Powered by Soul Spotlight: Charles L. Mason III

He is that guy, you know that glass is half-full guy whose optimism in what looks to be fairly negative circumstances is quite remarkable. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing first hand how his optimism and commitment to others have had a positive influence on their lives and am pleased and proud of him for doing something good for himself.  Introducing one of my favorite Kappa’s, Charles Mason, in his own words.

My name is Charles L. Mason III, 51, born in Norristown Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia.  I moved south in 1981 to attend Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  I’ve lived in Atlanta nearly 26 years and am married to my college sweetheart.  In terms of what I do, it’s been said that people will have at least three careers in their lifetime.  I started as an accountant, have been an application developer, am currently a government administrator making a transition to my fourth career in photography.

Talk about your fitness routine.
Because of back issues I’ve temporarily halted my workout routine.  Previously I walked 5 miles, 4 times a week at Stone Mountain and performed back stabilization exercises.  I also really use to enjoy yoga.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?
I eat three meals a day. For breakfast usually a protein shake.  For lunch a small serving of a low-fat meat with two vegetables.  For dinner I usually have chicken or a meal similar to lunch.  I do occasionally treat myself to Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio ice cream which is my favorite.

How long have you been following this nutrition plan?
I’ve been following this plan for about six months.  I used to eat a lot of carbs and processed food that seemed to make me tired.  The switch to this form of eating has given me more energy.

Do you have a success story/testlmony you’d like to share?
I’d been visiting doctors about back issues and was experiencing pain in my back and knee at night to the point that I couldn’t get in a comfortable position for sleep.  It was taking 20 minutes or more every night before I could go to sleep. Tired of the pain, I decided to try losing weight to see if that would help with the back pain as well as benefit my blood pressure numbers. After seeing the success that my frat brother had on a high protein, low-carb diet I adopted his eating regimen. Over 9 weeks of this regimen I lost 33 pounds. I gained back 5 pounds but have maintained ever since.


Do you have a personal motto/philosophy?
Yes, it’s your attitude not your aptitude that determines your altitude.

Powered by Soul thanks Charles for sharing his story and hope that it inspires others to make the steps necessary to improve their health and quality of life.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the spotlight, please let me know in the comments, on Google+ or via Twitter.

The E Word

After a wonderful holiday season and clearance from the doctor I was back into the swing of things on the exercise front. I’d resumed the regular schedule, hitting the gym before work and was able to start running again on a limited basis without pain. It was good to be back, then my head busted up the party

Sinusitis in the dead of winter.


The doctor said it could be caused by a virus along with breathing dry indoor air. Rx this time? Meds and a cool mist humidifier, which I have yet to purchase. I’m feeling fine now but am having major difficulty getting my fanny back in exercise mode and you best believe I have ALL of the EXCUSES to not do so:

  • it’s too cold to be going out at 5:30 in the morning
  • I might hurt something else
  • don’t want to be bothered with people
  • gym cooties
  • don’t have a treadmill/elliptical/bike at home
  • lack of perfect shoes


Though these excuses are lame they are apparently enough to keep me from working out.  I was well enough to exercise on Monday. Today is FRIDAY and I have yet to lift any weight heavier than my purse, or run anywhere besides the bathroom. At the end of the day, it’s not really the illness that got me off my game, it’s the mind and the excuses it creates. The same mind that creates the excuses says I can also choose to get off the couch and get my butt in gear.  When that will happen, I do not know.

How about you? Are excuses winning and your fitness losing? I’d like to hear your excuses AND how you overcame them to get back on track.  Let me know in the comments, on Twitter or Google+.

Until next time, see you (hopefully soon) at the gym.


C is for…

I wish there was something or someone that I could blame it on. Genes surely play a role. My family happens to be active producers and consumers in the sport of BAKING and EATING. We all bake and we all eat what we bake.  My specialty happens to be cookies.

800px-1970's_easy_bake_oven_2013-09-17_19-40My baking experience began way back with a little green contraption called the Easy Bake Oven.  It was a little bitty faux appliance from which one could produce little bitty cakes from little bitty cake mix.  The heating element was a light bulb and I suppose it was fairly safe for its time. After one too many experiments with flour and sugar in the Easy Bake mama finally caved and let me bake my first batch of cookies, sugar cookies at around 7 or 8 years old. That was the moment that Cookie Monster Thorns was born.IMG_7177

For 40 years I don’t recall going a month without baking cookies or a week without eating them which is not necessarily a good thing for someone who: a)has struggled with weight issues most of her life and ; b)someone who was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2004.  Neither of these issues stopped me from my cookie baking or eating in fact rebelliousness and denial led me to do it more, until a series of events got me “scared straight”, sort of.

