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Beverly Johnson Reflects on Embracing Health & Wellness Gracefully

We all have our New Year's resolution of focusing on health and fitness. However, it can be a struggle to stay on track. Although we may feel we can do it alone, change takes time, and no one knows that better than Certified Trainer and Transformation Coach Beverly Johnson. She sits down with Geaux Queen's Q-Chat Podcast to discuss her views on health and wellness—furthermore, she reflects on consistency and accountability throughout our health journey.

You've had an incredible journey from being a military officer in the Army to becoming a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. Can you share how your military experience influenced your fitness coaching and speaking approach?

My military career has benefited me in all facets of my life. I can credit my time in the military (GO Army!) for teaching me the importance of strategic planning and time management. With those tools, I know I could handle the responsibilities of a full-time job and a business. Military service also taught me the importance of building relationships and understanding customers' news.

You're known for helping women 30 and over develop a healthy mindset, exercise, and food habits. What inspired you to focus on this demographic, and what unique challenges and opportunities do you see working with them?

The specific journey is a result of my trip. I remember being in college and my early 20s when I could eat whatever I wanted. Then, as I entered my 30s, things began to change. As we move into our 30s, we build our careers, start families, and encounter more stress. With increased responsibility, we tend to put ourselves last. With the added stress and changing metabolism, we began to experience weight gain and the onset of other health conditions.

During those years, we need to become proactive about our wellness. Having experienced those challenges, I can provide a roadmap to help my clients overcome those obstacles. One of the challenges many women face is finding the time to devote hours in the gym. My goal has been to create a results-driven program that addresses the needs of my clients. I've worked to make my services available online and in person. These options allow my clients the flexibility to accomplish their goals.

You mention helping "forgotten women" in your journey. Could you elaborate on what this means to you and how your coaching philosophy has evolved to be inclusive and empowering for all individuals?

The forgotten woman isn't a person. It's a season of life where the days become a blur. You feel like you're on autopilot. Wake. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat. These are the moments when you whisper to yourself, "There has to be more than this!" We can become overwhelmed with life. It's that time when you've become a parent, a caregiver to a parent, or on the cusp of becoming an empty nester. And remember, you're doing this while working, attending school, and possibly running a business.

You've given so much of yourself that you're existing on fumes. The forgotten woman is a person who may not recognize the beauty and power they possess. This season, you've put your needs on the back burner to ensure you meet everyone's needs. That's what the forgotten woman represents. Genesys Fitness has always been a space for all women ready to reclaim their voices. My focus is on holistic health and addressing the mental, emotional, and physical roadblocks that can derail your goals. My job as a coach is to remind you of your power and strength. Once those things reignite, what you can accomplish is extraordinary.

Nutrition plays a crucial role in overall health and fitness. Can you share some of your favorite healthy recipes or meal-planning tips that can help our readers make better food choices?

Learning how to prepare healthy meals was a journey for me. With my hectic schedule, I've learned that meal prepping has been a tremendous help. Meal prepping reduces the temptation to order dinner every night. And that becomes expensive. With meal prepping, I prepare at least three days' worth of meals. Then, midweek, I switch my menu options with another batch of meals. Now that the weather has changed, it is time to prepare my soup and chili recipes.

I've also found several snacks that I enjoy too. Some of my favorite snacks are:

* Red pepper hummus and pita chips
* Fuji apples and peanut butter

With the cooler temperatures, I'm looking forward to preparing my favorite dish- White Chicken Chili. Here's the recipe:

6 cups chicken stock
3 to 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
2 (15-ounce) cans of beans of Great Northern Beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cups (16 ounces) Salsa Verde
Two teaspoons of ground cumin
Optional toppings: diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped red or green onions, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips, fresh jalapeño slices
1. Combine ingredients. Stir together chicken stock, shredded chicken, beans, salsa, and cumin in a large stockpot. Or place it in a crockpot and put it on low for 4 hours.

2. If using a stockpot, bring it to a simmer. Cook on high heat until the soup reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with lots of your favorite toppings.

What common misconceptions or myths about fitness that you often encounter, and how do you address them in your coaching and speaking?

Let's look at the most common myths that I hear...

- Spot training (targeting specific areas of work)

- You need an extreme workout program for results

-The guaranteed weight loss programs promise you'll lose much weight quickly.

