When I was a student at Spelman College, Imma need for you to do better, was a common phrase among my sisters. The phrase could be used to address anything – hairstyle, choice of boyfriend, exam or it could even be said in jest. Imma need for you to do better is how we reminded each other that we have fallen below our standard and needed to get back on track.
Well, Scribbles & Tostitos readers, I had to utter these words to myself today and to other Black women while I struggled through yet another kickboxing class. For those of you who don’t know, I love to kickbox. I discovered kickboxing in April of last year when things were semi-chaotic in my life and I needed an outlet, something safe to relieve all of my pent up aggression and frustration with all that was happening in my life. I took one class. The instructor told me to picture someone or a situation that was the root cause of my frustration and hit the bag as hard as I could. Well, I did just that and fell in love with kickboxing.
Kickboxing is one of the only sports that I enjoy. Something about throwing punches, kicks, elbows, and hooks on a bag just makes me feel so much better! I continued taking classes when I returned to my hometown of Atlanta at a gym called Iron Clutch Fitness. The gym is wonderful and the instructors are militant. Thirty push-ups, thirty burpees, and thirty jabs may be the warm up; 20 right kicks and 20 left kicksmay be the main course and for the final round 200 sit ups. So yep, it’s pretty intense. I’ve been taking kickboxing classes in Atlanta since April; however I am still nowhere near where I should be. I should be able to go through an entire class, follow all instructions without cheating or taking a break. But I cheat; I take breaks. And I do this because I HATE pain!
Come to think of it, I don’t know anyone who enjoys pain, but I especially abhor it. I will avoid pain at all costs even in class when my ego is on the line. Perhaps I’m afraid of failure? If I try harder and fail, then I’d feel like a loser. I hadn’t noticed that I needed to do better until I noticed that the other Black sistas in the class were struggling too. While the White women and Asian women were going through exercises effortlessly, the Black women lost their wind during sets. Black women who were taking water breaks when we were supposed to be doing burpees. It was the Black women in the class who were out of shape. Imma need for you to do better is what I wanted to say to them until I realized I was one of them.
Black women are more likely than any other racial/ethnic group to be obese or overweight. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares that 4 in 5 Black women are obese and overweight. That, ladies, is unacceptable. We need to get up, get to the gym, work out hard, sweat, push ourselves, eat right, exercise regularly, engage in social activities outside of dining at local restaurants, and make our health a priority. Black women (and I am talking to myself here too) we need to do better.