Christopher Smith is the assistant manager of environmental services at Jefferson University Hospital. In his spare time, Smith educates and trains his fellow community members about nutrition and physical fitness at his Hunger Games Fit Camp throughout neighborhoods in Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia.
Smith’s passion for physical fitness can be seen through his active involvement as an Herbalife health coach. His goal is to encourage these communities to be proactive and consistent.
Describe your role as a community leader.
My role is to let people know that there’s healthier options out here and that when look you look at yourself, understand that the only enemy is yourself, and the biggest competition is yourself. My main focus is on being a positive light for the community.
What inspired you to pursue a health conscious lifestyle?
I’ve been working out for the last seven years and when I got laid off from my job, I used to just go to the gym and work out by myself. Then I had a couple of friends ask me, “Can I go with you?” So, I’d take them with me and we’d go work out. Then one day my sister said to me, “Yo, you should be a personal trainer.” Right? And I said, “ Nah, I’m not good with that.” But I still continued to work out, and eventually became a health coach with Herbalife.
Where are your fit camps located?
I’ve got camps in Germantown, Olney, Northeast, North Philly and Montgomeryville.
Describe what your Hunger Games Fit camp is like.
Well, Hunger Games Fit Camp is a fun, positive opportunity for people to achieve their goals without having to pay a price for it. We want everyone to have access to our camp so we host our camp around neighborhoods like Germantown, Olney, and North Philly to give those communities something to look forward to. We also build everything in our camp around family. When you come to Fit Camp, there aren’t any teams or nothing like that because we want to involve everyone and again, we want everyone to feel like a family.
Every camp is different because not everyone is looking for the same thing. Not everyone is looking to do push ups, jumping jacks, and crunches; so we felt the need to create a line dance camp, a circus training camp, a cardio camp, and a crunches camp, and then we have a run on Sundays in Montgomeryville. Our overall goal is to target different people with different needs because we want to reach the masses because everyone deserve to live a healthy life.
How does the Hunger Games Fit Camp give back to the community?
We impact the community by giving them a positive outlook and opportunities to strengthen their health, but we also teach them about nutrition. We teach them about the right things to eat, the right things to put in their body, because around here, the only option is fast food. When you want something quick that’s the first thing you go to. These fast food restaurants are deteriorating our communities because a lot of people are overweight or have serious health complications, so we try to instill a healthy mindset by exposing people to new habits.
How do you motivate the community to participate in your fit camp?
Well, for one, you cannot be negative because nobody wants to follow a negative person. I just try to keep a positive attitude. We try to tell people that 80% of your health is about what you put into your body and the other 20% is the actual fitness part. People just need to be educated so that they can achieve their fitness goal, so my biggest motivation is education and then helping people apply that education to their health through our Fit Camps.
What’s the hardest thing about maintaining your fitness?
Being consistent. Consistency is the key and what happens is people will start and then they’ll don’t know how to continue. If they see a change, they’ll just go back to what they were doing, so again the hardest thing is being consistent. You also need to surround yourself with the correct people. If you’re constantly around people who eat the wrong things, or smoke or drink, or just do things that aren’t good for you, you’ll eventually just revert back to your old ways. You just gotta be consistent.
-Text and images by Victoria Batista and Delialah Burns.