Here’s Why Biometric Screening Is So Crucial To Your Life…

So I’ve been fiending to get a biometric screening for a while. It’s been about 5 years since I’ve gotten one and I wanted to know how I was doing now that some time has passed. Luckily for me, Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem hosted a free  Health and Wellness Town Hall Meeting in conjunction with 100 Black Men, Inc. The screenings offered were blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, hemogloben, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, HIV, hepatitus C and I got a 1-on-1 on site sit down with a physician who, might I add, said I scored way better than him in all categories.

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A+ readings!

Some of you may be wondering “What is a biometric screening?”. Simply put, they’re a series of tests that provide information on present or future medical problems. In other words, these screenings tell you if you need to get your act together before something becomes un-fixable in your body!

Understanding You Screening Results (click to enlarge)

Biometric_Screening_junkfit1 CaptureMy interests were mostly staked in my blood glucose and cholesterol levels which I had good reason to believe might’ve been compromised because of my eating habits prior to becoming health conscious. To my surprise, both my blood glucose and cholesterol levels were in a very good range. For those of you who don’t know how these screenings impact us, Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. The cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that occurs in all parts of our bodies naturally. However, when there is an excess of it via unhealthy fats, it can cause heart disease.  These screenings allow us to know when we’re on the brink of severe damage while there’s still time to reverse it.

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*Systolic: heart pumping out *Diastolic: heart filling up

Just like having too much sodium or cholesterol can lead to hypertension or heart disease, having too much glucose (sugar) in your blood can lead to diabetes, which is the 7th deadliest disease in the US. I often snack on sugary foods and I have since I was a kid.  It wasn’t until my early twenties when my sister began having diabetic complications that I began to scale the sugar back. It has been an uphill climb as I believe I suffered from sugar addiction (a real thing). That lifestyle change is probably the reason I am not pre-diabetic. Whew!

There are so many small steps you can take that will lead you away from chronic disease destruction:

  1. Engage in 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
  2. Limit your intake of trans and saturated fats.
  3. Watch your sugar intake.
  4. Reduce the amount of salt you cook with.
  5. Sanitize machinery before and after use in the gym.
  6. Make vegetables half of every meal you eat.
  7. Use protection during sex.

There’s soooo many ways! They say the real primary care is SELF CARE. YOU are your FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE against disease, NOT your doctor or your bae. Take responsibility for your health starting today.

The amazing panelists included Dr. Bert M. Peterson, JR. MD, FACS, the leading breast cancer surgeon in America, Kevin Shippy, Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association of Greater NY and Georgina Osorio, MD, Attending Physician for the Division of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai, St. Luke’s and Roosevelt hospitals just to name a few because I’m too lazy to type the entire pamphlet. Lol.

I encourage you all to seek out biometric screening if you haven’t already. In lots of cases, these screenings are the difference between life and death. Drag your family with you. They will thank you for it.

xo,

Jazz

Try These 3 Basic Exercises to Whip Your Guns Into Shape!

For us women, building our upper body strength is super difficult. It seems like no matter what we do, we can never sculpt and build the strength to match our male counterparts. While we may have a different genetic make-up, we are quite capable of seeing the same results with hard work! Here are some exercises you can do to build up your upper body strength and look good in your tank tops this summer.

1. The pull up: Start with a goal of maybe 2 or 3 consecutive pull ups and do 3 sets. Week after week, set your goals higher. The pull up is an essential exercise to build both arm and back strength and definition. Take a close look at my face. I am STRUGGLING. Lol. My goal is to complete 10 in a row by the end of the summer. Can you imagine me pulling up right alongside the boys! I can’t wait!

junkfit_pullup2. The dip: I always tell you guys to do this and this is on repeat because it works! You can find a bench or chair in your house and get these in while you’re watching tv or listening to music. Do them on the edge of your bed or on a sturdy crate. These will hit your triceps and take care of that annoying under arm wiggle. If a dip with fully extended legs is too hard, start with your legs at a 90 degree angle and gradually work your feet out.

junkfit913. The push-up: This is targeting your chest and arms. I know for most of us push-ups are our worst nightmare. If the flat push-up is too difficult for you right now, start with the incline and work your way down to the floor. That’s what I’m doing. If the incline is still difficult, do wall push-us.

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The key to all of these exercises is starting them. They say when you find something that is particularly difficult for you, you should do it a lot until it becomes easy.

