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Bikram, Crossfit and More, Tips from a Black Exercise Junkie

Bikram, Crossfit and More, Tips from a Black Exercise Junkie
MBL Editors

Bikram, Crossfit and More, Tips from a Black Exercise Junkie

By KaShawn Archer

As we linger in the beginning of 2014 and look ahead to warmer spring weather weight loss resolutions are still in full swing. We have beach body goals and health objectives we want to meet before our next yearly check-up. Many of us have been hitting the gym to ensure that we don’t fall short of these aims. But for some exercise has simply become a way of life. With the popularity of large exercise programs like Pilates and Zumba increasing, there is a form of exercising for everyone and most exercise junkies have attempted it all. Bikram and Crossfit are amongst the more popular ones. It’s just about figuring out what works for you.

Candace Darby is a Graduate student and Atlanta transplant who has turned working out into an intricate part of her lifestyle by exercising at least five days a week and sometimes every day. She began consistently working out in 2012 after her Grandmother passed away. “My grandmother was extremely active and I watched her health completely change in 2 months. Seeing that motivated me to get the most out of life and get into shape like she always wanted me to.” Candace has shed over forty pounds and views her exercise obsession as more of a lifestyle change. She uses exercise to boost her mood, explore her new city of residence, and meet new people. The workouts she suggests for women of color are surprisingly simple. “I think lifting weights would surprise most women on how it can enhance their curves. I’d suggest totally body workouts. 1000 sit-ups and squats will definitely help but won’t get you in your best shape.” When discussing exercise programs and classes she admitted she isn’t a fan of most styles of yoga but Bikram is the one exception.

Candace Darby

Bikram is a type of yoga that includes a sequence of postures that take place in a room with heightened temperatures. Sort of like yoga class in a sauna.  “The temperature puts people off initially but the heat really helps you feel loose and limber. There’s also a refreshing feeling after.” Bikram is offered at most Yoga studios so it shouldn’t be hard to find.

If you’re into something a little more physically challenging then Crossfit might be for you. Crossfit is high in intensity and centers on a wide-range of practical activities performed using highly concentrated strength. You’re likely to test your endurance all while in the atmosphere of a team effort. “Crossfit is really an amazing program. It’s a community more than just a gym. What I find unique and most endearing is that it really pushes you to do your personal best. I’ve met the most petite and sweet women, and then I see them in Crossfit and they’re doing muscle-ups and carrying huge barbells like its nothing.” You can easily find a Crossfit gym using the maps locator on their official website.

Candace Darby2

Exercise junkies don’t always have time to hit the gym but that doesn’t stop them from fitting in a good workout.  “They’re so many things you can do indoors. Running stairs, triceps dips on your table, etc. A few DVD’s that I personally love are “Black Girls Workout too” and “Insanity”.  They’re both different levels of intensity but great workouts.” Browsing YouTube and simply searching “Home workout” are great alternatives as well.

If you’re on the fence about getting into fitness Candace is extremely encouraging. For her the benefits have moved far beyond physical fitness. Candace gives exercise credit for making her more responsible, improving her time management skills, and boosting her self-esteem. She’s no longer in search of a specific number on the scale and plans to run a 10k this year. What’s her advice for the average woman thinking about getting into exercising? “Don’t wait! Every day you put it off is a day away from your goal. There’s no downside to working out and being healthy.”