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

Blowout Magic: How I Create & Maintain My Blowout With An Active Lifestyle

Let me just say I was the at home hair guru in college. My friends and quad mates would come to me for say a rod set, rinse, dye, doobies, etc. I was one of the first to grab the $25 Gold n’ Hot hooded dryer from Northwood Plaza (my Morgan heads know about this). With that being said, it’s not easy for me to let my hair get crazy. I’m somewhat of a hair perfectionist and even the whole big chop and natural move was a STRUGGLE for me! I have found ways to manage it though. I use a few tried and true steps and products for my blowouts.

1. I use Pantene Pro Relaxed and Natural Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve been using this since it came out back in 2004. It cleans my hair thoroughly and gives me the moisture I need to get a nice, silky press when I touch the iron to this head!

2. I finger comb my hair into four sections and then I carefully brush through each section using the off white Goody brush with the pink grip. I never use the wig brushes because they have those little bulbs on the tips that will rip your hair clean out of your scalp whether you’re careful or not. I begin brushing at the ends then I make my way to the root.

3. I twist each section into a big Celie plat until I’m ready to blow it out.

4. I carefully blow my hair out.  Do not blow your hair bone dry! It should have a hint of soft moisture to it still. If its rough and brittle, you blew it too much!

5. After I’ve blown out each section, I begin to flat iron in thin, horizontal, linear sections beginning at the nape of my neck working my way to the crown. Flat ironing and sometimes even blowing your hair out in this way gives your hair a better lay as opposed to flat ironing in misshapen chunks.

6. I usually pin curl the front and sides of my hair to lock in the shape of my curls. It’s a Maryland thing I learned when I was down there. I never quite shook the pin curl out of my system.

Tips: You get a sleeker flat iron when your hair still has a tad bit of moisture to it. I use a small spray/spritzer with olive oil in it to add moisture to sections that have dried completely (learned this is at the Dominican spot). I have used an anti-reversion serum prior to my big chop, but I’ve shied away from them because I intend to wear my hair naturally most of the time so I don’t want to discourage my curls from returning.

Maintaining my blowout is difficult. Here’s what I do to make it last more than just a few days:

1. I keep my hair tied back as well as possible during my workouts. I use hair ties, pins and sometimes even a headband to keep my follicles taut, stopping them from coiling when the moisture hits.

2. I wrap my hair at night–every night. I use a silk scarf and I make sure its tight and covers all the hair on my head.

3. I shower with a double cap. I will admit that one of these caps is a grocery bag. I use it for added protection against the moisture. Additionally, I keep my showers short when my hair is straight. I feel this goes without saying but hey, some people need to be told to save some hot water. Lol.

Of course, our hair isn’t going to look magazine perfect all the time. Thus, I reserve the right to retouch my edges only for special occasions. Don’t get in the habit of flat ironing every little imperfection because when it’s time to go back curly, your curls might not reappear! I hope these steps and tips are helpful for you guys. What additional tips would you add to maintaining a beautiful blowout amidst a sweaty workout schedule?

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.

5 Gems for New Mentors Looking to Make an Impact

1. Step outside of your comfort zone. I’m pretty shy when first meeting someone but this doesn’t mean I don’t have gems to offer my mentee. The only thing though, is that my mentee is the same way. We were both acting very reserved in our first couple of meet-ups and I had to take the first step toward breaking down that barrier. If you know me, you know I am far from reserved when I’m in good company. I found that we have way more in common than just our shyness but it took me opening up to get her to revel herself to me. This type of relationship is unique because it exists solely for her betterment. I had to remember this and be open to the process.

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2. Talk the talk and walk the walk. It’s one thing to tell your mentee to do well in school, always put your best effort forward, try new things, etc. But it’s another thing to show them these things. I could advise my mentee on things like education and spirituality but it wasn’t until I demonstrated examples of these things that she really began to take on the meaning and apply them to her life.

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3. Be interested. Simply showing up is just not enough. You have to ask questions and be engaged in their stories. What looks like a molehill to you might look like a mountain to them. Regardless, listen actively and reply (if necessary) and mindfully. Most of their stories won’t even need a response, they just require an ear, a caring one.

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4. Mentoring keeps you young. I hadn’t been in touch with my teenage self since 2004 and I have to say, I had forgotten many of my lofty aspirations. In learning about my mentee, I re-learned some things about myself. The innocence of youth affords us a clean and optimistic outlook on life, love and relationships and although we may be adults, this innocence can easily rub off on us when encountered frequently and intimately enough. I’m often quoted as saying “The fountain of youth is in the gym.” But it is also in our interactions with young people.

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5. Never, ever, has any relationship been perfect. Even in a thoroughly mapped out, scheduled and prompted dialogue between child and adult, there will be a few snags. People are all uniquely designed by their experiences and I learn this truth more and more as I mature. Even the advantage of age and influence has its limits and you must learn to meet them where they are.

