by Robbie Jacksonno
In this post-pandemic world, we see the value of the “global health bill.” Any fitness expert (kind or not) will tell you that your health is your wealth, you are what you eat, and that it’s really what you do before you get sick.
For Black people specifically, health is more than a trend. It is an act of liberation and a literal change in the atmosphere that happens when our community decides to take control of their health.
On the flip side with resources like TikTok, YouTube, and Google there is almost too much information out there. The real issue becomes how you distinguish the solid data from the fluff; real from fake It could be said that having an expert in your corner is a luxury, a necessity to successfully navigate your health journey.
Which begs the question: does it not make sense? So I asked the owner of U3Fit, Lawanda Dickerson, a little about herself, her business and the role fitness experts can play in the Black community.
Robby: Let us begin with the past, work in the present, and finish with the future. Which ancestor in your tribe (family) member are you most like?
Lawanda: My great-grandfather, I mean, my great-grandfather, who was a pre-industrial leader of the Cherokee tribe from Arkansas, decided that he wanted his children to be registered with non-tribal names.
So he appointed himself and all his wives and children (20+) so that all their names would be changed to the hunter. He was a rebellious man, I have heard stories from many.
For me, it is in my nature to go against the norm and carve out new ways to promote our BIPOC community, to change the way we eat and take care of ourselves so that we can continue to transform our development as a people. We want to be better at health!
Robby: I can definitely see the work you are doing with U3Fit. Now before you were a fitness expert, we see you were a model today! Can you please describe your experience as a plus size model?
Lawanda: At first it was very flattering that they wanted to put more size on display. I have experienced some of the best designers and artists that help me feel amazing. Modeling gave me a lot of opportunities to meet different people and I took advantage of that time.
Later I wanted to become a better version of myself, and I realized that all the money and recognition and being overweight is not always the best for everyone, I wanted to challenge myself a bit more.
Robby: what I feel So if you choose a certain time in your life, where you decided to change in your life, what?
Lawanda: When I visited the doctors I discovered that I had high cholesterol and was insulin sensitive.
Based on my family history, I had a 99% chance of having one of the most common metabolic diseases that ran fast on both sides of my entire family. You will scare the hell out of me!
I knew then, I didn’t want that kind of life, especially growing up with an obese mother and sister and watching how they suffered. Also, when I was at a family reunion with my sisters and I looked around, I started asking about some family members, many of them couldn’t get up and play games, many were morbidly obese, some had such extreme atrophy. they could barely walk due to lack of movement, and quite sadly many died of all major metabolic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and severe pain. We have also lost many good people in the disease.
Robby: My mother recently went through a similar experience to yours and spoke to me. I feel like our elders tell so much about us. So how did you make the transition from plus size model to Fitness Expert?
Lawanda: I am a natural seeker of information; I would like to know why s. Naturally, he started working and doing what he said, but my wheels were spinning and I wasn’t making much progress. I did very good ethics so I knew it was something that was beyond my knowledge.
I searched for the best accredited schools that could give me knowledge and understanding and that was with NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine).
As I learned, I did. I understood everything myself and taught my family at home. I stayed steady and consistent, and ended up losing over 70 pounds.
I wasn’t thinking about this as a career for the first time, I just got excited and knew what I was doing and I couldn’t help but share the good news! To this day I continue to review and listen to studies, research on the human emotional systems and how they relate to our current state and how nutrition and exercise are most healing, especially for the African American community.
Robby: I like how you put the air around “them” because we know and don’t know who “they” are all together. Moving on to the present, how did you come up with the name U3 Fit?
Lawanda: Everyone was saying that “Movement” should be given a name with my name attached to it. What did not sit well with me was that the vision that was making the move was much bigger than I was.
I remember sitting on my mother’s bed after dinner one Sunday afternoon and I said out loud “I need a name because I’m going to say everything in a name!” And no kids, U3Fit in my spirit, and I ran with it! My motto is “U3Fit has 3 parts for you, Body, Soul, and Purpose working together for every health and fitness goal.”
Robby: I love it! What is the difference between Health & Fitness Life Coaching and Personal Training?
Lawanda: Health and Fitness life coaching is more like counseling and coaching. People help with what and how. It allows people to see how many problems of depressed emotions, lack of certain nutrients, lack of movement and lack of planning can be addressed with scientifically proven methods of simple changes that can be made without going back to medication.
People need clarity and understanding of “why me?” Personal training is a physical regime from a professional fitness and addresses that are relevant or the goals the client has through physical exercise, whether just needing help with basic exercise, building muscles, losing a fit weight or even making a healthy weight gain. muscle gain
There are plenty of studies that show depression, hormone imbalances, and lack of purpose can be significantly altered by physical activity.
Robby: Speaking of research, you talked about how before you became NASM certified you knew your work wasn’t ethical. It was the process that was the problem. With so many resources like YouTube, Pinterest and Google, talk about some of the top benefits of hiring a personal trainer or life coach?
Lawanda: I support anyone who can get help through online resources. However, personal trainers (Professional Fitness) are trained to evaluate each individual’s routines and routines and build a program based on schedules, physical ability and goals.
It is a life coach that helps to close the gap from where you are to where you want to be in life. They ask all the right questions, discover the answers within, and make time management for peace while developing personal goals.
It is important for people to learn tools to focus on the present and the future, to encourage them to achieve their goals or face personal challenges. I don’t believe everyone can achieve this without the personal touch and connection of a relationship.
Also, it is very important for the community to have a relative view of the Bay in this area. It is important for them to see that they can be with someone who is like us and understands where we come from in the culture.
Robby: I was looking at your website and noticed that you offer these injections. What is a B12 injection and I’m curious, is the Black community getting this service?
Lawanda: B12 injections are quick to boost immune system performance and help guard against disease and illness. They can also help to improve bone density, a factor in osteoporosis. In addition, injections can lead to improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression, and protection against brain atrophy. Yes, our Black community is the biggest consumer of vitamin injections.
Robby: Let’s move on to the future. When all is said and done, what do you want your legacy to be?
Lawanda: The legacy of U3Fit will be how many lives we were able to heal, prolong, improve and advance because of such love of self and community. And disrupt the systemic health system in the Black community! I would also like to have the first health and fitness center that locates all services specifically for the African American community right here in Bayview!
Robby: I love you. I love you as a person and also us as a community. We don’t need it. Finally, how can people talk to you? Friendly intervention? website? Hours of operation?
Lawanda: This is my website www.u3fit.com. My Instagram: @u3fit. The location is 4646 St San Francisco, CA 94124
Phone: 415-872-7175. The studio is open to the public Mon-Tues-Fri 7am-3pm Wednesday 7am-7:30pm Saturday 7am-12 noon. Organizations operate before and after these hours.
Robbie Jackson is a student of San Francisco Bay View’s Community Journalism Class, which is funded by the California State Library