Juliet Cuthbert makes fitness her business

Juliet Cuthbert makes fitness her business

Olympian turned budding politician wants more Jamaicans to get health conscious

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, July 11, 2015

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It is Saturday morning at the fitness studio and members of the class are going through their boot camp. The woman leading the team has a familiar face and a familiar size too.

No wonder. She is Juliet Cuthbert, the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games' silver medallist in both the 100 metres and 200 metres, finishing behind the Americans Gail Devers and Gwen Torrence, respectively.

Cuthbert has been actively involved in the healthy lifestyle business for approximately 10 years now, operating her Juliet Cuthbert's Fitness Studio on West King's House Road in St Andrew.

"This is something that I've always wanted to do. Even before track and field, I knew I wanted to open a gym and I wanted to train people," she said during a break in her weekend routine.

Having made her name in track and field at the highest level, and having been associated with the healthy lifestyles of some of Jamaica's top female entertainers, as well as making a name as a commentator on sports station, KLAS FM Radio, Cuthbert recently took the decision to expand her personal interest in people by going into politics.

She is currently the caretaker/candidate for the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the unpredictable West Rural St Andrew constituency. But it is obvious that her first love has always been her healthy lifestyle, which she has transformed into a very successful business venture.

Among her main clients have been some of the most seductive female dancehall entertainers, including Cecile, Ishawna and Spice, as well as the mother figure of perennial reggae favourites, Morgan Heritage, Una Morgan.

Morgan was part of the Saturday morning boot camp crew, getting ready for the current North American tour with her siblings to promote their latest album, "Strictly Roots", after losing some 85 pounds working with the fitness expert.

"They look at me, how I am able to keep my body a certain way, and as an Olympian; and I think that they realise I have the discipline as well, and I can get results," said the just-passed-50 fitness freak.

"I wanted to get into the fitness business, because I am very health conscious: I love eating healthy, I love working out, I love weight training, and so this is the best thing for me to do," she stated.

She said that she welcomes the fact that Jamaicans are becoming a lot more health conscious, but she still thinks that more Jamaicans need to change to a healthier lifestyle.

"A lot more Jamaicans need to start exercising, because cardio-vascular diseases are the number one cause of deaths in Jamaica," she pointed out.

"There are lots of Jamaicans who are hyphertensive, which can lead to diabetes, and there are a lot of people who are already diabetic. There are a lot of people who need dialysis treatment right now, and are dying because there are not enough machines. So, we really need to get a lot more health conscious and they need to combine eating healthy and exercising to make it one," she said.

Cuthbert is also concerned about the number of women, including her own charge, Una Morgan, who are suffering from hypher-active thyroids -- a condition in which the thyroid gland becomes overactive and makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

"We see a lot of it happening in Jamaica, a few members of the gym have had it...I don't know how widespread it is and maybe we have not been paying enough attention to it, but women who are unable to lose weight or are losing weight too fast should check their thyroids," she advised.

"I think training as an athlete has contributed to my love for wellness. I have always been strict about my diet. I eat the same things most of the time. That was how strict I was with my diet, and when I was finished with track and field, I continued eating the same way, as if I was still training. So I ended up staying pretty thin and pretty small," she pointed out.

She said that the motto of her studio is, "Cuthbert's Fitness Studio is a lifestyle", and she is hoping to introduce it into the schools, eventually.

"They are taking PE out of the schools, and I want to help us to a healthier path. We have a lot of gyms, but they are mostly in Kingston. It really should be an island-wide effort, in which all of Jamaica gets involved not just with exercising, but eating a balanced meal, as well," she noted.

"Our diet contains too much starch, which turns into sugar which our body cannot break down with insulin and we end up with these problems. So we need definitely to be more health conscious when it comes to eating. The eating habit is totally off in Jamaica," she warned.

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