I still eat and bake cookies, just not like I used to my health was suffering and I was under orders to lose weight which I did.  However, I’m a realist and know my body.  Flat out cold turkey cookie quitting didn’t work.  Every time I tried it, it ended in some sort of cookie coma in which I’d end up begging God to let me live with the promise of never doing it again.  So I stopped doing it, going overboard that is.  If I want the cookie(s) I eat them and move on — no self-bashing, no belly aches and no promises to God to not do it again.  Don’t get me wrong, if I let cookies (and a few other things) go completely, I’d probably fit nicely on the BMI charts by now but I’m not there.  In the meantime I’ll eat as well as I can, workout and have a cookie as needed.

What about you? Are you a cookie monster?  What is that thing that you enjoy so much that you won’t refrain from it even if it doing so can improve your health and fitness?  I’d love to hear about it.  Let me know in the comments on Google+ or Twitter.

Until next time, see you in the kitchen, where I’ll be preparing a lovely salad with cookies for dessert :-).

2012-12-29 12.29.00 (1280x960)

Photos: Easy Bake Oven Wikimedia Commons user Rdmsf; all others MsThorns

Skip the Gym – Fitness Blender


I blame and thank my dearest Wonder Woman for her lead.  I had been following her posts on her morning workout with kettlebells. They looked dangerous and intriguing, which means I had to try it.   She suggested I search Youtube to get an idea of how they’re used and to find a workout.

Turns out that there were tons of videos out there.  I ended up choosing a beginner’s kettlebell routine from Fitness Blender.   I got through my first KB session unscathed, my floor not so much but I really enjoyed the routine and have completed many others since. I return to Fitness Blender time and again for the following reasons:

  • The workout routines are filmed against a white background so that the viewer can see all the moves in plain view.  Also there are no distracting boob shots or butt shots, just the instructor(s) puttin in work.
  • The start of each routine provides a text outline of what it entails, so you can get your mind right from the beginning on what you’re about to do.
  • The routines are free of music, you get only the instructor(s) doing the workout with narration.  I don’t even miss the music.
  • There is a plethora of workouts to choose from. HIIT, cardio, kettlebell, weights etc all at different lengths and for different fitness levels. The 1-5 intensity scale,  caloric burn estimate and other descriptors clearly identify the level of difficulty.
  • No rah rah.  I’m not really here for all the “come on give me 5 more you can do ittttt” cheerleading.  A simple count down of reps or a timer suit me just fine, which is what Fitness Blender does.
  • It costs nothing, just the cost of whatever you’re paying for the internet.

and… last but not least… the instructors.

Fitness Blender consists of the husband and wife team of Daniel and Kelli.  Daniel performs the narration on the videos, Kelli, Daniel or both do the workouts. They’re both trained professionals who are experienced in the health and fitness industry. You can learn more about them and additional programs that are offered on their website.

Fitness Blender for me is THE best bang for the buck (or no bucks).  The variety of workouts available ensures that you won’t ever get bored, and the simplicity of their production allows you to focus on form instead of being distracted by everything else.  Next time you skip the gym give Fitness Blender a whirl.  You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time, see you at the virtual gym.

The Party’s Over (It’s not what you think)

Gym vets know that the beginning of the year is when all the noobs and those who are trying to rekindle their fitness program show up. Now I won’t front I’m one who has scoffed at all the Johnny Come Latelies coming in hogging the machines the beginning of January. I don’t really sweat it because I know most of them will be gone by March.  I was judging them and their commitment and that is not cool.

I haven’t had a come to Jesus moment or anything of that sort, however looking back from whence I’ve come in the last six years, I know the struggle.  I know what it’s like to have the desire to go to the gym but not be able to because all the joints hurt from being heavy.  I know what it’s like to want to go to the gym and not do it because you’re far to depressed to leave the house and food is more comfortable than a treadmill.  I understand what it’s like to actually make an attempt and stop because it hurts too much and the progress is too slow. I know what it’s like to want to go to the gym but decide against it out of shame. Yeah, I get it and can no longer scoff.

I welcome all of those who are beginning or restarting their journey to better health at the gym.  I hope all of these folks stay past March. I hope that the trainers in the gym will lend a helping hand when they struggle and that the rest of us encourage and celebrate them in their success.

Until next time, see you at the gym.

Photos: MsThorns