Saturday, July 19, 2008
I read about celebrity fitness experts all the time. On a regular basis, some muscle-bound man or woman trainer poses with a muscle bound man or woman celebrity promising us the same results if you just buy his/her book, protein drink, or some pill or potion.
Potentially dangerous exercises are taught via videotapes and on websites without reliable medical research. Routinely I see patients who get hurt performing exercises the wrong way or who experience side effects from supplements that are not FDA approved.
Then enters the gorgeous, talented and “shredded” AJ Johnson. A vision of perfect health from her skin tone to her physique - and it’s all the result of her hard work, dedication and spiritual beliefs.
When I contacted AJ, she was doing what she does on a regular basis - educating and teaching others about healthy living. Let’s meet AJ Johnson and find out how she has been successful not only in her acting career, but as a life coach to many celebrities and non-celebrities.
AllHipHop.com: AJ, where are you?
AJ Johnson: I’m in my in car in Chicago and I pulled over in front of the John Hancock Center to talk to you for as long as you want. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: What’s happening in Chi-town?
AJ Johnson: I am here for a number of things, but primarily I’m doing a seminar and fitness demonstration at the Lake Shore Athletic Club and an “Explore the Flavor of Health” event with Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) who I’ve done a lot with over the past year or two.
AllHipHop.com: I’ve never heard of that AJ. Tell me a little more about GSK and this event.
AJ Johnson: “Explore the Flavor of Health” is a health fair sponsored by GSK, which will be held at the YMCA on 63rd and Stoney here in Chicago. I am on GSK’s Multicultural Council and I have been very active with them. Last year I did some promotions for their newly released weight loss medication Alli. I have been combining their mission with my mission, coming together for ultimately a bigger mission, which is to promote healthier living, to teach people about their bodies, and to be an advocate for the health and wellness of others by just being me!
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned the over the counter drug Alli® which can help us with weight loss. Do you think over the counter medicines like this are a cop-out for weight loss?
AJ Johnson: Ultimately, you have to modify your lifestyle. Nothing beats good nutrition, exercise, and proper rest. Using Alli® is an aid, but not a substitute for modifying your behavior. What are your thoughts on Alli® Doc?
AllHipHop.com: In combination with exercise and diet, it’s a great drug. Alli® is safe and if the patient understands how it works, the benefits of weight loss and maintaining that weight loss can be significant. So, how did you get in to this health thing AJ? I mean, many of us are familiar with your wonderful roles in movies like The Inkwell, Baby Boy and House Party but, I have to admit, I had no idea you were so involved in health, wellness and personal training.
AJ Johnson: Doc, a lot of people did not know. I encourage you and the AllHipHop family to become a participant in my wellness movement. Check me out on the web at www.theAJzone.com and learn more about what I do. I also want to correct you on one thing, however. What I do is not training individuals, but it is advocating healthy living! Most people think its just fitness because of my physique and that’s a compliment, but it is really healthy living.
You cannot do this without a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Consistency, having a great nutritional program, loving life, being disciplined and not procrastinating are what I am all about. These traits carry over into every facet of my life, and as much as Hollywood has given me a platform, my Hollywood friends started coming to me for help asking me how they could be as happy and as energetic as they saw me.
AllHipHop.com: Wow! That’s what’s up. But, for those old and new fans of yours who don’t know, let me list for them a few of your clients: Terrell Owens, Stevie Wonder, Damon Dash, Gabrielle Union, Boris Kudjoe and his wife Nicole Ari Parker, and John Singleton to name a few. You have some heavy hitters on this list. Some people would think that you would only “train” females. And by the way, how do you train a Terrell Owens?
AJ Johnson: Doc, there you go again!
AJ Johnson: Using that word “training.” The people at my company don’t even say or use the word training. I mean look at the list! How do you train Gabrielle Union to do anything? How do you train Stevie Wonder to be more dedicated? How do you train T.O. to run faster? These are individuals at the top of their games looking for something more than just better performance.
