Profile: Queen Of Fitness

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Just look at a few of her accomplishments and you will know definitely why this Harlem native is someone you should watch. AFAA Certified Group Instructor, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, USA Weightlifting Coach, Dancer/Choreographer, Freelance Writer, Fitness Model and, oh, when she is not doing all of that she is working towards earning her Master’s in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University.
“I’ve always been hyperactive,� she says when she talks about her grade school days of training at the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Take one good look at her picture and an uninhibited mind will tell you to watch out cuz’ this lady don’t take no . . . Ask her a question and she will give you the before, the after, what went on in between and then raise an eyebrow to ask if she was thorough enough.  That is Makeda Voletta Benjamin, 24, who is wise beyond her years with a business sense that could win an “Apprenticeâ€? or two but who is so down-to-earth you would swear she was from the backyards of Kentucky.  “I just like information,â€? she says as she casually comments on her tendency to want to know, what, where, when and how.

Just look at a few of her accomplishments and you will know definitely why this Harlem native is someone you should watch. AFAA Certified Group Instructor, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, USA Weightlifting Coach, Dancer/Choreographer, Freelance Writer, Fitness Model and, oh, when she is not doing all of that she is working towards earning her Master’s in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University.

“I’ve always been hyperactive,� she says when she talks about her grade school days of training at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and her athletic twin brother motivating her join the girls’ basketball team, fencing, soccer and track and field. Asked whether she had considered professional dancing, she responds: “I did, but they don’t make enough money..I want to make a lot of money, not so I can buy 10 cars but to be able to bring attention to certain issues, give some away and to live comfortably.�

Makeda became a certified fitness instructor during her freshman year as Bio technology major at the University of Delaware because she enjoyed exercising and she wanted to make a decent amount of money in the shortest amount of time, but a track injury was a pivotal point in her life because it made her realize the disparities between how you view and treat your own body.  It influenced her to change her course of study to Exercise and Sports Science and to get certified as a personal trainer so she can touch one life at a time –her specialty; helping entertainers and professional athletes meet their fitness goals.

“There are a lot of talented athletes that don’t reach their full potentialâ€? because of the lack of proper training.  . . “Or maybe an actress just needs to get physically fitâ€? for a strenuous role and “you need someone who can relate.â€? A public speaker and writer, she is determined to bridge the gap between researchers and health care practitioners stating that “medical doctors, coaches and trainers are doing things that researchers have proven to be unhealthy but they are still doing if because are they do not read the “dry and technicalâ€? research journals. “There needs to be a writer that can take that researchâ€? and write in a manner that even every day people can understand.  A model for fitness, Makeda practices what she preaches—competing in the Fitness America Competition and posing in various publications. “I don’t want to only train people with a lot of money!!!â€? she declares when describing her ultimate goals, yet adds, “I don’t want to work for anyone else ever again!â€? And with her intellect and natural empowerment she won’t ever have to—her goals include growing her already thriving personal training business. Yet she wants to help those who can’t afford training as well.

Makeda would like to form a non-profit company where teenagers will be educated in health nutrition/fitness and provide physical training on a sliding scale—meaning that if an individual is receiving welfare assistance or if they are below a certain income level then they will not have to pay.   “But I will be well paid,â€? she cautions, “if an actress needs to be trained for a multi-million dollar film.â€? She also aspires to start a grassroots advocacy peer education group where teenagers will conduct presentations for their peers on practicing a healthy lifestyle. And then “ultimately when I’m like 40,â€? she plans to open up a special retreat for athletes to analyze what they need to do to make them become better competitors. “I measure success not by the amount of money you make but by the amount of people you’ve helped to inspire,â€? she notes.

Makeda is a frequent guest on WBAT 99.5 FM on the “Round-a-bout Midnight� show on Wednesdays from midnight to 2 a.m. You can also read some of her articles on various websites and publications including: TheBlackWorldToday.org, vevlvetaddiction.com, ‘On Fitness� magazine, “Hush� magazine and “The Brooklyn Free Press� bi-monthly newspaper.

To learn more about the training, fitness and educational programs, Makeda can be reached at 917-749-2546 or via e-mail at
makedavoletta@eliteartandscience.com.

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