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Everyone has a story. For some it’s a story of wanting something more, for others it’s a story full of tears, heart and determination. Our series “Sole Stories” will give you a glimpse into what drives women to change their lives and their “soles.” Nona shared her story from obesity to losing 50 pounds and her story isn't finished yet.

Sole Story: Making Strides for Health

Nona Britton

NONA PURPLE - PINK

My story started in 2012 when I decided I wanted to make a change in my eating and my level of activity after fasting and prayer. I had struggled many years with being overweight. While my blood work numbers were okay, my BMI was not.
I was considered obese and that was a jolt for me. I had another reason. Diabetes and high blood pressure run in my family and my daughter was getting bullied at school about her weight. I had tried all kinds of diets and exercise, but had no lasting results. I felt powerless as the scale kept climbing. How could I help my kids if I could not help myself?
The company I work for supported us in being healthy so in January 2012 I was able to participate in the Weight Watchers At Work series. It helped teach me how to eat, what not to eat and how to eat sparingly. I lost 40 pounds. It is vital in my story because in the weekly sessions Weight Watchers taught me to be accountable for what I ate. With weekly weigh-ins, tracking my food was important so that see what foods I should and shouldn't be eating. After getting off the plan I gained a little over 20 pounds back, falling back into bad habits and not consistently working out.
At the beginning of January 2014, I was determined not to go all the way backward. I started going back to the basics. Eating to plan and working out. I lost some weight again, but I knew I needed more consistent workouts and to increase my level of activity. I wanted to set up my workouts and commit to a full five days of good physical activity that challenged me. I heard about a group called Black Girls RUN!. I found the local running group in Florida, BGR! Central Florida. April 2014 was a game changer. I started with Black Girls Run (BGR!) and the encouragement and inspiring women were all I needed to kick myself into gear. My BGR! ambassador stayed with me my first two days and helped me with running intervals.
At my highest I was 273 pounds and now, since being with Black Girls RUN! consistently for six months and running 4 to 5 days a week, I have lost a total of 50 pounds ( 34 pounds down since running with BGR!) It has become a part of my life. On a recent vacation I was still exercising and swimming in the hotel gym.
Nona before race Celebration of Running 2014
My son even recently joined me for a 5 mile interval run/walk.  I completed my first 5K with running intervals in August 2014 at the Celebration of Running event. In October 2014 my daughter and I completed the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk together, her first 5k.
I want to thank Michelle Filmore Maxwell, a BGR! ambassador. She was so supportive and encouraging and helped me even when I struggled. I started with 30-second intervals of running and 3 minutes of walking and now I am up to 2 minutes running and 2 minutes of walking.
Never again can anyone tell me African-American women don’t support each other, because I know some sole sisters who have a heart for others and give their free time to uplift other ladies. All of the Central Florida ambassadors are there for us, giving their time, encouragement, tips and pacing with us on the pavement. I salute and honor them all. My journey continues and I am moving forward. I thank God for what he has done to improve my heath and giving me the strength to get more fit, and the right connections.

By JayEll Alexander

Summer is in full swing and let the travel begin! Ashley and Toni have been on the road quite a bit for the Preserve the Sexy Tour and preparing for the Sweat With Your Sole in Atlanta in September! REGISTER NOW :-)

There is no doubt about it, traveling and working out is hard. Hotel gyms tend to be small and there is but so much mileage you can do on a treadmill, so sometimes you have to venture out in to unknown territory to make sure you stay on your training plan.

Brooks Running has provided us with some fun and handy travel tips, just in time for our next trip to Houston on July 26th for the Preserve the Sexy Tour!

Kira Harrison, a footwear merchandising associate at Brooks Running, is a lifelong runner who travels the world to gather insight, build award-winning shoes and to help people everywhere run happy. She has mastered the art of traveling as her job requires her to pack up and go quite frequently.

"With so many people taking summer trips and weekend getaways with the warmer weather, we want to make sure you’re prepared and can still squeeze in the run in between all the fun of vacation." says Harrison. "I’ve included the tips below. Enjoy!"