There's so much information floating around that finding a reliable source can be difficult. The hardest part of my job is to tell you the secret behind the cheating job. The secret is -there's no cheat code. Whenever those topics come into play, it's an excellent opportunity to educate about how the process works.

We'll all grow and learn things about ourselves. The journey to wellness is an ongoing process. It requires us to address our habits and understand where they come from. And honestly, that can be hard. What we don't preach, we'll repeat. I aim to equip you with the tools and strategies to make better decisions. So, when you're having a wrong moment, you're equipped with the tools to make different decisions.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about losing weight?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that losing weight is a linear process. Many people must be unaware of the difficulties you'll experience on this journey. One week, you'll lose 2 pounds; the next week, you'll gain one back. When you experience that, you'll believe you're failing and will give up. As women, we share that more due to hormones or that time of the month.

Another misconception is that you need to starve yourself to lose weight. For the folks in the back- starvation is not the answer. Not eating leads to irritability and inevitable bingeing. You're hangry and snapping at everyone. The more significant concern is that your body automatically slows down your metabolism when you're not eating. A slower metabolism can hinder your weight loss.

You are also a Zumba instructor. Zumba can be a fun way to work out. Exercising can be very intimidating for someone who has never developed a habit of exercising regularly. What are some ways to build a positive mindset towards exercise?

Gym intimidation is a real thing. Gym intimidation, or "gymintimidation", is a feeling of pressure or insecurity that can occur when people use gym equipment, especially when they first start exercising. The pressure of walking into the gym and feeling unsure about what to do can create anxiety. When you walk into the gym for the first time, you have no idea what to do. You'll do a few things without a clear goal and eventually stop going. Not because you aren't motivated. Mainly because you need to figure out what to do; the key to developing a positive mindset is to find out what works for you.

Some ways to help develop a positive mindset:

*Find a workout buddy. A workout buddy is great when you're getting started. You'll be more likely to stick to your workout routine. When someone else is counting on you to show up, you won't want to disappoint them. You'll feel less stressed and have emotional support.

* Discover the exercises/ group fitness classes that you'll enjoy. I know finding a class that you'll enjoy sounds weird. But hear me out... there are some classes that you'll naturally gravitate towards. If it's a class that you want, you look forward to participating.

* Give yourself time to develop a routine and determine what works best for you. You may discover that early-morning workouts benefit you. Or hitting the gym after work may help you decompress.

Metabolism is a monster! One thing I learned after age forty was that losing weight, staying fit, and staying healthy are different. It takes a lot of work to stick to a fitness routine. What are some strategies to stay motivated to exercise and incorporate fitness into our lifestyles when dropping the smallest amount of weight seems complicated?

Metabolism after 40 is something we need to talk about more. One minute, you can eat whatever you want, then the next minute, thinking about eating a cookie causes you to gain 5 pounds! As we age, our metabolism, body composition, and hormones change. Menopause also contributes to a slower metabolism. The weight loss hacks that worked in the past are no longer effective.
I encourage my clients to develop a well-rounded approach to their health. It requires them to become mindful of their eating habits, sleep hygiene, and workout programs.

* Eating habits- it may be time to revamp your meal plan. Consider adding more vegetables and fruits. Also, limit your fried foods and sweets. I've shifted to a more plant-based diet as I've gotten older. A plant-based diet means eating more whole foods and plants—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds.

* Sleep hygiene- good sleep hygiene includes setting a sleep schedule, following a bedtime routine, forming healthy habits, and optimizing your bedroom for sleep. Without proper rest, you'll turn to sweets and caffeine to stay alert throughout the day. It becomes a vicious cycle that can lead to weight gain.

* Don't fear strength training. Strength training is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for women of all ages. It can be essential for women approaching menopause. A good guideline for most women is to strength train two to four times per week. A workout regimen with weight training, cardio, and a nutritious diet can support weight loss efforts.

You also embarked on a similar journey, and I am currently getting braces after age 40. You mentioned that it was another way to better yourself. I realize that so many people within our society limit bettering themselves after age 40. What has motivated you to continue valuing the importance of improving yourself regardless of age?

Because I'm worth it! Period.

