Powered By Soul Spotlight – Michael Wilson Jr.

Oh how I can go on and on about this guy. The Burpee Champ, the Big Tease Chef who tempts the internets with his food porn, the music connoisseur, the politically astute, the wry humorist and the boxing expert.  That’s just the stuff I know about.  He also happens to be the first person that I EVARRRRR “hungout” with in a Google+ Hangout. Introducing my “food husband” Michael Wilson in his own words.


Michael Wilson Jr., 38 creator and host of the Pound 4 Pound Boxing Reportpodcastblog and YouTube channel and regular contributor to Ringnews24.

Tell us about your fitness routine.

I workout at home 5-6 days a week primarily P90X and Neila Rey’s no equipment workouts. Once a week I practice yoga to maintain flexibility.


Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

My diet is my weakness. I do drink 64 oz of water a day and try to eat as healthy as I can.  I eat salad 3 days a week and lots of fish and grilled chicken. My main weaknesses are Reese’s Pieces and Snicker bars.

How long have you been practicing your fitness and nutrition programs?

Around 2004-2005 I was heavy, around 250 pounds and my blood pressure was at dangerous levels. I started out by walking at a local park and lost 30 pounds which was cool but I wanted to tone up. Around 2008-2009 I saw the P90X program and started it and have built muscle on the program.

Do you have a success story or testimony you’d like to share?

I no longer take blood pressure medicine and now keep it in check through diet and exercise.

What motivates you to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

There’s an aspect of fear on my part. I don’t want to go back to the days where I was 250 pounds and my blood pressure was at dangerous levels.  Now if I go 3-4 days without exercise I get restless and have to do something.

Do you have a personal motto or philosophy that you subscribe to?

Take care of all aspects of your health, physical, mental and spiritual to maintain balance in your life.  This works in a general sense and for me personally.

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Powered by Soul thanks the man of many talents, Michael Wilson for sharing his story with us.  Be sure to check him out all over the internet by clicking the links in the Vitals section.

If you or someone you know want to be featured in the Spotlight, drop a line in the comments, on Twitter or on Google+.

Photos: Michael Wilson collection

Powered by Soul Spotlight: Edwin Boatswain

IMG_20140622_115643Thanks to the Google+ Smartphone Photographers Community I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Road Runner.   Not only was he submitting beautiful photos to some of the weekly photo challenges of the group, i started noticing some photos of him outfitted in running gear and race numbers and such.  Turns out this dude is a BEAST so much so that he celebrated the first part of his birthday this year running a 10k.  Anybody who chooses running to start off a birthday is someone whose story I’d like to know and hopefully you will to. Introducing the Road Runner, Mr Edwin Boatswain in is own words.


I’m Edwin Boatswain, from London, England, UK. I’m 44 years old and a software developer.

Tell us about your fitness routine.
My exercise regime is a mix of whatever I’m enjoying at the moment. Yoga is a staple though. I study Vijnana and Body of Light yoga as my main practice with a great yoga teacher who gives great detailed instruction. You can find out more about Vijnana and body of light at her website. square I go to the YMCA and try a lot of classes. Yoga, Strike! and circuits are current favourites. My main focus at the moment though is running. I’m not a natural runner by any means but I’m really enjoying it and finding my limits. Then pushing them a little bit.A few years back I signed up for a Nike sponsored 10K. I dragged myself the park, went to some of the training runs and got hooked. I really don’t know what I’m doing so I’m learning by doing and paid for my mistakes with injuries however the Central YMCA has a great physio by the name of Andrea who also practices yoga and runs. Frequently she’s stopped me from running while injured but given me the tools to get back on my feet. She practices in London and Bath and has a website here. 1405247031805 IMG_20140712_194126 In the UK there’s a private health company called BUPA that sponsors a series of runs. They provide a great set of training plans on their website and lots of advice. I’ve run three half marathons and these training plans have gotten me to the end. So to answer your actual question. My current training plan consists of: 4-5 hours of yoga a week 4-5 sessions of running a week of various lengths A circuit class whenever I can fit it in.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

I try to follow a balanced diet but have struggled with weight since I was a kid. I’m a Weight Watcher and have been through several versions of the Weight Watchers programme. What I’ve taken from each is to keep a record of what you eat and aim for a balance from each of the food groups.

How long have you been following your nutrition plan?
I’ve been a Weight Watcher on and off since the 90s. OK mostly off, but last year I reached my goal weight after tracking properly and being active. There was a hiccup after which I put weight back on and (today actually 7/17/14) I made it back to my goal weight.


