Investing in Health by Building Personal Fitness

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December 3, 2020
People doing physical activities at the park

African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis county.

Episode 14: Investing in Health by Building Personal Fitness

Audio file

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Kiounis Williams, a Certified Master Personal Trainer with VisionBody Texas, a Health and Wellness Coach, and a Lay Community Health worker for the UT AMEN program and Mt. Zion Baptist Church Health Ministry.

Kiounis Williams

Kiounis Williams states the importance of investing in our health and suggests that we should treat our bodies like a temple. He explains that our body is an “internal investment” and in order to get the most out of our investment, we need to know our purpose. While there are different motivations for wanting to live a healthy life, Williams stays motivated primarily to be healthy for his family and other loved ones. He also claims that we shouldn’t see living a healthy lifestyle as a chore, but instead a “perspective of a personal purpose.”

Shannon Jones also agrees with Williams as to why living a healthy lifestyle is so important today, noting that many people do not get the recommended amount of physical activity on a daily basis. Additionally, chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer are the leading cause of premature death and disability, especially among African Americans, and yet this trend doesn’t need to continue. Both Jones and Williams also agreed that diet plays a significant role in one’s overall health and can be improved by eating out less and making healthier meals at home.

Furthermore, Williams emphasizes that mental, physical, spiritual, and financial wellness are interconnected and people can improve their overall health by holding themselves accountable. Williams adds that “discipline trumps motivation” and people need to make time throughout the day to engage in healthy behaviors, rather than rely on their motivation to make changes. People can feel motivated to live a healthy lifestyle, and yet it’s the day-to-day discipline and practice of healthy behaviors that help to create a habit, like brushing your teeth. Williams also suggests setting a budget and cutting out expenses that don’t bring benefit, and reinvesting this money into their health. Jacki Hecht recognizes that many people have struggled to stay physically active during the pandemic and Williams said this issue can be fixed by altering our mindset and viewing fitness as a priority rather than a chore. There are also low-cost community resources that promote physical exercises, such as parks, walking trails, workout apps, and online workout videos.

To learn more about personal fitness coaching, contact Kiounis Williams, Certified Master Personal Trainer, at or 936-332-2729.

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