Can’t Weight to Stay Fit

Health tips from local Pros


Ronald E. Hopkin, Image Makers Photography

Panel Members: (Left to right): Adrian Hall, Trevor Wells, Celestine Muhammad, Prisca Grant, and Richard Torrence.

Derrius Ivy, Reporter

Ronald E. Hopkins, Image Makers Photography
Torrence lead the group in an on-hand exercise routine.

Obesity is a medical issue that affects nearly 3 million people a year, according to the Mayo Clinic. Addressing obesity is a real challenge. While eating healthfully and working out sound simple, it can be frustrating and time consuming for some. Local Kansas City health professionals, trainers and educators came together to form a panel discussion centered around obesity, specifically childhood obesity, and to educate on fitness and overall health.

The annual event, hosted by the LEGACY foundation, was held at Kansas City’s Gregg/Klice Community Center and featured a juice bar, workout sessions and even a raffle. The goal this year, according to LEGACY Foundation’s Executive Director Johnathan Smith, was to educate on obesity while providing tips useful to all age ranges, budgets and lifestyles.

“We want to bring awareness to childhood obesity but it’s also geared toward health and wellness,” said Smith. “We’re giving them information on healthy living that includes how to shop: putting to rest the myth that it’s expensive to eat healthy.”

The panel included Adrian Hall, health specialist and owner of ELAHS Healthy Food Preparation; Trevor Wells, personal fitness trainer and owner of Dirty30 Bootcamp Fitness; Celestine Muhammad, certified yoga instructor and co-founder of A Peace of Yoga; Prisca Grant, certified personal trainer and fitness specialist at Cerner; and Richard Torrence, personal fitness trainer. There was also a nurse, Elizabeth Edwards, in the audience who pitched in too.

Panel members gave tips on being healthy whether you’re busy, on a budget or even just hungry.

1. Mo’ h20

It’s very important to drink plenty of water. Muhammad gave an alternative to those copious ounces we’re supposed to drink. There might be some truth to the ‘apple a day’ cliché.

“Water is so important. A lot of times, we think were hungry when were really thirsty. There was a study done on apples; three apples a day which help with thirst and appetite. If I eat an apple, I’m not more likely to eat a doughnut right after,” Muhammad said.

2. Switch It up

Changing up your workout routine can help you better define the muscles, according to Torrence, who said: “To give muscles the definition you’re looking for, male or female, change up the routines to shock the muscles. You want give your muscles time to heal back up and form.”

3. Chef Boy-Ar-You

In this DIY era, making your own food can be healthier, safer and cheaper. Grant favors Chipotle and gives a quick alternative to those pricey burritos and bowls.

“Anything they sell out here you can make at home yourself. I love the Chipotle bowls. I make it at home now: chicken, spinach, cheese, salsa, rice and beans, and there’s your bowl. The benefit is you know what’s going in it,” Grant said.

4. Learn your Labels

Have you ever seen people studying the jars in the aisle of the grocery store or squinting at the label? You should become that person. Panel professionals all agree that you should avoid certain foods and read labels for what you do eat.

“Stop consuming chips, pop and processed foods,” said Wells.

Hall recommended cutting out a common favorite.  “Granola bars have so much sugar in them because they’re made with molasses.”, Hall said.

5. First Meal…For real

Despite all the new-millennium changes, one thing is still the same – breakfast is still the most important meal of the day.

“Eat breakfast because It helps you start your day. Breakfast, out of everything, should be your most important meal of the day because it gives you energy,” Hall said.

6. Prepare before Workouts

Most athletes and health enthusiasts know that you should never begin a workout without a warm up. Preparing the body with stretches or even jog can help avoid injury and strains.

“Warming up is very, very important. It’s never a good idea to jump into any exercise without getting the body warmed up. It’s like telling your body ‘I’m going to do something to you, and I hope you’re ready for it’,” Grant said.

7. Don’t Quit.

When you find your routine or process, stick to it. Don’t quit. Torrence mentions that the most common issue he sees with his clients is consistency.

“When you work out and put in all that work, you want to see the results. Most of the time you’ll see people go through that whole process, and they’ll stop. That’s the downfall. You have to make it a lifestyle for you, with healthy eating and being active,” Torrence said.

8. Keep Gut Healthy with Probiotics

We take medicines were advised by doctors to take without realizing the other effects it has on the body. Edwards informed the audience on antibiotics, probiotics and their benefits.

“Anything “anti” means to go against, and anything “pro” is to add. When we take antibiotics, we are depleting our body of not only the bad bacteria but the good bacteria as well. So, we want to add those good bacteria back into the body. That will help with digestive and some of those irritable bowel symptoms and gut symptoms we experience. I advise my patients to make sure you are supplementing with good, natural supplements. One should be probiotics every day.” 

9. Take Supplements

If you aren’t eating as much as you should, try a supplement. These supplements could include vitamins, powders, teas or bars.

“Be careful where you buy supplements. Make sure the supplier has something to lose. Never go to the dollar stores. Don’t drink anything or eat anything from the dollar store or the gas station. Cosco is one of the stores I will usually buy supplements and feel good about it because they do their due diligence in researching their supplier and the process they use to make sure those supplements are good,” Edwards said.

10. Move Whenever, Wherever

Personal trainers and fitness experts on the panel agreed that a gym is beneficial, but you can work out at home, regularly, and free of charge.

Grant said, “When you’re watching TV, get on the floor and lift your leg or hold on to the walls in your house and do pushups. You can even get behind a chair and do some dips.

“Go outside and walk or cut the grass. Get out and go walk or a slight jog. Just stay active. If you have stairs at home, go up and down for about five to seven minutes,” Torrence said.