What motivates you to maintain your fitness and nutrition programs?
I really didn’t like the sluggish and constantly tired feeling I had while heavier. I like the extra energy I have now and I’m probably turning into an endorphin junkie! Another motivation is clothing, it’s much easier to buy clothes now.

Do you have a motto/personal philosophy you’d wish to share?
I’ve been hearing a Fatboy Slim song a lot “Eat, sleep, rave, repeat…” Trying to fit in the training runs recently it started to feel like “Eat, sleep, train, repeat”. I kind of like that one as a tongue in cheek motivational thing.

Powered by Soul thanks Edwin Boatswain for bringing his boundless energy across the pond and sharing it with us. Please check out the links that he’s shared and pass along to your folks.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Spotlight, drop a line in the comments, on Google+ or Twitter.

Photos: Edwin Boatswain collection

Powered By Soul Spotlight – Deandra Bryant

20140608_091859I met Deandra a few years ago at a HIRL here in Atlanta.  What I noted about Deandra straight off was how FLY she was.  She’s not just a pretty face though, over the last several months I have watched her transformation to pretty FIT.  I couldn’t let her get away without sharing with the rest of us, what she’s been doing.  So here’s the fly, fit girl in her own words, introducing Deandra Bryant.

Deandra Bryant from Atlanta, Georgia.

Tell us about your fitness routine/program.
I work out 5 to 6 days a week. I do a mixture of an hour of cardio. It could be zumba, piloxing, taebo dvds or elliptical/ treadmill machine. I also incorporate weight lifting in my activity 3 days a week.


Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?
I follow the clean eating method. I try to get in at least a gallon of water a day.

How long have you been active with your fitness program/nutrition plan?
I’ve been in my fitness journey since December 2013.

Do you have a success story or testimony you’d like to share?
I have lost 30 pounds and 4 dress sizes. My cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure are all within healthy ranges.

What motivates you to maintain your fitness/nutrition program(s)?
I want to live a healthy balanced active life.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy you’d like to share?
Who says change is not within you?! Get up, Grind it out, be grateful.

Whew! Did you get all that? Deandra puts in work! Powered by Soul congratulates Deandra on her committment to a healthy lifestyle and on the progress she’s made on her journey. Thank you Deandra for sharing your success with us.


Would you or someone you know like to be featured in the Spotlight? If so, please be sure to drop a line in the comments, on Google+ or Twitter.

Photos: Deandra Bryant collection

Powered by Soul Spotlight – Jeffrey Woods

I’ve known the King of Cardio for several years now.  I call him the King having witnessed him in action in cardio hip-hop class on a few occasions and he goes HARD.  Jeffrey is a diehard Falcons Fan, a supremely talented artist, a southern gentleman and guy whom I’m fortunate enough to call a friend.   Introducing Jeffrey Woods in his own words


My name is Jeffrey Woods, 56 from Atlanta Georgia. I’m a GIS Specialist.

Tell us about your fitness routine/program.

I attend cardio classes four days a week.  The other two days I’m walking, running or doing strength training.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

I work hard at eating vegetables and drinking water, instead of going for non-nutritional foods.

How long have been active?

The past 10 years

Do you have a success story/testimony you’d like to share?

Since I have been active and working on developing a healthier body I’ve successfully run and completed the Peachtree Road Race (10k) for the past 11 years. I’ve lost weight and have had successful health reports from my doctor.  My blood pressure has lowered and my energy has improved.

What motivates you to stay active?

The good feeling I have after exercising, plus I enjoy it and want to maintain my good health.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy that you live by?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Powered by Soul thanks Jeffrey for sharing his story with us.  You can catch him at the 45th Peachtree Road Race here in Atlanta on July 4, 2014 if you dare :-).

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If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Spotlight drop a note in the comments, on Google+ or Twitter.

Photo: Jeffrey Woods collection

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.

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 :-).

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

Powered by Soul Spotlight: Lamont Doss

DossHulkThose with lesser stamina will be left in his dust gasping for air.  He doesn’t just take leisurely jaunts accross town, he can ride to another state with only his legs!  Introducing the Iron Man, Lamont Doss in his own words.

My name is Lamont and I’m transitioning my residence from San Antonio, TX to Charlotte, NC. I’m 38 years old and employed as a Network Engineer.

