Thursday, August 30, 2018

See Why Rev. Donna James Is A Living Testament On Health

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Preaching That's Fit For Healthy Living

Interview With Kamau Austin And Rev. Donna James

Rev. Donna James is a multifaceted minister.  She is a devote woman of faith, who is also proud of her African heritage, social justice, and fitness.

She does over 15 fitness classes a week looking to increase health in Southeast Queens.  I was able to get the busy fitness advocate and minister of the gospel to share with me her unique perspective on her call to get us in shape.. 

Kamau Austin: Can you tell us a little about your background and life growing up in Southeast Queens or your hometown?  Can you also tell us more about your early life?

Rev. Donna James: I was born in Brooklyn but raised in St. Albans, Queens. I’m from a large family (9 children and the middle, or 5th child).  I was Raised by both parents who are currently deceased.

Although being the middle child, I have always operated as the eldest (smile). I attended St. Catherine of Sienna, elementary school and then went on to Fashion Industry HS. 

Kamau Austin: What inspired you to go into your present fitness profession or business?

Rev. Donna James: I was what you would call a "Big Girl" for a good part of my life,  but I've always loved dancing and at times working out. While living overseas, in South Africa, for three years, I really got serious about my weight and fitness, but unfortunately upon returning home I put the weight back on.

Again, I got into the gym and this time I started taking a variety of fitness classes at the Y and I guess you can say that I found my passion. Having been overweight and then being able to lose it, I wanted to help others who were going through the same things that I did. I knew the struggle first hand. 

Kamau Austin: What is the name of your company and services you offer in your fitness service business?

Rev. Donna James: HisTemple (1 Corinthians 6:19) I offer fitness instruction from Senior Chair exercises to Boot Camp for the intermediate/advanced clients, and everything in between. My current formats are: Sr Chair; Low Inpact, Cardio Kickboxing, Boot Camp, SPIN, and Total Body Explosion. Currently I'm studying for my Personal Trainer certification and will also be getting certified in ZUMBA Gold, Kettle bells to name a few.

I will also be training with the Diabetes Prevention Program to be one of their Lifestyle Coaches which will greatly enhance what I'm doing in the fitness area.

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Interview With Rev. Donna James Continues Below...

Kamau Austin: Did you have any role models in life, ministry, or business?

Rev. Donna James: Yes, I've trained under some extraordinary instructors who encouraged me to get certified because they saw something in me...I guess what they saw was my PASSION! 

Kamau Austin:  What is the uniqueness in your fitness instruction in contrast to similar businesses in the area?

Rev. Donna James: I guess you can say that my "hook" is my age. I am 65!!! Most people don't start this journey at this age but I'm able to encourage other active adults that it is never too late to make changes in your life, and that truly age is just a number.  

Kamau Austin: Can you tell us about some of the challenges you've had in building your fitness studio business or ministry and how did you overcome them?

Rev. Donna James: When looking at HisTemple from a ministry standpoint, my desire was to take this to the church at large. Most churches when we "fellowship" with each other it is ALWAYS around food. The Body of Christ touches many aspects of our lives but the physical was and is lacking.

HisTemple also is not about loosing weight but taking responsibility of this temple and doing all we can to keep it strong, healthy and in shape. Focusing on our food and exercise. My challenge is that a lot of the "church folk" don't want to put in the work.

They desire to be healthy and in shape but shy away from actually DOING THE WORK necessary to accomplish it.  I currently offer my services to quite a number of venues:

Jamaica YMCA

Greater Allen Cathedral

Dabar Bethlehem Cathedral

ElmCor Adult Services (2 locations) and...

Rochdale Village Community Center (this particular class is under the Parks Department "Shape Up NYC" where I'm a volunteer instructor) I do this class for back to the community.

I've recently had to cancel two other locations: 1 in Brooklyn (too far a commute, I don't drive) and another at a church location (due to poor attendance) although I continued to offer services for a year. 

Kamau Austin: Can you tell us about some of your goals and plans for the future of your fitness business or ministry? What do you need to improve your fitness instruction business?

Rev. Donna James: My dream/goals/plans is to have a building, that ONE place where you work out of. I'm retired but work more that when I was one of the working population...the only difference is that I LOVE what I do, but having a building would take the 'hustle' out of it.

My "Dream Building" would have state of the art equipment, but it won't be a gym. It would be a place where personal trainers could take and train their clients and also work out themselves.

It would also free me up from teaching so many classes. Currently, I'm teaching 15 classes a week and once I receive my PT certification that will increase. I'm not naive and know quite well that I will NOT be working my body the way that I'm currently for a long period of time but I will still desire to see lives changed. 

Kamau Austin: What is the best way to contact you? 

Rev. Donna James: Contact me at my cell # 646-525-7044

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