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Boxing is just one part of Kelechi Jaavaid's fitness routine. He thinks of different exercises as each day's fashion, mixing things up by playing basketball, practicing yoga, lifting weights and swimming.

Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

How I Got This Body: The runway routine

  • Article by: SHEILA MULROONEY ELDRED
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • December 8, 2012 - 1:41 PM

When Kelechi Jaavaid hurt his shoulder playing basketball six months ago and started gaining weight, he took a trip to visit his dad in Omaha. Both father and son love to joke around -- Kelechi does stand-up comedy -- but this time his dad's jokes about Kelechi's weight hit home.

To rehab his shoulder without surgery, the former college basketball player needed a new form of exercise. He found it in a creative approach he made up himself. He's lost the 20 pounds he gained, and said he hopes to inspire other black men with his example.

WEAR YOUR ROUTINE "I got tired of doing the same exercise, so I came up with this idea: People put on clothes to look sexy, so what if exercise was my clothes? Exercise would make me feel sexy. The body is a fashion. Boxing or hot yoga or biking would be a different way to dress up. I started to see the body as a metaphor and dressing it up differently with my fitness plan. It became fun; you don't have to do the same thing every day. I'm taking a fun-aholic and adventurous approach to fitness."

FITNESS AS FASHION "One day, I'll do boxing: three-minute rounds of heavy bag punching for six rounds with 60 seconds of rest, plus four rounds of three-minute jump roping. Throw in two sets of plank [ab exercise] for 60 seconds, and you are a champion for a day."

HIT THE COURT OR THE TRAIL "Two or three times a week I'll play five-on-five pickup [basketball] games. If I can't find a game, I'll do shooting drills. Another day, I'll bike 5 to 10 miles on the trails with good music on the iPod."

PUMPING IRON "On weight-training day, I'll start with a three-minute bike warm-up, then stretch for seven to 10 minutes. I might start out with 55s: 10 elevated push-ups and one squat, then nine push-ups and two squats, until the order is reversed. I also do wood chops, jackknifes and planks. That gets you pretty revved up. I always cool down with the sauna or steam room or whirlpool."

SORTA SPA DAY "Muscle recovery day is a light spa day: I swim five to 10 laps and run five to 10 laps in the pool, then sit in the whirlpool, sauna or steam room."

CULINARY HEAT "My wife is the parole officer on food. Angela is really an amazing cook. A typical day is a smoothie in the morning -- dairy, mixed berries, cherry juice. Then a salad at lunch -- and we can never eat iceberg lettuce, only dark greens. For dinner we usually have broccoli or spinach, brown rice, baked fish or chicken. Or sometimes it's collards and kale with potatoes or veggie omelets with oatmeal. Our treat is dark chocolate and cherry pie. Every blue moon I get to eat carbs. When you are hurt it's easy to lose control. I was cheating with fast food like fried fish and other fried veggies, but for the most part I ate well before I got hurt."

THE NEXT TEST "I dropped the weight in six months; now trying to keep it off is the challenge."

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