Tell us about your fitness routine including type, days per week, location, preferences etc.
Because of my work schedule, I only work out on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. I have an alternating three day routine of Back/Chest, Legs, Shoulders/Arms. In the Spring and Summer months, I participate in a number of cycling events, so I’m trying to focus more on my legs during the off season.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?
This is an area where I really struggle. While I would love to verbosely describe my healthy eating habits, this is not my current reality. My nutrition plans are still a work in progress.

How long have you been active/following your nutrition plan/playing sports etc.?
I really got serious about having an active lifestyle about three years ago. I used to frequent the gym after work, and later, a colleague offered to teach me to play golf. From there, a couple of colleagues invited me to join them on a couple of 18 mile cycling rides, which grew into 25, 45, 60, then 100 mile events.

Do you have a success story/testimony relating to fitness, nutrition or your overall health?
Though my cholesterol levels are great, I still have issues with high blood pressure. That’s my next challenge, and necessary before I can claim success. In the interim, I can proudly say I’m physically stronger than I’ve ever been in life.

What motivates you to do what you do in terms of fitness and nutrition?
Stress, but mostly the release of it. Going through a divorce while taking on a new job was a bit of a load, so I used weightlifting as a way to purge frustration, stress, and anger. The redirection of bad energy helped me maintain my focus. Though I don’t have to deal with many of the aforementioned challenges anymore, I continue to find peace in my workout.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy you’d wish to share?
Plan, achieve, and then excel.

Powered by Soul thanks Lamont for sharing the challenges and the triumphs of his fitness life.  Hopefully this writer will be left in his dust in a road race this spring 🙂

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Powered by Soul Spotlight, please let me know in the comments, contact me on Twitter or Google+.  Until next time see you at the gym.

Injury Report – Ridiculous

The latest injury news for the old broad is lumbar radiculopathy.  When I received the diagnosis I couldn’t help but think how close the word was to “ridiculous” and told the doctor as much.  This is a back problem, inflammation aggravating a nerve which manifested itself as a pain in the arse, hamstring and foot. This is not new and is something I’ve dealt with off and on for about 30 years.  In the past the condition has been treated by:

  • steroid injections which failed at relieving the back pain but ended up improving my asthma symptoms
  • chiropractic manipulation – which helped tremendously but required weekly visits that were not covered by insurance
  • major weight loss – which eliminated the chronic pain
The doctor didn’t ask me what I’d been doing but I told him about my exercise regimen which is what I assumed caused this latest flare-up.  To relieve the symptoms the doctor prescribed:
  • oral steroids (which are making me bats#$% crazy)
  • rest and, wait for it …
  • losing 10 pounds as my current level of exertion may be too much at my current weight

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Thus far I’ve taken the pills and stayed out of the gym, practiced yoga (the only exercise permissible) and have been contemplating how to address my diet in order to lose some more weight.  I’m not pleased but will do it, and will seek a nutritionist since I’m diabetic and  exercise five days a week.  In other words, I am actually complying with doctor’s orders 🙂

I hope that none of you are dealing with any injuries during this festive season.  If you are, I hope you’re on the mend, complying with the prescribed treatment(s) and enjoying your family and friends.  On the bright side, if you’re sidelined from the gym/road/court etc, that gives you more time to spend with the folks you love.

If you have a history of back problems, I’d loved to hear about your experiences and how you’ve overcome them.  Feel free to share in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or Google+.

Until next time see you somewhere, anywhere other than the doctor’s office 😉

Powered by Soul Spotlight: Kym McNair

Kym NcNair Jpegs-Kym NcNair Jpegs-0021She leaps tall buildings in a single bound, slays all foes and has the
ability to make you think you can do the same.  I continue to be inspired by her determination and work ethic and have been privileged to enjoy her sense of humor as well.  Known in certain circles as Wonder Woman, introducing Ms. Kym McNair in her own words.

Kym McNair, 46 years young, Trainer/Educator for a Domestic Violence Agency.Tell us about your fitness routine including type, days per week, location, preferences etc.For the past 3 years I’ve been weight training. I mix in some cardio, which I really can’t stand, but I know I have to do it.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?
I don’t have a particular nutrition plan, but I try my best to avoid grains, refined sugar, and dairy. You could call it Ancestral/Paleo light. I pretty much eat what I want. It just so happens that I don’t want to eat anything that’s not going to help me maintain some level of fitness. I have moments when I want something that’s probably not going to be good for my body. I’ll eat it and my body will remind me why I stopped eating it. Short-term satisfaction is sometimes just not worth it.