[YOU MIGHT LIKE: Black Girls RUN! Duffle Bag]

1) Get out the door in the morning before your day starts. When you are on the road, your schedule can often be unpredictable, by running in the morning you guarantee getting your run in and it energizes you for the rest of the day.

2) Use your run as a sightseeing opportunity. Running is a great way to see a new place and the run becomes an adventure vs. just exercise.

3) Pack fast drying apparel, made of synthetic fibers. Because you won’t be able to do laundry on the road, you want your gear to dry before you have to pack it back into your suitcase. Also, a plastic bag to wrap around your shoes is helpful to keep dirt and smell away from the rest of your belongings.

4) Connect with a local running store for advice on routes. They also may have running groups that leave from their store which will provide you with running buddies. If crunched for time, the hotel concierge is also a great resource. Many have pocket-sized maps with recommended running routes, making it simple to get in a good run right out the front door.

5) To keep your legs fresh, wear compression socks on the airplane. This helps maintain blood flow and your legs will feel better on your run. Let us know some of your travel tips below for working out and running 'on the go'!

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By Esta Fiesta (@EstaFiestaPR)

Sometimes getting sweaty before work just can’t happen and you’ve got to squeeze in a workout on your lunch break. Stash these five items at your desk to make sure you’re always prepared.

Cleansing Wipes Make cleaning up post workout a breeze by keeping cleansing wipes on hand. These also come in handy if you need to wipe off makeup before working out.

Baby powder If nothing else, keep a travel size bottle of baby powder at your desk. Baby powder can be rubbed onto thighs to prevent chaffing, double as a deodorant, and triple as a dry shampoo if you need it!

Bobby Pins An intense workout may ruin your do. Fix stray hairs or create a new look altogether with a few bobby pins.

Portable Fragrance Baby powder alone isn’t enough to make you smell fresh when you return to your desk – keep a roll-on or travel size of your favorite perfume on hand to reapply post workout.

Tube of lipstick You probably won’t apply a full face of makeup just for the second half of your workday. Stash a tube of red lipstick to touch up your look, or apply it pre-workout for a confidence boost! How often do you workout on your lunch break? Do you keep these, or any other products stashed at your desk?

Esta Fiesta is a New York City based lifestyle writer who focuses on fashion and beauty with a pinch of pop culture. In addition to managing her own blog livingfiesta.com, Esta has penned pieces for Glamazons Blog and been quoted in People StyleWatch and The Associated Press. When she’s not hunting down the best fashion and beauty deals you can find Esta trying to beat her best mile or perfecting her overhead in Pilates. Follow Esta’s tweets at @EstaFiestaPR.

woman-eating-salad

By Esta Fiesta (@EstaFiestaPR)

Once in a while, my department decides to do a “30 Day Challenge”, pledging to cut our personal choice of toxic food, alcohol, or overspending, but one month I decided to change it up and add something – a salad a day – and it turned out to be more beneficial than I’d thought.

I have to admit, I selfishly chose to add something because I wanted to still be able to buy clothes and eat ice cream. Besides, a few extra veggies can’t hurt right? The rule was I had to have at least one salad, defined as a dish in which the main ingredient consists of raw vegetables, each day and could eat whatever else I desired - ice cream and sugary drinks included.

Adding a salad a day wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. Especially since I was still allowed to indulge in whatever else I wanted. So for thirty days I ate a salad for or with my lunch and dinner daily. What did I find? The more salad I ate the less junk I consumed. When I ordered a burger I’d substitute the fries for a side salad, or at lunch I’d get a salad instead of a sandwich, reducing my carb intake and eating enough filling vegetables to keep me satisfied longer. Sometimes after having a salad for lunch I didn’t want to ruin my eating for the day with junk food so I’d pass up any desserts offered.

Even though I didn’t officially give up anything, by adding a salad I ended up eating less bad food! I’m unsure if there were any pounds shred or inches lost since I didn’t check, but I definitely started feeling lighter and my body got used to craving salads on a regular basis. In previous challenges when I’d give up fried foods or sweets, resisting was hard, and I often ended up substituting one fatty food for another. By adding something healthy to my diet I had less room for fatty food and even learned to stop craving them as much, leading to better health. Who knew?!

