- In our ongoing attempt to introduce you Queens to a healthier way of living, please consider this fact: according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Black Americans are "20% less likely to engage in active physical activity than white Americans." We don't want you to fall within that statistic, sis!
And we're not the only ones. Sharing in our desire for a healthier, Black community is GrpFit (Group Fit). This communal, "fitness made for you" app was founded by Richard Bailey and Chris Ketant with one goal in mind: to make "our community a more fit and healthier one starting with YOU."
I had the pleasure to speak with co-founder and CEO, Richard Bailey, on how to explore and feature fitness workouts with GrpFit, what actions plans need to be taken to lower the obesity rate in the Black community, and why it is important to nurture the body after a workout.
21Ninety: How did the concept for GrpFit come to be? What inspired you and Chris Ketant to create a fitness platform for the Black community?
Richard Bailey: Prior to starting GrpFit, we were focusing on another project called CrowdFit, which allowed users to find exercise partners based on their exercise style and fitness goals. After a few months of CrowdFit being live, our growth and engagement hit a wall. Then, we decided to go back to the drawing board to figure out what changes we needed to make it.
During this time, we started to a ton of new fitness apps pop up that focused on some type of social aspect as it relates to health and fitness. However, we did not see anything that was dedicated to the Black community. At the same time, we ran into several stats that proved that the Black community is disproportionately affected by several health issues. For example, studies show that 76% of us are either overweight or obese and 43% of us have high blood pressure. These stats were very eye-opening so we decided to take action and pivot to GrpFit.
RB: In some cases, Black women are more disproportionately affected by certain health issues. So, it was important for us to provide a product and user experience that allows Black women to come on board and see the other Black women of GrpFit living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. GrpFit provides a safe and uplifting community filled with motivational posts, guided workouts and health and fitness articles. Essentially, GrpFit provides all the tools and resources needed for Black women to start, share and complete their health and fitness journey.
21N: What are some workouts you recommend GrpFit users add to their fitness routine?
RB: Some of our most popular workouts are our High-Intensity Interval Training routines, particular our Glutes & Legs H.I.I.T. workout. These workouts are intense and can be done in 20 minutes or less. All of our workouts require little to no equipment, so they can be done at anytime and anywhere.
21N: Prior to GrpFit, your career-background consists of graduating from RIT with a degree in computer engineering. Following graduating from RIT, you landed a job in corporate finance and business ops at Intel while obtaining you MBA at Vanguard University. Today, you are the CEO for a leading fitness platform in the Black community. What has been the most rewarding aspect—as an entrepreneur—since launching GrpFit?
RB: There are several milestones that make me proud since starting this journey. However, what makes me the most proud is that we have developed a product that tackles a severe issue in the Black community and that users love and enjoy. For generations, we have been experiencing health disparities, so it is very fulfilling to be the first consumer tech product tasked with making our community a more fit and healthier one.
Photo: Rich Bailey
21N: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Black women are 60% more likely to be obese than white women. What kind of action plans need to be in place to begin lowering those numbers?
RB: A lot of health issues can be traced back to a lack of access. Whether it’s not knowing how to live a healthy life with a history of health issues in your family, not knowing how to properly exercise, or not knowing what are the food alternatives you should incorporate in your eating habits.
We as a community need to do a better job with encouraging others to live a healthy lifestyle. We have to provide others with the information that they need. We have to educate each other on the consequences that come with living a certain way. And we need to be willing to point each other in the right direction so we know where to go to get the necessary information.
21N: As an expert nutritionist, in your humble opinion, what are some meal plans or diet courses you would recommend?
RB: There are several diets out there, and it seems as if there’s a new and trendy one every year. You have Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Paleo, etc. But honestly speaking, none of these diets significantly perform better than the rest when it comes to weight loss or any other physical goal. There are some mental and lifestyle benefits that may set some of these diets apart. However, you can find transformation success stories with every type of diet out there.
What I usually suggest is that you find a plan that works for your goals, and that you can enjoy and sustain. This will allow you to be consistent and go long enough to start seeing the necessary results. When this happens, it will no longer be a “diet” and it will be your way of life. Diets by definition have a start and end to it. For example, I know I can’t do the Keto diet because my #1 goal is to build muscle. This requires me to have a sufficient amount of protein in my meals that I can not get with doing Keto.
21N: Beginning February 4th, you will lead a 7-day take over challenge on our 21Ninety Daily Newsletter to provide our subscribers with beneficial fitness tips. One tip, in particular, our #BossWomen can expect to learn involves post-workout recovery — why is it as important to nurture the body after a workout as much as it is before?
RB: Recovery is so important because it is during this process that your muscles will repair and grow, which is what leads to you getting that nice toned body. Working out actually tears down muscle tissue, and thus, is only part of the process. If you aren’t taking your recovery seriously, then you aren’t putting your body in the most optimal position to reach your goal.
Recovery is an umbrella topic of several tactics that you can implement in your journey. These tactics include sufficient sleep, proper nutrition, tissue work (massage therapy, foam rolling, etc.) and proper stretching. It is very important to implement some combination of these methods, if not all.
Proper recovery also allows you to be fully prepared for your next intense workout session and can help decrease the risk of injury.
21N: In addition to your week-long fitness challenge, beginning February 25th, GrpFit will also generously giveaway a free fitness eBook to one lucky winner. What sort of treasures can women anticipate to find inside your eBook?
RB: We have this amazing free exercise eBook that will give women the basic fundamentals of how to create their own exercise plan. Here are a few things that women will learn from this guide and will help them reach their fitness goals:
- How to understand who you are and what is your starting point
- How to pick the right exercise style for you
- How making small adjustments create long-lasting results
- How to stay motivated
- How to target specific areas and recover from your routine
21N: Who are some Black influential entrepreneurs that have inspired you?
RB: When my passion for health and fitness started to grow, I looked up to a few Black entrepreneurs/influencers. People like Chris Jones, Mike Rashid, Brandon Carter, and Massy Arias all showed me that it was possible to build a career that centers around changing people’s lives through health and fitness.
21N: Do you have any final words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to launch their own thriving business + mobile app?
RB: Research, validate, build and iterate...then repeat that process in a quick and efficient way for every milestone along the way. There’s no single path to being a successful entrepreneur, but every founder will tell you that those steps are critical when you are working on your own venture.
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