Do you have a success story/testimony relating to fitness, nutrition or your overall health?

Testimony: Gym time is Kym time, and for the time that I’m there, every and anything that’s been troubling or worrying me disappears. Or sometimes I find a solution to something that’s been challenging. I don’t have to worry about one upping anybody because it’s just me and the weights.I’ve learned that I’m braver than I ever thought I could be.I’ve also learned that age does not matter. I’m in better shape today than I was in my 20s, and I just need to continue to listen to my body.

Kym 2010Kym NcNair Jpegs-Kym NcNair Jpegs-0025What motivates you to do what you do in terms of fitness and nutrition?
My nieces are motivation. I want to be here for them as long as possible, but I also want to pass on a legacy of good health and fitness. I love to take them to the farmer’s market and hear their excitement over foods that most adults I know can’t identify. I love it when they want to play with my exercise bands or show me how they can squat or lift one of their dumbbells. They came home from school one day full of excitement over learning mountain climbers!

I’m also motivated by myself and I know that may sound self-absorbed. But when I think about where I was just 3 years ago and the condition of my body compared to what I can do today,I’m motivated. I’m motivated by the weight I can lift or how my joints feel or how good I feel about how I now take care of my body. I’m motivated by the fact that moving my body makes the pain go away.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy you’d wish to share?
This is the fitness mission statement I wrote back in 2011 when I first started weight training. This is a slightly modified version.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have the privilege and responsibility for caring, loving and cherishing my mind, body, soul and spirit. I’m willing to forgive myself for an unhealthy past and just be mindful of the present. Everyday I intend to take advantage of the opportunity to make space for love and healing and to celebrate the blessing that my body is.Powered by Soul thanks Kym for being in the spotlight this month and for continuing to be an inspiration and a blessing to those who know and love her.If you or someone you know would liked to be featured in the Powered by Soul Spotlight, let me know in the comments, on Twitter or on Google+.

Until next time, see you at the gym.

Photos: Kym McNair’s collection

Additional resources: Precision Nutrition

Powered By Soul Spotlight: Ant Pruitt

Ant-Pruitt-Aug2012Common interests (fitness and photography) is how the first Spotlight individual entered my orbit.  A good guy, a smart guy, a fit guy and an unabashed supporter of a certain college football team, introducing Ant Pruitt in his own words.


Ant(hony) Pruitt from Charlotte, North Carolina.  30 something, I think 36, I quit counting. I’m an IT Support Manager.

Talk about your fitness routine including type, days per week, location, preferences etc.

I workout a minimum of two days per week, but shoot for four either at the office fitness facility or Gold’s Gym. Heavy weeks and light weeks are mixed throughout the month with all muscle groups worked each week. A typical month may go something like: week 1 light, week 2 heavier, week 3 super heavy, week 4 light.  I also have some “musts” in the routine. “Upper body musts” = bench press, pull ups, bicep curls, lat pulls or rows. “Lower body musts” = Squats, dead lifts, calf raises. I also incorporate yoga once a week if possible.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

It depends on how I feel and goals. Currently I’m on a higher protein diet with minimal carbs. If I’m dragging, I increase carbs. I also do periodic 48 hour fasts and fasts from particular foods, for example no beef all week or only fish all week. I fast to clear my mind and cleanse the GI tract.

How long have you been active/following your nutrition plan/playing sports etc.?

I’ve been exercising in some form 20+ years. My father used to FORCE ME to do push-ups every night as a kid. I’m also a former 3 -sport athlete. Only got conscious about higher protein since October 2012, but I used to just eat whatever and burn it. No less than 4000 calories a day.

Do you have a success story/testimony relating to fitness, nutrition or your overall health?

At my current age, I’m pushing more weight in the gym now than when I was in my “prime” in college almost 15 years ago. I can’t run as fast due to a replaced hip, but I’m just a hair above my “playing weight” by 10 lbs.

What motivates you to do what you do in terms of fitness and nutrition?

Endorphins. I don’t have a real reason to be stronger or more flexible, but I feel better mentally and emotionally by doing so. Plus I don’t want to look like my classmates. I’m always told I don’t look any different or I look better. I’m proud of that.

Do you have a personal motto/philosophy you’d wish to share?

Burn more than what you eat. Stop looking for people to always be your motivation. Help yourself. THEN others may help you.

Powered by Soul thanks Ant Pruitt for sharing his story with the readers.  To find out more about Ant be sure to check him out here.

Photos: Ant Pruitt