FROM THE GRIO — Exercise entrepreneur Jennifer Turner understands how important it is for the black community to have empowering tools for health. The graduate of Stanford Business School and seasoned communications executive might be buff now, but like many of us, has struggled with her weight.

Now an African-American marathon runner and triathlete, Turner is using her personal experiences combined with her business acumen to teach others what she has learned on her path to wellness. Just in time for the holidays, Turner recently launched her Mad Cool Cardio Dance Party DVD, an exercise extravaganza showcasing women of varying shapes and sizes using the joy of movement to get fit.

This empowering DVD is just one part of her Mad Cool Fitness program, which aims to help all women seek a positive relationship with food while building wellbeing. chatted over email with Turner about the best ways to stay fit this holiday season, the recent controversy over black women and obesity, and tips for planning out your New Year’s goals for realistically building a healthier, happier you.

theGrio: What inspired you to create the Mad Cool Fitness DVD?

Jennifer Turner: I wanted to create a fun workout that was for real women, featuring real women. There are so many DVDs out there with workouts that are either, a) difficult and are only targeted to a narrow segment of the population, or b) feature women of just one ethnicity, who have perfect bodies with subtle messaging that, “if you do this DVD you will look just like me,” which actually isn’t true. Those women looked like that before they did the DVD. I would bet you dollars to doughnuts they’re doing a bunch of other stuff they’re not telling you about. Women not seeing themselves in fitness content is alienating and disheartening, especially when they don’t end up looking like the women on the TV screen. The Mad Cool Cardio Dance Party ain’t that kind of DVD. These are women from my fitness classes who are not professionals. The DVD is for and represents women of all shapes and sizes.


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