Keeping the Fat Back with Harold Fisher

Tracey Gold Bennett | 10/26/2011, 1:28 p.m.
Harold Fisher (right) prepares to go through the drill with participants as he gets them in shape. /Courtesy Photo

Harold Fisher is a serious journalist and local hometown hero in Prince George's County. Fisher anchors the news on 96.3, WHUR-FM radio's Daily Drum news program.

What you may not know is that Fisher teaches a fitness boot-camp class and is equally serious about health as he is about reporting the news. The Washington Informer spoke with Fisher exclusively about his quest to get others on the fitness bandwagon.

Informer: Growing up with some of the cultural culinary favorites that African Americans enjoy, how hard is it for you to maintain a healthy weight?

HF: I don't eat many of the "soul foods" I grew up with. I love fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, collards with neck-bones, etc. But I don't eat them like that anymore. I still love collards but with smoked turkey. Rarely will I eat fried chicken. I love it so much it's hard to control the craving, so I stay away from it. Baked is how I buy chicken or when I cook it myself, I get creative with seasonings and have fun with it.

Informer: How hard is it to pass on your favorites?

HF: It's not hard now, but when I was eating high fat, fried dishes with third helpings, there was no way I could maintain a healthy weight. There was also little or no exercising.

Informer: When did you get fit and what was the catalyst? What was your highest weight and what are you now?

HF: It started in the spring of 2010. I bought new shirts and one month after buying them I could not close them around my stomach! After gorging myself during Thanksgiving I looked in the mirror and saw a 240-pound slob! I couldn't take it. I started going to boot camp twice a week and core (mid-section) exercise class twice a week. I also completely changed what and how I ate. By the middle of December, I could not only fit those shirts, I had an inch to spare! I'm about 217-219 pounds now. I'm working on getting to about 200-210 pounds. I went from a 48 suit with a 40 waist to a 46 suit with a 36 waist -- broad shoulders.

Informer: Why did you decide to teach boot camp, and for people who are not as enthusiastic about exercise what would you say to encourage them?

HF: I kind of fell into teaching the class at the YMCA. The instructor's wife was pregnant with twins and he was coming sporadically. I was always showing up and would lead the class when he wasn't there. I didn't want to lose momentum, and I also wanted to keep others in the class motivated. When the instructor left the YMCA, they asked if I wanted to continue teaching the class and I said certainly.

Exercise is not fun. I get that. But not being fit isn't fun either. You have to decide what you want for yourself... vanity plays a part but I just feel better [when I'm fit]. Clothes fit better. I sleep better. I believe exercise helps you live better. In my class I'm not just working out the members, I'm cracking jokes, teasing and having fun with them to keep them interested.