Personal trainer spreading message of healthy living for black women

BY ZENITHA PRINCE, The Afro-American Newspaper

Crystal Adell defies the stereotype that black women do not consistently pursue a physical exercise discipline.

Now, the certified personal trainer is on a mission to further dismantle the stereotype and reverse the disproportionate statistical data regarding health and obesity among black women by advancing the message of healthy living.

“It is my personal mission to change obesity statistics globally by encouraging [women] towards a lifestyle that shapes a healthier world for us all,” she told the AFRO.

Adell has always been a health and fitness enthusiast. As a child, she was involved in gymnastics, dance and cheering.  She watched her mother practice workout routines as a part-time aerobics instructor and later competes as an amateur body builder in the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

“Eating healthy and living an active life was the norm in our household,” Adell said.

In 2009, Adell founded Black Women Do Workout, using social media as a virtual platform to offer fitness tips and serve as a place for women of color to learn diet and exercise tips and to discuss their body image issues.

Today, Black Women Do Workout boasts an online community numbering nearly 1 million followers who engage in unfiltered raw health news topics, culinary advice, national athletic events and real life before-and-after stories. The site has even attracted the attention of Olympic star Mary Lou Retton, Adell said.

“Women became inspired by my writing-style of positive messages and my creative use of motivational graphics which began a culture on the page of positive reinforcements, creating a sisterhood network in large numbers,” Adell said of the campaign’s popularity.

That popularity grew further as Adell formed partnership agreements with other fitness companies, allowing Black Women Do Workout to procure the much-needed national services of doctors, exercise/fitness clubs, health-inspired restaurants, nutritionists, and fitness trainers for its followers and customers. For example, Adell just signed on as creative director of Timbuk Fitness, which is promoting an alternative to Zumba that uses African dance moves.

Through her company, Adell also sponsors national health and fitness expos and other events.

“As a result of Black Women Do Workout, black women in particular around the world have taken a particular interest in a lifestyle change that include activities that are not only energetic and fun to engage in, but maximizes alternatives in exercise awareness,” Adell said. “Women who have never tried dance as a way of fitness, for instance, are now interested in group fitness exercises like Timbuk African Dance and Zumba…. Adventurous women who are curious about activities like biking, kayaking, boxing, or rock wall climbing now find themselves connecting to likeminded individuals looking for the same.”

Adell said her ultimate goal is to take her movement to a major television network.

“In my heart is the yearning to show the world that the best of what any woman can present to it, regardless to color or race, is her inner beauty and how she chooses to use it to turn things around for her,” she said. “I would like to showcase broadly a different side of beauty.”

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