Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and reality star of R&B Divas, Syleena Johnson is continuing to make her mark in the music industry as one of the best vocalists of our generation. But now, she is also looking to make her mark in a different industry – fitness. Black Fitness Today had the pleasure of chatting with Syleena about her career and fitness journey, which has included dealing with past issues with body image, bouncing back after gaining 75 pounds from her last pregnancy to now training for a 200-mile marathon relay, and why she wants to inspire other women to take control of their health!
BFT: It looks like everything is coming full circle for you, in terms of mind, body and soul. You’re an advocate for health and are making an impact on others, and you recently appeared on Iyanla: Fix My Life to bring your family together and improve your emotional well-being. Would you agree with that?
SJ: Absolutely. I’m working on a book that chronicles my life and my journey and just more about who I am. I’m always a singer first and songwriter, but that wasn’t my first love. My first love was basketball. I wanted to be a basketball player but they didn’t have the WNBA when I was playing. I was a three-sport athlete. I also taught step and floor aerobics in college, so fitness has always been a major part of my life.
BFT: We read that you’re pursuing a degree in nutrition science? How’s that going?
SJ: Yes, I’m only five classes away from a college degree in nutrition science. I took a break to start R&B Divas because I didn’t want to jeopardize my grade point average; I was getting straight A’s I don’t get B’s! And, the classes were challenging because I’m a senior in college.
BFT: What sparked your interest in learning more about nutrition?
SJ: I got into nutrition when I met my husband, who at the time was a professional basketball player and was experiencing a yo-yo effect with my diet. So I met this dietitian who I fell in love with named Julie Burns with SportFuel out of Chicago, and she’s nutritionist for the Chicago Bears, White Sox and the Blackhawks. She introduced me to organics and the importance of proper nutrition and I just learned so much and lost a whole lot of weight.
BFT: Tell us about your workout DVD Mommy’s Got Soul
SJ: So Mommy’s Got Soul is a DVD that’s geared towards women of all walks of life, in all sizes and includes both modified and advanced moves for each workout. There’s no equipment required and I wanted to do it that way because I want moms at home to give it a try and eliminate excuses. There is strength training, cardio, and a yoga segment at the end. So yeah, I’m excited about it! It’s infused with soul music that I created. It’s often very expensive to get clearance to use songs to work out to, but since I’m a recording artist, I can use my own music!