Esta Fiesta is a New York City based lifestyle writer who focuses on style and beauty with a pinch of pop culture. In addition to managing her own blog livingfiesta.com, Esta has penned pieces for Glamazons Blog and been quoted in People StyleWatch and The Associated Press. When she’s not hunting down the best fashion and beauty deals you can find Esta trying to beat her best mile or perfecting her overhead in Pilates. Follow Esta’s tweets at @EstaFiestaPR.

By Esta Fiesta @EstaFiestaPR

HM-BlackCoral-SportsTop

Let’s be real – most of us don’t have a Lululemon budget, and we don’t want to be limited to the generic Nike pieces sold at Modell’s. Where else can you go to find cute and affordable workout clothes? More and more stores are adding performance gear to their collections, so no matter your financial or style concern, there’s somewhere to find what suits you best. Here are eight fashionable stores where you can pick up running gear that fits your style, body and budget:      

H&M Snag tanks, tights and even swimsuits from H&M, most under $30. True to its minimalist nature, the workout gear from this retailer sticks to simple designs like colorblocking.    

OldNavy-PrintedCapris

The Gap/Gap Outlet The all-American brand doesn’t just sell denim – they’ve got an extensive workout collection as well. Their GapFit legging styles cater to runners, dancers or yogis, and you can almost always get them 20-40% off. Check out their outlet store for even cheaper finds!   

[YOU MIGHT LIKE: Black Girls RUN! short sleeve tops for $24] 

Old Navy Gap sister company Old Navy has it’s own workout line as well, and you know a place that sells jeans for as low as $19 will have affordable options! If you shop here, take a look at their sports bras.   American Apparel Stick to solids from American Apparel. Their prices are closer to Lululemon than H&M but every now and then you can score a Groupon deal for 50% off.         

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Express Express launched a complete women’s workout line a few months ago, which is just as great as their other clothes. Between sales and coupons you can ALWAYS score a deal and since performance gear is sold online and in select stores only, they offer free shipping and returns with no minimum purchase required. Got large hips and an itty, bitty waist? Their leggings were made for you!  

Forever21-GeoPrintedRunningLeggings-1980  

Forever 21 The mecca of cheap trendy fashion, Forever 21 recently launched it’s own active wear section as well. Find leggings in any color other than basic black and mix and match with their tops for a fashion-forward workout look.   TJ Maxx/Marshalls If you like Nike and Adidas but don’t like their prices TJ Maxx or Marshall’s is ideal. You can snag the same pieces available at Sports Authority but for a Forever 21 price.   NordstromRack-Reebok-DSTPrintLegging  

Nordstrom Rack A step up from TJ Maxx/Marshalls is Nordstrom Rack. They’ve got active wear from traditional brands like Reebok and Puma but you can also score pieces from more high end designers like TART or Splendid.   Where do you find workout gear? Have you had any luck at any of these stores? Sound off in the comments section below!  

Esta Fiesta is a New York City based lifestyle writer who focuses on fashion and beauty with a pinch of pop culture. In addition to managing her own blog livingfiesta.com, Esta has penned pieces for Glamazons Blog and been quoted in fashion articles for the Associated Press. When she's not hunting down the best fashion and beauty deals you can find Esta trying to beat her best mile or perfecting her overhead in Pilates. Follow Esta’s tweets at @EstaFiestaPR.




I am sitting at work staring at my feet. Yes, I should have something better to do, but I wore cute gladiator sandals today, and I'm a little disappointed that I have blisters on my toes. I am wondering if it's from my running shoes or my socks - actually I'm leaning towards the socks.
So, I started looking for socks on running websites, and they are pretty pricey. For $24.99 you can get a 3-pack that keeps "your feet 25 times drier than other brands in this cushioned, high performance running sock. Rely on MicroZap antimicrobial fibers to fight odor." These are also guaranteed for a 1,000 miles! Hmmm, they fight odor and last for a 1,000 miles. Sounds too good to be true.

I think I'll stop by TJ Maxx and scour the little boys section for high quality socks under $8. Let me know what you think, is the high price running gear worth it?
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