams is our Fall 2017 cover and we are excited to share the story of such a dope guy with you all! He’s leaving a mark on the industry that will make it tough for others to make any better.

Growing up as a military brat was difficult for Adams. Moving around often, and not feeling a sense of belonging left him questioning his purpose, as he knew he was meant for more. Once he found his love for dance, he took a leap of faith, trusted his talent, and moved to Los Angeles, to become a professional dancer to artists such as Usher, T-Pain, The Black Eyed Peas, working with TV series such as GLEE, X-Factor and more. He’d later go on to build his dance empire immaBEAST that has global impact. His annual conference BuildaBeast Experience 2017 going on now, is hosting over 1000 participants daily, representing countries all over the world.

The energy Adams’ choreography brings is so infectious, you may find yourself watching his YouTube channel for hours, or deciding to try some of his choreography yourself – be careful though – we’re not responsible for any pulled muscles or sore joints that may come from trying to move like that! The fitness level he showcases is one to be admired!

Dance as a career, or outlet, certainly has its long-term benefits. But even dance as a form of cardiovascular exercise, or stress-reliever, can improve our overall physical and mental health. Scientific studies show that dancing helps improve our core, overall coordination, fight symptoms of depression, and can even keep our brains from aging!

Adams’ chatted with us about how he stays in great shape, what sets him apart, and what empowers him to be a beast!

Willdabeast Adams

What was life like for you growing up?

Life was confusing for me growing up. I moved around a lot of places, because I was a military brat. I lived in Virginia, Florida and Indiana for 12 years. I learned to love all people, try new things and was super involved with sports, as well as arts. But I always felt out of place and that I was destined for something more.

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Cover Feature

Laura Govan – Finding New Strength and Power Through Fitness



Laura Govan, Black Fitness Today, fitness magazine, celebrity fitness

Laura Govan, Black Fitness Today, fitness magazine, celebrity fitness
She’s fierce, fly and fit! Not to mention down-to-earth and open to sharing her journey.  Mother, author, entrepreneur and actress Laura Govan is no stranger to the camera and having her life scrutinized for the world to see. But fitness has become a passion, an escape and a way of rebuilding for Govan, who has transformed her figure after giving birth to four children in a span of five-and-half years.

Unhealthy eating habits led her doctor to inform her she was at risk for developing diabetes. She decided enough was enough and she wanted to get her weight, her health, but her mindset back to where it needed to be.

Laura keeps her workouts fresh and unique, from training in the gym, to Yoga, to basketball skills and drills — she makes sure to keep from plateauing.

Hit the flip for all things Laura Govan and fitness + an interview you don’t want to miss!









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Cover Feature

Elise Neal is Fit, Fly and Fifty



Elise Neal, Black Fitness Today, Yandy, Summer, Swimwear

Elise Neal, Black Fitness TodayCaptivating is just one word to describe Elise Neal.

She commands attention when she walks in the room with a warm personality that draws you in. Even in a studio full of people and cameras, she controls the vibe.

This is what took place on a warm December day in Los Angeles, where we spent a day with Elise for a fun fitness shoot and time of conversation. What we learned about her – – she’s about her business, adaptable to change, confident in her skin, and she is passionate about fitness and helping others find their unique pathway to better health.

As a dancer since the age of six, the Memphis, Tennessee native enjoyed a fruitful career on Broadway before becoming the talented actress we know and love today. She’s always working hard and if you don’t keep up, you might miss out on something. She is defying age, defying the norm, and setting a new standard for beauty and strength!

Now, Elise is gearing up for the final installment in the Wolverine series — Logan — hitting theaters in March. Check out our exclusive behind the scenes video and interview to view a side of Elise you’ve never seen before. Plus, find out more about her upcoming projects and the kickoff of the Elise Body Boot Camp!

Flip the page for exclusive photos from our photoshoot with Elise Neal!

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Karen Civil, Live Civil, Black Fitness Today




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