There had to have been something in my eyes that said I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you lost 70 pounds of baby fat in just five months. Not with a body like that.
Look at those abs, that perfect butt, those arms that look like first lady Michelle Obama’s.
So, just like that, Meticia Jackson whips out her iPhone, click, click and there she is – very, very pregnant.
“My arms were huge,” Jackson said. “I had a pooch.”
Soon after birthing her daughter, Jackson could hardly wait to get back in shape.
She purchased the popular “Black Girls Work Out, Too” DVD and waited.
“It took three weeks to get it because it was on back order,” Jackson said.
In May, she found out about Gymnetics, the fitness center founded by Ellen Ector and her daughter Lana, the same mother-daughter duo that produced the DVD. “I didn’t get in until July.”
Not unlike Black Girls RUN, launched in 2009 to battle the bulge in the African American community, “Black Girls Work Out, Too” is a fitness movement.
“There are so many generalizations about black women and fitness,” said Ector, a former social worker turned personal trainer. “We don’t work out. We don’t support one another. We want to change that. That’s why we started this initiative.”
More than anything, they aim to encourage women — black women, in particular — to live healthier lives.
Here’s why: Statistically, black women are more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, and die from them, at young ages.
All those ailments are linked to obesity and lack of physical activity. About four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. And, according to a National Institutes of Health study, more than half of black girls report getting no physical activity at all by age 17, a potentially deadly habit.
As women began thinking about their New Year’s resolution, the Ectors hope more will consider making the lifestyle changes, not just losing weight but changing the way they live so that they are physically and emotionally healthier.
That shouldn’t be a problem in metro Atlanta, where there is a proliferation of fitness centers.
Just in the past few months, Orangetheory Fitness, a national fitness concept that provides motivational group training, expanded into metro Atlanta, opening shop in Midtown, Sandy Springs, Buckhead and East Cobb.
Moss Robertson, whose family operated the Boomershine automotive dealerships in Atlanta for more than 70 years, recently embarked on a new entrepreneurial journey in the fitness industry, debuting eight Exercise Coach locations in Atlanta. The first is scheduled to open in February in Buckhead and Johns Creek.
Losing weight remains the top resolution among people who make them. And yet statistics show that by the end of January, only 64 percent of resolvers are still hanging in there; six months later, that number drops to 44 percent.
Ector said the key to staying with your goal is to team up with someone who will hold you accountable.
For Jackson, that someone was Erika Weathers, a two-time breast cancer survivor who texts her every day to get up and get to Atlanta.
Weathers, 44, said a girlfriend told her about Gymnetics Fitness.
“Even though I was working out, I wasn’t getting the results I was looking for,” Weathers said. “I had hit a plateau.”
She joined Gymnetics in May.
“My whole being is totally different,” she said. “I feel lighter and it’s just great coming in and working out with a group of women. I’m so glad I found these ladies.”
Ector opened Gymnetics 2010, after years of dividing her time between her day job and her one true love, personal training.
It was a leap of faith, she said, that took root after a fashion photography studio her son Robert and daughter Leah opened took off.
“I thought if they can do it, so can I,” Ector said.
She and Lana first opened shop in a two-room loft above the studio and in October expanded to a strip mall off Howell Mill Road.
“We do five group classes a day,” Lana Ector said.
A typical workout, she said, includes a three-to-five minute warm-up; a kettle bell boxing routine for strength and cardio training and then kickboxing. Members also received a 30-day healthy eating plan each month.
Ector said her journey into fitness began soon after the last of her five children were born. She was 40 years old and weighed 200 pounds.
“I just didn’t like the way I looked,” she said. “I started running and lifting weights and, in nine months, I had the body I wanted.”
Soon thereafter, she was certified as a personal trainer.
The women who frequent Gymnetic classes, “We call them Gems,” Ellen Ector said. “They’re brilliant on the inside and shine on the outside.”
Tips to get healthy in 2014
- Start slow but be consistent
- Trade that large plate for a smaller one
- Work out 45 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days a week
- If you can’t afford a gym, start walking
- Enlist a friend to hold you accountable
Source: Ellen Ector, co-owner of Gymnetics