my grandparents raised me so oftentimes we would go to the very deep, rural South. So if my grandma and great-grandmother had watermelons, everyone had watermelon. If my great-grandfather and grandfather went fishing, everyone ate fish. I say that to just say the lifestyle is something you share. Just like we share bad habits, we’re sharing good habits. So as a community of people, it feels good to know that when you hit the track, somebody is going to be walking out there with you and you get to connect with people who can give you new advice and knowledge on different things to do. I appreciate that sense of community. They say “If you want to go somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a group.”
BDO: Was there any specific approach from the “Live to the Beat” campaign that you applied to your own health journey?
KM: The app (Pulse Check) is dope. Apps make it easier when you’re able to all of a sudden look at your phone and see what I’m about to eat, how many calories I’m putting in my mouth, how many steps you take in a day, or how much resistance training you should do today. I think that that makes it a lot easier. The technology part was probably one of my favorite parts and I’m not usually a technology guy. I still like listening to music in my old school cars on CDs. But it really is cool to have, in your phone, a tool that helps you understand everything from the science of eating clean to how to live properly and what to exercise on a particular day.
BDO: Have you experienced any challenges? How do you choose to be healthy every day?
KM: Understanding that every day is a new day. There are going to be some days you get off course. Dairy Queen may win during the day and you eat an ice cream cone. Just make sure you don’t eat three ice cream cones and drink two Coca-Colas. Even if you say hey I’m having a good time, but the rest of the day I’m eating clean and I’m getting my butt up and getting to the gym in the morning. Shout out to Al Claiborne, Claiborne Fit FX, he’s helped me in my journey. He’s helped me understand that every day you get an opportunity to move your body, you get an opportunity to get stronger. It’s going to happen day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year. It’s not going to happen overnight, so I would tell people to give themselves some grace and be forgiving of themselves, but kick your own butt and make yourself get out of bed and move around.
BDO: Going back to your doctor’s appointment for a bit. Were there any warning signs prior to your appointment?
KM: No. I move around a lot and she didn’t tell me by your diagnosis you’re on the road to heart disease. She just said you’re a big guy, you’re not eating well. So I did not get diagnosed with early heart disease or anything like that. What I was diagnosed with was ‘hey you have dehydration, you have exhaustion, you’re a big guy, you don’t sleep right, you’re a rock and roller, you’re sleeping on the bus. If you continue this, the other side of this is things like heart disease or cardiovascular disease or diabetes. But if you correct your course now, you can salvage a pretty good life for the next 30-40 years.’ And that’s what I’m in the process of doing.
BDO: You mentioned some of the progress you’ve made in losing weight and getting healthier with your family. Are there any other goals you have for your health journey?
KM: Just get stronger, build more muscle, and lose more fat. I’m 6’2. I got broad shoulders. I got all my hair still. I’m a handsome guy, so maybe I’ll get on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine in the next couple of years. That’s the goal.
BDO: Do you have any advice for people who may be suffering from heart disease?
KM: For the people suffering, just listen to what your doctor is saying, listen to what your nutritionist is saying and I wish you the best because the heart, like any other muscle, is capable of enduring a lot more than we think. Just do what they’re saying and keep a positive attitude and spirit. What I have to say to Black folks is let’s just pick a time of the evening and everybody come out of their house and take a walk together. Let’s get outside. Mark “Smelly” Bell and his brother Chris Bell are physical fitness guys. Mark was a powerlifter, who used to be over 300 pounds. Mark got on his fitness journey to cut weight in his training to run the marathon and he came down and gave me some tips. Mark is about figuring out how to keep tricking your body into doing the right thing. So he’s like Mike after you eat, do a 10-minute walk. And you think of it as ‘yeah, I can walk 10 minutes’, but in 10 minutes you’ve done a half mile to a mile. Your body required the energy from that meal. When you look at us as primal animals, essentially to eat, you used to have to hunt it or go forage for it or go fight it, now it’s kind of reversed. Now you’ll eat, but you need to move your body afterward so that your body is using the energy. Fat is just stored energy, so use the energy to make sure your body stays balanced. That’s what I’m in the habit of mastering now and I think that if we, as human beings, just do more of that, once we eat dinner and enjoy one another, we’ll walk together. Just give yourself that balance and give yourself grace. Every day you’re not going to be Miss Olympia, but if you manage to get in there for the first 10 minutes, you’ll stick around and your mind will get concentrated and you’ll do it.
BDO: What are you most proud of in your partnership with this campaign?
KM: I’m proud that it was right there on the West side of Atlanta, GA and I’m proud that I saw so many beautiful Black and brown faces in that building making sure that they’re taking care of themselves so they could be here with their loved ones for as long as possible.
BDO: Anything else you’d like to add?
KM: Just stay encouraged and encourage everyone around you. Hit that track in the morning, hit the weight room, encourage one another, be kind to yourself and forgiving of yourself and it’s a journey. We’re all on it together, we’re going to go far.
Ready to take the first steps to improve your health? Visit Live to the Beat for more information and healthy lifestyle tips.