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Transformation Story: James Patterson

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James Patterson, 53, of Chicago, Illinois, was obese, pre-hypertensive,  and on the verge of losing all control of his health. Today, he is a triathlete in the best shape of his life and continuing to become the best he can be. 

1. Who or what was your biggest inspiration in changing your life?
Originally, I was just inspired to be a little more fit. I wasn’t looking to make big changes or radically change my body. I was focused on doing a little aerobic exercise three or four days each week and maybe dropping a few pounds. I started taking medication for “pre-hypertension” which scared me a bit, but I didn’t have a great life-changing moment of inspiration. I started first with modest swimming, and a little running, and then discovered triathlon. Once I did my first tri, I was hooked and just started to get more into endurance sports – triathlons, marathons and other endurance races.

2. What is your diet like now compared to how it was in the past? Do you allow room for a cheat meal? If so, what is your favorite ‘cheat meal’? In some ways, my diet is very different than before and in other ways it doesn’t seem very different at all. I made gradual changes. I use common sense and moderation. I don’t eat a lot of fried foods. I eat more lean protein now, as well as more whole fruits and vegetables. I drink more water and avoid sugary sodas and fruit juice. I try to be more careful with my carbs – especially when I’m not training for a race and watch my consumption of bread, pasta and desserts. Since I often eat on the run, I’ve gotten smarter about eating fast food. I can go to McDonald’s and still not blow my diet. I have also educated myself more about eating by reading books like “Eat This, Not That.”

Despite all of that, I do cheat! Fortunately – or unfortunately – when I’m in the mood to indulge, the South Side of Chicago is full of places to get chicken wings and rib tips – my favorite.

3. What was your original fitness goal, compared to your goals today?
As I mentioned above, I was focused on doing a little aerobic exercise three or four days each week and maybe dropping a few pounds. Today, I’m working to be as fit as I can be. I love breaking the stereotype of what it means to be middle-aged. I do intend to push myself even more in 2013. I love endurance sports and as a triathlete, I’m planning on doing my first iron distance tri next year (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run).

4. How do you stay committed to your goals?
I embrace fitness as part of a lifestyle. It’s a journey, not a destination. One missed workout, bad race or cheat meal is not the end of the world. I also try to mix it up. In addition to endurance sports, I’ve tried fitness programs like p90x and Insanity. I try to keep it challenging and interesting.

5. How has your health improved since adding healthy eating and exercise to your life? Overall, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve gone from a size 44 pants to a size 33. My blood pressure is in check. My cholesterol is in check. My body fat percentage is probably as low as it has ever been.

6. What advice would you give to someone looking to improve his or her health and fitness but are afraid of failure? The only failure is not trying. You have nothing to lose, and your health to gain.

7. How can people contact you if they would like to ask you questions about your transformation? (Twitter, Facebook, Email)
They can send me a message on Facebook | www.facebook.com/james.patterson.773776


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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

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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 weezythanxyou.com, 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, karencivil.com, 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

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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

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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 blackfitnesstoday.com.
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