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Mental health in the Black community has been a taboo topic for far too long. Unfortunately, the topic often only re-surfaces upon news of a celebrity in distress or worse. Kid Cudi recently announced that he checked himself into rehab for depression. It is commendable that he has made his commitment to get well public – According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African-Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population. But so often, we choose to suffer in silence.

Rapper Joyner Lucas also reminds us that the battle of depression is often overlooked until it’s too late. “I’m Sorry” brilliantly takes listeners on a ride through the minds and perspectives of two men, one, Lucas’ late friend as he pens a goodbye letter to family and friends and subsequently takes his own life; the other man is Lucas, who is left to deal with his friend’s death, presenting a verse filled with unanswered questions and raw emotion.

The sociopolitical climate of today and of the past serve as constant reminders that the Black experience experience tows a weight that the majority will never understand. Our experience is like a never-ending super-set – a mix of endurance and brute strength, a recipe for fatigue, muscle failure, over-training and injury. But with callused hands, we take a deep breath and grip barbells loaded with plates of constant strife and do another set; not yet having recovered from the last Black body lying in the street. So, we do what we’ve always done; we use what we have. We throw “stones,” hoping the giant of white supremacy will fall, but our stones often fall on impenetrable shields, making little if any visible impact. Aside from the one or two days a week when we visit our safe havens – the church, mosque, barbershop or hair salon – very few places will affirm that we matter.

Most gyms display signs that read something along the lines of “Spotter Required for Heavy Lifts.” We have to spot each other and be quick to help one another like at the gym when we see someone struggling to raise the barbell from their chest. We also have to accept that faith without works can only do so much. Sometimes an answer to our prayers is the plethora of mental health professionals that exist. And sometimes our faith in that “this too shall pass” requires effort on our part as individuals and as friends and family.

So when you see a friend going through troubling times or facing an uphill battle with depression or low self-esteem – it’s okay to get in their business and offer to spot them and ask if they need a lift off.

For more on how you or someone you know can access affordable or no-cost service check out  81 Awesome Mental Health Resources When You Can’t Afford a Therapist

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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#BlackGirlMagic on 2017 American Music Awards Red Carpet

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ciara, ama 2017, black fitness today

On the AMAs red carpet: Ciara

The mom of two said she gained 60 lbs during both of her pregnancies and had to work very hard to get back in shape. “I said I wasn’t going to gain 60lbs carrying Sienna…and I did exactly that!” she stated in an Instagram post.

Every postpartum journey is different, but you can’t help but be motivated by Cici! “After delivering my son, a 9-lb. 10-oz. baby, and gaining 60 lbs., I was committed to [returning] to how I felt before I had him. Four months after having him, I was back to my original shape,” she said. “There’s something very empowering about that. Something about that gave me an extra pep in my step, and motivated me even more to go harder.”

Photo: Getty Images

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On the AMAs red carpet: Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee on her body confidence with the Tracy Anderson Method workouts:
“…I have to say that Tracy Anderson’s workout the last five years has been really good for me. I love the studio atmosphere, I love how beautiful and sexy and long and strong I look when I work out, and I love the loud music.

I find that, as adults, we stay so regimented in our movement, even if we get on a treadmill. The music changes all the patterns, and my body gets to move freely, so you feel amazing—which is ultimately the point of the workouts, too. One of the things that’s most encouraging is you see a roomful of women working their asses off and looking beautiful. You see women in their 40s wearing jog bras and their stomachs out proudly, walking in a stance that says, “I love my body,” and that’s exciting to me.”
(via Health mag)

Photo: Getty Images

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On the AMAs red carpet: Kelly Rowland

Kelly on her morning routine: “The first thing I do is at least two or three minutes of meditation. I started doing that after I had my son. It has helped me tremendously. It just puts you in an easier mind space. There’s so much you have to deal with in one day, and I feel like meditation prepares you for anything that comes to you. You won’t flip your lid on the first thing that shakes you up a bit. It puts you at ease.

My favorite thing to eat in the morning is oatmeal. I add a little maple syrup, a little salt, and almond milk, and I’m set. Sometimes I’ll add cinnamon and some raisins and pumpkin seeds. I don’t need caffeine in the morning, but if I have to it’s usually through green tea.

I am a morning workout person. I don’t think I could really be as connected or focused in the afternoon if I didn’t do it… It’s definitely a HIIT workout, and I feel a lot better and more centered from doing it. Having my son really did a number on my body…”
(Via: Well + Good)

Photo: Getty Images

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Dancing ABS FULL Workout -Keaira LaShae

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Join me in this FUN DANCING ABS WORKOUT! 3 – 4 TIMES A WEEK FOR BEST RESULTS!
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Millionaire Hoy Leads Live Workout on Major TV Network

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