Health

How This Maryland Woman Fell in Love With Exercise by Joining Black Girls Run, Balances Teaching Yoga and Training for Races, and Is Staying Healthy During the Pandemic

Photo courtesy of Adina Crawford.

Welcome to Busy Bodies, where we ask busy Washingtonians how they balance health and fitness while working crazy hours, raising a family, and meeting the demands of the daily hustle. Know someone who’s killing the fitness game while getting it done (maybe it’s you)? Email [email protected]washingtonian.com

During the work day, Adina Crawford, 56, is a civilian manager for the Montgomery County police department. But when the Germantown resident isn’t at her full-time job, she’s waking up early to work out and train for races, teaching yoga, co-hosting the health and wellness podcast Fit Black Queens, and serving as an ambassador for Black Girls Do Bike, Black Girls Run, and the Trek Women’s Advocates group.

Well, pre-Covid, that is. “Due to the pandemic, so much has slowed down—not to a screeching halt, but it has slowed down,” says Crawford. Now she’s working from home several days a week and squeezing in cycling, running, or a virtual strength training or yoga class when she can. And while she’s no longer teaching yoga in-person, she is leading virtual restorative yoga classes, as well as meditation classes.

Crawford started her fitness journey several years ago, when she joined the group Black Girls Run. “I was struggling with my weight, well over 300 pounds, and just not motivated to do any exercise,” she says of her mindset prior to joining BGR. But the community she found there inspired her to keep going, and today, fitness—be it swimming, cycling, running, strength training, or yoga—is an integral part of her life.

“Exercise boosts my mood, controls my blood sugar, and increases my daily stamina,” says Crawford, who has Hashimoto’s disease. “It is truly hard and sometimes I have to give up events, social hours, and other activities to fit in my own fitness. I stay motivated because it is a necessary for me to ward off the diseases that plague our race. I know the benefit in the end is worth it.”

Here’s how she gets it done:

“I had been working from home, but as of late, I have been in the office at least three days a week and teleworking the other two. The pandemic has upended my daily routine from being able to work out early in the morning pre-Covid [and resulted in] sweeping adjustments as to when and how I will get my workout in—mainly in the evenings now. It seems teleworking has me working harder with very little time to spare for ‘me’ time.

“Breakfast is oatmeal with fruit, a smoothie, and egg whites, or, on occasion, an omelette with toast. Lunch is a bowl with chicken and veggies and salad, or salmon with rice and vegetables. Dinner is lamb, chicken, or turkey with basmati rice, veggies, and salad.

“I have two big accomplishments that still have me glowing. I completed my first full marathon in 2017 in Chicago. I never thought I would be part of the one-percent [of people who run marathons], but I am. [I completed] my first Ragnar Challenge with the awesome ladies of Black Girls Run in Atlanta in 2018. [I also] led women from all over the world in yoga in Bermuda [earlier this year]—that was such a profound experience.

“Black Girls Run has been a complete godsend for me. It wasn’t until I met the BGR ladies of Germantown that I kickstarted my fitness journey. I haven’t looked back since. I am so grateful for these ladies because the sisterhood is so welcoming. I got involved [with Black Girls Do Bike] about four years ago and really embraced [this] organization of women inspired to get women of color out on the bikes and moving. Women of all shapes, sizes, and color are part of this dynamic group.

“Before I make any plans or commitments, I ensure that once a week I am doing [some] self-care for myself, whether it’s a manicure-pedicure, massage, or just laying around the house. I make that a priority for myself weekly. I have learned that being a hustler, [I can’t lose] sight of what is important—which is me. I do my best and try not to spread myself too thin. Sometimes I just have to say no to opportunities.

“Having Hashimoto’s disease has been a challenge, especially with my weight and the constant fluctuation. I try to control my food intake and continue to keep a solid exercise regimen. There have been times that I just wanted to give up because of my own personal expectations of where I should be. [But] I have come to a point in my life [where] movement is movement—I just keep going. In the end, it is a complete state of mental, social, and physical wellbeing and making choices toward overall wellness.

“These past few months [of the pandemic] have shown me that you have to continue to keep the focus on yourself by turning your lens inward and doing some self-introspection. I took this time to get certified in HIIT, agility, strength, and mind-body, and I will be completing my certificate in women’s entrepreneurship. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to slow down and ramp up my skill set with certifications. Right now, that is winning for me.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.