A fest to sweat

Hands high: Fitness enthusiasts exercise at the Sweat Fete fitness party at JLoft events in Flatlands on April 8.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Call it festive fitness.

A few hundred health and party enthusiasts got to break a sweat and get down to music, at the first Sweat Fete in East Flatbush on April 8.

The event was an opportunity for guests to work out, have fun, and learn a few things about physically and mentally taking care of their bodies. The first-time event also was a chance to show people how they can both party and explore how beneficial fitness is to health recovery, said the organizer Cynthia Jean.

“We sweat when we party, and sweat for our health, so we can also sweat and party for our health,” she said.

As a breast cancer survivor, Jean said she hosted the event as an outreach to the Caribbean community encouraging physical fitness, and to share her road to recovery beating cancer.

“This is not something that happens and it’s not common especially in our community,” she said. “I was 33 years old when I was diagnosed and an important part of my recovery, aside from treatment, was exercising and working out — life is short and I didn’t want to be in bed all day and I made most of it.”

She said awareness was a vital preventative measure Caribbean Americans need to employ because of health disparities, and lack of information.

“I wanted to do something about health because I’m all about educating the public and how they can eat right,” said Jean. “I want to people to notice health changes for early detections, because within our community we die more because we discover it so late.”

Fitness trainer Johnny Rich, left, and organizer and founder of Spring Forward Consulting, Cynthia Jean, at Sweat Fete fitness party on April 8.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

At the event, participants sweated off to zumba, jumping jacks, push-ups, and other types of exercises. And they even got to learn some other health benefits from the juice bar and a nutritionist, said Jean.

“They enjoyed the workout and the juice bar,” she said. “The chef showed them what they can make and how to make the various juices.”

Jean founded her business Spring Forward Consulting just after discovering she was cancer free. She said with her background in social work it was easy for her to research information about her diagnosis, but others may not know where to look and she provides that information, she said. And she emphasizes that despite health concerns, stress and mental health is a major factor in that.

“That’s why I believe in working out — when you are stressed, working out gives you something to relieve,” said Jean. “What’s going through your mind affects your body and that’s how powerful the mind set is — so if you think positive you can do it. Go walking, or on a treadmill, and occupy your mind and relieve stress.”

Karen Richard sorts out raffle tickets for guests at the event.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

With eyes on another Sweat Fete, Jean says she hopes to host another one as soon as June. For more information on July Sweat Fete, contact Jean at [email protected]springforwardconsult.com.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

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