Well, it’s official… while most of us are banging down the doors to our 2017 fitness and style goals, some of us have already fallen off the wagon! But, don’t worry, ESSENCE has just what you need to get you back on top of your game. 

We’ve partnered with celebrity trainer, Chris Sainsbury, to get the skinny on what it means to “hit the gym” and how-to workout properly (especially for those of us who’ve never worked out before). Chris has trained the likes of Rihanna, Diddy, Lauren London and more… and he’s ready to help YOU slim down and tone up, so that you can finally fit into those fashion pieces that you’ve been saving up for! 

Be sure to tune-in to our Facebook Live channel for the next two-weeks (January 25th & February 1st, at 4 PM, ET), to watch Chris teach us some of the best moves to get in shape. Take a look.

ESSENCE: How did you get involved in the business of health /wellness, and personal training? 

CHRIS:  As cliché as it sounds, fitness found me! In my early 20’s, I did not have a clear life or career direction. I was living in a dark place — spiritually, and I battled with depression — due to poor life choices. It became obvious that I needed a lifestyle change, so I made a commitment to myself. That’s when fitness became my saving grace to become a stronger person.

One night, I became lucky… Sean “Diddy” Combs saw a video of me working out and training a few people that he knew, and he asked me to train him. It didn’t go anywhere at that time, but six months later, I got a call at 2:30 AM [and] was asked to be the trainer on MTV’s Making Da Band reality TV series and from that day on, my life changed. I’m now able to have a larger voice to empower tens of thousands. Never in a million years did I think I would become a fitness trainer, but through my personal journey, I discovered the business of health and wellness. I have traveled the world and have trained various celebrities, and [am] currently the co-owner of a gym in Brooklyn, New York.  

ESSENCE: In what areas do you find us — normal people– making mistakes when hitting the gym? 

CHRIS:  Hitting the gym is great.  But, most “normal” people fail to make a lifestyle change. You have to have consistent motivation, change your habits and know when to get help, to give you the extra push.

ESSENCE: Who are some of your celebrity clients?

CHRIS:  My first celebrity client was Kelis, in preparation for her “Milk Shake” video and [Tasty] album. 

I’ve trained Marc Jacobs, Rihanna, Regina King, Lauren London, Columbus Short, Keith Robinson, Rocsi Diaz, Brandy Norwood, Chris Brown and Carl Thomas. 

ESSENCE:  Is there a major difference between women and men, in regards to establishing a workout routine. And if so, what are some of the best methods for women to follow? 

CHRIS:  No. Men and women can do the exact same workout routines and still benefit tremendously. But, go after what you find fun, yet challenging.

ESSENCE:  Can we eat whatever we want, and still stay in shape?

CHRIS:  Not possible!! Exercise is no excuse to have poor, dietary habits. My job description is not only to help you look better naked but, more importantly, my job allows me to combat bigger issues that affect basic human functionality and self-esteem. Some clients are facing a range of issues stemming from weight management (obesity), to HIV, skeletal structural damage, hypertension, and self-doubt… the list is extensive. Helping others to empower themselves -through fitness- makes me feel whole, and that is my gift to the world. Health is a 3-part entrée (exercise, rest and nutrition). If one is off, then you are guaranteed not to have maximum results. 

ESSENCE: What motivates you to defy the odds of physical fitness? 

CHRIS:  I realized a while ago that I define my own odds; so, the fear of ‘not letting myself down’ is what motivates me to defy the odds of physical fitness. Everyday that I wake up, I know that I can personally be better than who -and- what I am. Before my workouts, I go through various levels of anxiety and nervousness, but once I get going… those feelings go away. Thoughts of, ‘maybe I’m not good enough or strong enough,’ start to creep in… but I don’t let that consume me. So, once I get my ‘car in gear’ and the workout starts, then the adrenaline takes over! At that point, there is no stopping me!  

ESSENCE: Why is it important for people to stay fit… and how can we overcome the procrastination and fear of working out on a regular basis?

CHRIS:  To overcome a fear of working out, you need to redefine exercise and what it means to you. You have to remember that no one shares your body and your workouts should be enjoyable. Movement is a form of exercise, we all just need to challenge ourselves a little bit more to evoke a healthier change in our lives and find the joy in moving.

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the world; hypertension, obesity and suicide are occurring at an alarming rate. Exercise seems to be the major key to avoid many of the things that kill us before our time. 

To simplify it, exercise makes you feel good. It feeds your confidence level; you become stronger and [it] aides in stabilizing mental health. The key is really to just move, more!

ESSENCE: Where do you see yourself in the next, five years?

CHRIS:  My goal is to reach the masses. Training is effective in influencing lifestyle change, and I form great connections with clients, but personal training is just one avenue where there are many. In the next, five years… the long-term plan(s) are the following: “New York Times” Best-Selling author, host of a syndicated radio program, motivational speaker and elite personal trainer.