What I do for them is coach them; I’m a life Coach! I just let them know that there is a”better” for all of us. And as great as they are in their careers, there is a “better” that everyone can be and we need to strive for that “better” and live life to the fullest.
AllHipHop.com: Did anyone thing or person motivate you to be so lively and energetic?
AJ Johnson: I lost my mother to cancer and literally witnessed my father on his deathbed. I don’t like losing things that I love. My dad would write a saying to me in every birthday card. Before his salutation of “Love, Daddy,” he would write, “Dance until the lights turn off.” I honestly thought the first time I saw it in my birthday card, that he meant for me to close the club down. [laughs] But what I realized was that there was a much bigger message in that statement!
AllHipHop.com: What do you mean?
AJ Johnson: The much bigger message, which is tattooed on my ankle in French is to simply “Live life to the fullest!” Basically, I’m going to close it down everyday and I don’t mean the club either!
AllHipHop.com: Cool! Your energy is making me want to exercise now! So what’s an average day in the life of AJ?
AJ Johnson: Doc, I have to send you back to the website, www.theajzone.com. Everything I do is there. The website is written in first person, and I have a team that helps me tremendously to continue to build and grow the site as well as keeping the information current. The site provides my clients and visitors with tools that will make them happy, healthy and energetic!
AllHipHop.com: And you update your portion of the site how often?
AJ Johnson: Weekly, daily:- it just depends what’s going on and there is a lot going on! There are so many sections on the site that can help us. I discuss what motivates me, provide daily words, wellness plans, and success stories. You name it, and if it has something to do with maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle, The AJ Zone is addressing these very things.
AllHipHop.com: What about stress? Actress, life coach, marriage… How do you do it all?
AJ Johnson: First of all, you know I’m not married. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: Hmmm… Then I still have a chance AJ? Need to tone up a little… (doing pushups between words)
AJ Johnson: Doc, you are a mess! [laughs] I try to avoid stress. Stress… that’s the killer. As African-Americans, we’ve got high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, just to name a few, and we are dying earlier than other ethnic groups. One of the things you said to me was you were sick and tired of young people dying from preventable and treatable diseases. Well, so am I! I don’t want to go anywhere, and I don’t want people I love to die as a result of unhealthy living.
No, my parents are no longer living, but I learned a lot from them while they were alive. All I’m doing is accepting my life purpose and the mission God has given me to help other people with what I’ve learned. This is not a job to me, this is a lifestyle. The reason you have not seen me in movies lately is because I have been traveling, spreading the message about healthy living. It’s very obvious that our country is about to experience great changes and I want to be a part of that change, especially when it comes to health. I also want to do it stress free!
AllHipHop.com: How do we make changes in our lives? How do we get started?
AJ Johnson: Start small. I started with some minor lifestyle changes and over time they became not just routine, but essential for living. I am excitedly living naturally now.
AllHipHop.com: All natural? Come on AJ! Not an occasional burger from a fast food restaurant?
AJ Johnson: Yes Doc, all natural! All the health care products, hair care and skin care products are all natural- not chemical, completely natural.
AllHipHop.com: That is great and studies support that living natural is better for our bodies. What advice would you give to young people who have a sense of invincibility and think that they are exempt from health problems?
AJ Johnson: First of all, none of us are invincible or exempt from health problems. We can, however, reduce our risk of some medical problems and live better lives. The most general and important message I can give them is to truly believe that there is a “better” and that the “better” comes from the choices one makes.
AllHipHop.com: You have given us all some great information today. Is there anything else you would like to add before we bounce and I head to the gym?
AJ Johnson: My final words to AllHipHop and to you Doc would be to love yourself. None of what I’m saying will do any good if you don’t have self worth.
(c) 2008 Rani Whitfield. Published July 19, 2008 at www.allhiphop.com