That’s my quick tip of the day!

xo,
Jazz

Your Fitness Journey: Success Begins Where Comparison Ends

Do you know that I do what most fitness professionals would consider an intense leg workout, EVERY TIME I hit the gym? That’s about 5 times per week that I’m lunging around the world, frog leaping, leg pressing, squating, dead lifting, sprinting, jogging, stepping, pedaling, tippy-toeing and leg curling. Whew! It sounds like a lot but I’ve actually gotten accustomed to the process. I knew that legs were MY weak spot.

When I first began working out, my primary focus was my bottom half. I seemed to always gain weight in that area. To add insult to injury, it was all wiggly. Yes, I was what people call skinny-fat. I was thin however my butt and thighs and sometimes my calves were super soft and I had even been called chicken legs. I thought if I hit the gym daily, I could get my legs to look like something. I researched different exercises and tried some pretty intense routines. Day in and day out, I would BLAST my legs and while I have seen results, it isn’t nearly what I thought I could accomplish. While I still have time to progress, I’ve learned one thing about fitness. EVERYONE’S RESULTS WILL BE DIFFERENT!

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Do you know I visited body building websites and saw what they call an ‘intense’ leg workout and I’m like ‘hmmm’ sounds like my regular routine. I bust my ass in the gym EVERY SINGLE TIME and my legs are still small and could use some more definition. But that doesn’t mean I’m not giving it all I’ve got and I am still encouraged to keep at it and do my very best. I say all this to say, you are you, by the grace of God. That means your body, your mind, your experiences and all of that! Don’t stumble and trip on a comparison because there’s only one you. Be the best YOU. Some people will lose fat faster than you. Others will build muscle quicker. You might not be able to lift as much as the next person but don’t let that hinder you from trying! You won’t be the fastest, you won’t be the strongest, hell, you won’t be the smartest or prettiest but you’ll be YOUR fastest, strongest, smartest and prettiest. Put YOUR best foot forward. There’s so much POWER in claiming what is YOURS!

When you begin to compare your results, one of two things can happen. You can either get super discouraged and quit OR you can allow others’ successes to encourage you.

The choice is yours.

xo,

Jazz

Home, Sweet Home|A Sisterly Workout at Rochester Institute of Technology

I made a random trip home this weekend for some personal reflection and to support my sister during a rough patch. Whenever I’m home, I always head to RIT’s Gordon Field House. Its fully equipped with an Olympic sized pool, a whirlpool/mini water park, tennis courts, basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tracks, dance studios and of course a fitness facility. It’s my dad’s alma mater so he’s there all the time and I’ve grown quite accustomed to the luxuries (I call them luxuries) available at this place. So much so that even when the field house isn’t open, I still go to the outdoor track there as opposed to the one around the corner from my house.

This time I dragged my sister with me. First of all we spent an hour getting her a nice little workout fit from the mall which I didn’t complain about because I know it helps to have on a nice fit especially if your just beginning to workout. That confidence booster can make a big difference. Anyway, I’ve been desperately trying to convince my sister, Sasha to get in better shape. It’s great that I’m in shape and plan to live a long, healthy life, but I often worry about those I love and their health. I figured if I can at least get Sasha to the track, I will have won a small battle and checked off step one in getting her to an active lifestyle.

We started with a lap around the track with lateral arm raises. Our second lap consisted of frog leaps, lunges and lateral run intervals. I then took to the bleachers and did three rounds with some dips and inclined push-ups. This was a very light workout for me but I am very proud of my sister for trying her hand at this whole fitness thing.

I am the youngest of five. With that being said, I’m normally the one who’s being reckless, aloof and sometimes just plain wrapped up in myself. It felt great to be there for my eldest sister in her time of need and to motivate my other sister in becoming healthier. They actually helped me forget about my little troubles and focus on things more important.

Glutes On Fire: I Discovered Cassey Ho’s “Blogilates” Today!

Hey Y’all!

Just a quick chek-in! I haven’t been posting as much this week because I’ve been trying to get my life together! I missed the gym yesterday and I would’ve missed it today but I didn’t want to lose my progress. Today I found great booty workouts with Cassey on Blogilates. When I say these workouts were good, I mean they were REALLY GOOD. My booty was burning within the first minute. I added them with some pulsing sumo squats (30 x 5) and walking lunges 10 x 10. I don’t know about you guys but I really loathe working out at home. I normally start out great but then I’m distracted by either a notification on my phone or the TV. Cassey is super cute and her chatter really helped me forget about the pain and my at home distractions. Check it out below.

 Workout I

Workout II


Isn’t she the cutest little thing? I really like her personality! Let me know if you try these!

xo,

Jazz

Mind + Body: Getting My Life The Way Mother Nature Intended!

