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#FitCouple Gari and Nicole Scott



fit couple, charlotte, family, fitness, marriage

Gari and Nicole Scott of Charlotte, NC, are going through the journey of life as a fit couple. Gari, a former collegiate and NFL drafted athlete, and wife Nicole, are both personal trainers at the couples’ in-home training studio they call the “body shop,” Get to know more about the couple and how love, family and fitness shape their lives! 

How did you meet and end up becoming Mr. & Mrs. Scott?

My wife [Nicole] and I were introduced through mutual friends. She was living in North Carolina and I was living in Virginia. Prior to physically meeting we took part in a 40-day devotional called Purpose Driven Life. We read a chapter a day and agreed to meet in person on the 40th day. On day 40, I flew to Charlotte, NC where I met my now wife, her entire family and friends. We knew instantly that we were meant to be together and married just a few short weeks later!

Tell us about your personal training and what services you provide.

I have been a fitness trainer for nearly 10 years. In addition to providing physical education and support to my clients, I also provide mentorship to a number of young children and adults. I would describe my style as a healthy balance of creative, fun and challenging. I like to focus on a holistic style of training where my clients develop not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

What are your training methods?

For starters, I like to build a solid foundation when it comes to correct form and technique. I like to educate my clients in helping them to understand why they do certain exercises/movements and how it can benefit them and the goals they are trying to achieve.

As a former college and professional football player, how have those experiences shaped the way you train?

As a former three-sport athlete (basketball, football and track), I am able to pull from all of my own training experiences in addition to my certifications and continuing education, to provide a number of training options that will suite each individual client’s specific needs. As a former Division-1 and NFL drafted player, my experience has equipped me with the understanding of what it takes not only physically to reach a goal, but the mental and emotional demands as well. I have learned that if you want something bad enough, you have to have the discipline to do something daily to work towards that goal. This applies to any goal in life!


You share tons of videos on social media training your clients as well as training yourselves. What are some of the advantages/disadvantages of a training in a home gym? Do you train anywhere else?

I love sharing what I do with my clients on social media. For my clients, it has become a daily journal for them to not only track their progress but it is also rewarding to see themselves progress over time, seeing themselves do things they didn’t believe they were ever capable of. I have also found that by sharing videos of myself and clients via social media, it helps to encourage and inspire others to become active and physically fit themselves.

I love training from home. Outside of the convenience of my work space being in my home, I am my own boss, I have no overhead, I set my rates and benefit 100% from each paid session. Although I started in a traditional gym setting, for which I am grateful for that experience, I love being in control of my own work space and income. One of the biggest benefits for me being my own boss is that I make my own schedule which allows me to be available for my family when needed.

The only slight disadvantage is that unlike a traditional gym where clients are already coming to the gym, you have to hustle to get your own clients. You have to be your own billboard. I am very conscientious of conducting myself in an extremely professional manner because each session is a reflection of me and my work. The overall success of my business is based on client referrals. I believe referrals are the greatest compliment!

What are each of your favorite healthy meals and indulgences you can’t live without?

Overall we eat healthy meals as a family. We like to teach our children the importance of being balanced, so we try not to be too fanatical. My wife was a Vegan for almost three years and easts mostly that way now occasionally having meat every now and then. I like to eat clean, with lots of lean protein, vegetables and complex carbs. My favorite healthy indulgence in my wife’s chocolate smoothie! She blends frozen bananas, peanut butter, hemp seeds and chocolate almond milk. It almost tastes too good to be healthy!

What are some of your favorite things to do and/or places to go on date nights?

My wife and I have a lot of common interests and as long as were together we always have fun! We enjoy going to the movies, traveling, being outside with the kids and also playing cards. We have even been known to spend our date nights in the gym!

How have your health journeys strengthened your bond?

When my wife and I met, she was into running but not weight lifting. I introduced her to resistance training and the rest is history lol! She has now become my favorite workout partner. Encouraging and supporting each other helps to develop a special bond, trust and intimacy that is healthy for any marriage. We have definitely found a common passion in fitness.


As active parents, what impact has your dedication to fitness had on your children?

Aside from the aesthetics of being physically fit, we both agree that our overall goal for being active is to be healthy examples to our children, to live long healthy lives and to avoid many complications that come from a sedentary lifestyle as one ages.

Our children see us being physically active as individuals, as a couple and as a family. Setting this example for them has encouraged them to see fitness and exercise as something that’s fun and a part of living a healthy balanced life instead of a chore.



Where can people find out more about you?

My Instagram is GSCOTT8685 and my wife’s is FITWITHNIK.

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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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



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 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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What is Irradiation and How Can It Maximize Your Lifts?

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



A couple weeks ago I attended the Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) seminar, which focuses on training mobility. The course was a solid reminder and in some cases a perception-altering experience about human anatomy, physiology and functional movement. I’ll break down some of the components, theories and principles of FRC at a later time but for now, I want to focus on tension, a key principle in the FRC system. However, for the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on how tension can increase general strength and performance.

How can tension take your lifts next level?

Tension – not to be confused with the general bodybuilding idea of “time under tension,” which usually is referring to keep a prime mover under tension, such as the pectoral during bench press. Irradiation is rather the isometric contraction of the non-prime movers and the prime mover along with the necessary contraction to produce movement or not; it depends on the situation.

Tension is a common word for “irradiation,” is often overlooked during training. Irradiation comes from Sherrington’s Law of Irradiation which states:

A muscle working hard recruits the neighboring muscles, and if they are already part of the action, it amplifies their strength. The neural impulses emitted by the contracting muscle reach other muscles and ‘turn them on’ just as an electric current starts a motor.”

Simply put, the more motor units recruited to produce movement or reduce movement, the better neural activation to help you control the weight or load.

Example: Think about a time when you had to push a car or lift a heavy object.

How did you prepare for the push or pull of the car or whatever that heavy object was?

Did you only concentrate on using your legs (prime mover)?

Or did you create tension throughout multiple muscle groups, possibly every muscle group (irradiation)?

More than likely you used irradiation. Why? Because your primal instinct kicked in and you realized to move that car or heavy object, it would take a lot of effort (neural drive) and you called on your central nervous system to recruit all the potential strength you possessed to apply maximal force.

Incorporate irradiation in your training

If done properly, irradiation can yield some quick gains to your lifts and increase strength simply by increasing neural muscular efficiency – the ability for the central nervous system to recruit the muscle required for your desired movement when called upon. The greater efficiency you have in recruiting motor units to produce movement or resist movement, the greater your force production or strength/power application will be.

How to perform irradiation

It seems easy but easy is not simple and simple is not easy. With that said, create tension throughout the entire body. For example, if you’re performing standing biceps curls, you create an isometric contraction throughout your entire body; feet (ground contact), quads, glutes, abdominal complex, forearms, scapulae retracted and of course tension and controlled movement in/with the biceps.

Although the primary focus in the above example is to perform a biceps curl, the irradiation effort thorough out the body is also training the nervous system to produce activation in all muscle groups more efficiently.


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How To Do The Barbell Hip Thrust…



Are you struggling to build bigger glutes?

Check out my video to learn about the 4 cues you must use with the barbell hip thrust in order to perform them with excellent form and maximize your gains.

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