Are you a mentor? What additional gems would you share with an aspiring mentor? Drop your thoughts below!

Wedding Season: My Sister’s Big Day + My Routine For Sculpted Arms & Shoulders!

Feminine yet sculpted arms are so essential for me during the summertime. I’m always in something sleeveless, strapless or when I’m feeling more free-spirited, I might throw on a tube top. My arms are naturally thin but that doesn’t mean they’re naturally toned. I include exercises in my routine that are sure to keep my arms from wiggling when I hit my “nae nae” at the reception.

This week’s challenge included burpees and walk-outs which both help with upper body strength. In addition to those exercises, I do dips, big arm circles, bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep press downs and inclined push-ups. I’m working on my chest definition but my results have been scarce because, well…there’s not much there to begin with. Lol. The bench press is a fairly new component to my routine as I formerly used the seated chest press machine. I’ve found the dumbbell chest press to be the more effective exercise. I can actually feel the muscles working and it puts less of a strain on my joints than the seated chest press. Here’s the rep/weight breakdown:
Big arm circles 3 x 100
Shoulder press 3 x 10 – 15 lbs
Triceps press down 3 x 10 – 70 lbs
Inclined push-ups 3 x 10
Dips 3 x 10
10 lbs Bicep curls 3 x 10
Dumbbell chest press 3 x 10 – 12 lbs

By the way, I got quite a few compliments on my arms at the wedding. I was definitely feelin’ maself! Check some more wedding pics below!

Progress Report: JUNKFIT’s Seven Day Challenge Days 3 & 4

So, let me begin by telling you guys about my affirmation of the week! I was on the leg press getting my bikini thighs when these two women came up to me asking what my gym routine was. It was adorable because they were dressed in really cute gym attire so I could tell they were invested ( yes, that’s part of how I assess gym readiness). Lol, so anyway they said they liked my body and had watched me do my leg routine (posted below). Then they asked what they should do as beginners. So you know I went into a two minute core testimony about how they have to start with the basics. I got so hyped to be talking to them and helping them that I totally forgot to tell them about JUNKFIT and the challenge. Tsss.

My workout today was a bit much. I did the challenge and added:

inclined push-ups 3×20

back extensions 3×20

27.5 lbs seated row 3×10

45 lbs squats 3×10

45 lbs dead lifts 3×10

30 lateral jumps 3×10

walking lunges 3×12

pulsing jump squats 3×20

70 lbs leg curls 3×10

70 lbs leg extensions 3×10

bicep curls 3×10

arm circles 3×100

bench dips 3×10

I hope you guys are enjoying the challenge. I’d like to know what other interactive things you’d like to see on JUNKFIT. I’ll be posting a poll over the weekend to get your input.

For tomorrow’s workout:

walk outs 3×12

burpees 3×12

leg raises 3×12

plank 3x:40

mountain climbers 3x:40

side plank 3x:40/side

xo,

Jazz

The “F” Is For Fun: Enjoying Your Workouts

There’s a certain level of preparedness that must go into a successful lifestyle change. Meaning, you gotta first wrap your mind around it. Transitioning from bad habits to good ones takes times and careful investigation. I know for me, it was all about classes and learning opportunities. I guess without even knowing it, I was trying to find physical activities that I actually enjoyed. Ironically enough, this is a real thing! The contemplation/preparation period is the mental work that goes into beginning an exercise habit. Anyway, I found my way into several free mau thai classes throughout New York City. I was pivot kicking and elbowing like a pro by my 5th class. I LOVED it! It took me back to the days when my father used to plant me in front of a mirror and coach me on how to throw a punch, tucking my thumbs and keeping my fists covering my face. I fake thought I was a G. But let me not digress. I enjoyed knocking the air out of the bag and kicking the pad. It was exhilarating. That’s when I got my first real dose of endorphins. ‘What’s the big deal about endorphins’, you ask?

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In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.

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Chile, boo. If that’s not reason enough, I don’t know what is. You owe it to yourself to find physical activities that you love! I’ve done some of the work for you and brainstormed a list of some cool specialty activities that may get your juices flowing:
Aquatic Classes (swimming) – I know, I tried it. Lol.
Pilates – all my mocha lattes
Dodgeball /Kickball– for your kid within
Stepping – seriously, join a team and watch the sweat drip
Pole Dancing – get your life for your man!
Pick Up Sports – think college intramurals
Karate – chop, chop
Mau Thai – the art of eight limbs
Thai Kwon Do – so much chopping here
Zumba – afro latin fusion
African Dance – learn the original twerk
Hip Hop Dance – learn the new twerk
Walking Clubs – a lil walk n’ talk never hurt nobody
Running Clubs – get your “runner’s high”
Hot Yoga – Mrs. Incredible
Or if you want one on one attention, I offer affordable packages. Ladies, there are so many ways to get into this whole exercise thing. Start today and set a goal of finding at least two activities that work for you.  😉
Xo,
Jazz