You may or may not have noticed that I’m always in somebody’s park, running my fingertips through flower petals and snapping pics of thee most mundane, garden-variety happenings in nature. I’ve always been an outdoorsy type of girl. I just always loved the great outdoors. My childhood consisted of dirt hill bike rides, tire swings, tree climbing and an assortment of “fast-ass” hand games and sing-alongs. Lol. All of which took place outside. If my parents wanted to punish me, the first thing that went was my outdoor privileges. Ugh, it was absolutely devastating for me. During these trying times, I would take my cabbage patch dolls to the front porch and watch from a distance as my neighborhood friends zipped up and down the street. It was agony. As an adult, I still love nothing more than to be outdoors either alone or with a like-minded bunch.

A typical Bronx commute. Captured by yours truly.

A typical Bronx commute. Captured by yours truly.

As a resident of the boogie-down Bronx, I have a special appreciation for anything that doesn’t involve train packing, arguments, the scent of urine and dirty diapers. Sorry to anybody from the Bronx, but that is my experience on every single train ride. This past weekend, I managed to escape the bustle of the big city and spend time with my girl, mother nature.

Saturday’s workout was bomb thanks to my boo. We went to a local outdoor track and he put me on to frog jumps, which I had always avoided because my coordination wasn’t “on the level” (Chrissy Lampkin voice). But y’all! When I say my hips and thighs were burning!? It was exactly what I needed and the soreness still hasn’t gone away. DOMS to the max! It felt great because I’m always looking for ways to turn up my workouts. Here’s the entire routine:

50 jumping jacks
Frog jumps 50 meters
Sprint 50 meters
Walking lunges 50 meters
Backpedal 50 meters
Plank progressions :30/:59/1:30
15 burpees
:30 run in place
*Repeat 3x

Nature workouts are perfect for me not just because of the scenery but because during the spring and summer I do NOT want to be inside. Nobody does! I found myself skipping the gym so many times when I first began working out just because I wanted to be outdoors frolicking and doing hoodrat things with my friends. Finally, I wised up and combined the two. It started with Central Park workouts, then I graduated to bike rides and then I just grabbed a margarita from Blockheads and took it with me to my workouts. I’m not recommending this, I’m just saying. It was much easier for me to adhere to my workout schedule when I learned ways to get it in outdoors and have fun with it!

What’s your favorite outdoor activity and how can you combine it with your workouts? Drop you stories below!

NYC Nutrition Educators Network: Promoting Active Lifestyles In The City

Thank goodness for coffee and my genuine interest in this topic because last night was super late for me and this morning was super early. But, I made it to the conference at Hunter College and enjoyed every minute of it. We were discussing the ever pressing issue of obesity and ways to work physical activity into our architecture and city planning. Sweet, right!? I took special interest in Sarah Wolf, a panelist with the Active Design Tool Kit for School.

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Their approach includes changes in public policy, similar to the ones passed in the 1920’s mandating windows and bathrooms in apartment buildings. Did you know that it was actually a thing to use the bathroom down the block? I would die a slow and crappy death. Seriously, lots of people died of illnesses because of these factors. The introduction of the two policies alone decreased mortality rates in NYC by 27 percent! While those days are behind us, we are facing a different threat to public health and possibly more devastating—obesity. Fortunately, we are on the cusp of some new and exciting policy changes that could impact obesity rates over time.
There are policies on the table that would raise the juice consumption age from 8 months to 2 years old. There’s another that limits the amount of sedentary activities in childcare facilities. There are policy discussions over whether or not open door lock magnets should be placed on stairwell doors. How would well-lit and easily located stair wells, cleaner sidewalks, slow zones, pedestrian charging areas, bike shares and storage impact the physical activity of a New Yorker? I can think of plenty of ways! Take the congestion on the sidewalks. There are already a-gazillion people on the streets of New York. We don’t need to dodge poop, and trash in addition to all the people! What about biking? When I bike, I go all the way to Central Park to rent one for the day. If I had storage in my building, I could get my own bike and have a place to keep it. On average, we gain 1 pound a year as we age. Just 15 minutes of daily cycling can burn an average of 10 lbs per year! Each hour per day spent in a car increases our chances of obesity by 6 percent. Did your jaw drop? Mine did too.

These stats are the reason why I choose the steps over the elevator. Sometimes it’s better to walk somewhere than to drive. These small activities add up. Their absences add up as well.
Did you enjoy this topic? Let me know below!
xo,
Jazz