We are in a youth-obsessed culture that tells us that our value diminishes after age 30. My motivation stems from knowing that this next season will be fantastic. My purpose didn't end at 40, and neither will I. There are countless stories of celebrities walking into their greatest seasons after 40. It's up to us to decide the narrative for life after 40. "It ain't over until it's over!"

As I got older, I had to decide how to approach my journey. I have so much to offer the world, and I couldn't think of any reason why I should dim my light. I've made peace with my body changing, the increased glitter in my hair, and accepting that I don't have knees like Meg Thee Stallion. At the same time, I've never felt more beautiful, confident, and fierce.

As a female entrepreneur in the fitness industry, have you faced any unique challenges or obstacles? How did you overcome them, and what advice do you have for aspiring female fitness professionals?

One of the initial challenges is how to build a client base. Early on, I needed to familiarize myself with creating a marketing strategy or launching a post. I made a post that said, "Hey, I'm available for business." Thankfully, I had supportive friends ready to hire me and position me for success.

While we all believe that we can help everyone, your message will resonate more with some than others. I needed to understand the power of developing a niche. Once I figured out who my tribe would be, things began to fall into place.

What would I tell an aspiring female fitness professional? Ask for help, ask for help, and ask for help. It takes time to develop your brand voice and messaging. If you don't get it right the first time, it's okay. Others may be offering the same service, but that's why you should continue. Your messaging and services will connect to those who need you. Be yourself, be authentic, and enjoy yourself.

Many people need help with maintaining a consistent fitness routine. What essential tips can you share for staying motivated and committed to a healthy lifestyle?

In such a fast-paced environment, it isn't easy to find consistency. Everything demands our time. And when you are pressing for time, your workout time is the first thing we scratch off the list.

*Plan ahead- Schedule workouts, grocery shopping, and meal prepping. Sticking to workouts is easier when you know what you're doing and when. Eating clean is also easier when you know what you have for each meal.

* Make your goals more manageable- This could mean reducing your weight-loss goal, lowering the amount of produce you aim to eat daily, or shortening the time you schedule at the gym.

* Be flexible- Life happens, and sometimes you can't stick to your routine. Instead of giving up entirely, find ways to adapt. For example, if you miss a workout, make it up the next day or find time for a quick home workout.

Your speeches and motivational talks have inspired countless individuals. What message or advice resonates most with your audience, and why?

The most impactful messages usually involve me sharing my personal story. While my story has bumps and bruises, it's also a story of healing and becoming whole. It's a story of a woman who found her voice and the courage to alter her life. She realized there was a longing for more and wasn't sure of how to proceed. So, she leaped and soared. That woman never imagined life would be this amazing and never looked back.

My story resonates because everyone loves a good underdog story. And we all need to see the results of someone who has done the work. We always tell others to do the job, and it's essential to show the results of the work.

In addition to fitness, you also value the importance of mental health. It can also be a tough emotional road for those struggling with the health and fitness journey. We often delay plans until we hit those weight loss goals. Can you offer some inspiration for those who may be struggling with their mental health due to their physical health issues?

I know firsthand how this can become a vicious cycle. It's a cycle that can be difficult to end. I want you to know that the scale doesn't define you. It doesn't tell the world how amazing you are! If you are struggling, I recommend seeking a therapist. Yes, you can have Jesus and a therapist. Both are great for your healing.

Next, I want you to extend grace to yourself. It will take some time to undo the old habits and implement the new ones. You are worth every remarkable thing this world offers, and I want you to go after it.

"The Journey to Wellness is an Ongoing Process"
---- Beverly Johnson

Lastly, what is your mantra or philosophy guiding your fitness journey and career as a speaker and coach?

My mantra comes from Psalm 46:5- "God is within her, she will not fall." This scripture sums up my personal and professional journey. I couldn't accomplish any of this without my faith. In the times when I felt uncertain, my faith kept me grounded.

Not only is this a business, but it is my purpose. Part of leadership requires you to serve others. To understand the needs of your clients and provide a solution to their problems. It is a blessing to reach so many people, and it's not over. The next phase is just beginning.

Geaux Connect & Support Queen Beverly and Start Your Health and Wellness Journey Today!

Interviewed By: Shronda Armstrong

Edited By: Jasmine Boskent-Thomas

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Coach Beverly is a phenomenal woman!

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