- Written by Wiley Henry
Donna Richardson Joyner, an internationally renowned fitness expert, will be in Memphis Saturday (March 24) to work out with the participants of the Healthy Church Challenge.
Donna Richardson Joyner, an internationally renowned fitness expert, will be in Memphis Saturday (March 24) to work out with the participants of the Healthy Church Challenge from 10 am. to noon at Street Ministries, 1302 North Graham St.
Donna Richardson Joyner
Janet Pointer, a certified Zumba instructor at St. Andrews AME Church, is excited about working out with Joyner.
“I work out myself,” said Pointer. “It would be nice to work out with Donna Joyner. In fact, I look forward to it.”
Christine Pigram Partee, a member of Apostolic Temple of Deliverance Church, is eager to learn the proper way to exercise.
“I’ve heard a lot about her and the things you can do to exercise, other than walking, to stay in shape,” she said. “For my age, I’m trying to gain the proper knowledge from someone with first-hand experience.”
Joyner is a certified AFAA and ACE international fitness expert who began her fitness career as an aerobics instructor. She is an author and ESPN television sports commentator who has served under Presidents Bush and Obama on the Presidential Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She is also an inductee into the Fitness Hall of Fame.
Pointer and Partee are expecting a full and challenging workout to help them achieve their weight loss goals. Joyner, on the other hand, is expecting something from them and hundreds of others.
“I am expecting enthusiasm and excitement, and a good report card from their journey so far,” she said.
Joyner also is expecting all the participants of the Healthy Church Challenge to “stay focused, stay committed, stay motivated and stay in prayer!”
Staying motivated and committed is something Naudia James knows a lot about. As the health ministry leader at Cummings Street Baptist Church, she knows the importance of staying the course to health and wellness.
“I’m definitely motivated myself, and we’re definitely trying to keep our people motivated,” said James, who is familiar with Joyner’s Body Gospel workout video. “It’s good that she’s giving us that extra nudge as we continue on this healthy lifestyle journey.”
Staying focused and committed to the fitness program comes down to personal commitment, said Joyner.
“Those who stick with an exercise regimen are committed and obedient. They…are motivated to achieve their goals, while others need more motivation and need more information. They lack proper preparation and planning and may lack commitment to changing old habits.”
After Joyner’s workout with participants on Saturday, she will return for the Obesity Summit on June 16. The event is free and open to the public. The finale is June 17 at the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival in Douglass Park. Participants will walk around as gospel music reverberates across the park and winners of the Challenge will be announced.
The church that has the greatest percentage of weight loss will win a $5,000 gift certificate to a sporting goods store and nutritional counseling. The individual who loses the most weight will receive a $500 gift certificate to a sporting goods store as well.
“In the majority of projects I am a part of, I kick it off and I close it out,” said Joyner. “In order to set this event up for maximum success, we realized the importance of my role at the beginning as well as the end.”
Joyner said it has been her experience that if you can capture the behavior in the beginning and stay with individuals as they take those first steps, help them see progress and results, then you have increased the chances that they will succeed.
“In any program that you do,” she added, “you have to have follow-through in order for change to happen.”
The next weigh-in is Saturday, April 7, at the Church Wellness Center, 1115 Union Ave., from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Along with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the Challenge is sponsored by Baptist Memorial Health Care, News Channel 3, Hallelujah 95.7 FM, The New Tri-State Defender, and the Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival.
For more information, call 901-278-0881 or visit Facebook.com/TheHealthyChurchChallenge.