A.J. Johnson: The AJ Zone

by Jennifer Valentine

ajheadshothr.jpg Rarely have I been so inspired to stop making excuses and try to consistently incorporate exercise into my everyday routine. From one phone call, I was convinced. Speaking with AJ Johnson had me feeling motivated and unstoppable. I wasn’t talking to a celebrity but a new friend who is truly passionate about sharing her insight about fitness, spiritual oneness and nutrition. What did I learn? Exercise should not be a chore or a segment of life, but rather a component. Fitness doesn’t have to mean trekking off to the gym and spending thirty minutes on the elliptical. Health and wellness embodies more than calorie counting and stomach crunching; it’s more than physical. Via The AJ Zone, Ms. Johnson personally guides you through a three phase, 12-week program (the same program that both she and her Hollywood clients follow!), helping you to develop a total health and wellness lifestyle.

Q: Now, I’m sure our readers recognize you as an actress. What they may not know about is your dedication to health and fitness. Have health and fitness always been a passion of yours?
Not really. I’m the baby of all brothers so I’ve always been athletic. I’ve had to shoot five-foot free throws to sit at the table. It was never a health and wellness focus until I lost my mother to a short battle with thyroid cancer. I was a freshman at college. I had been at school for two weeks and my mother died. How does that happen to a healthy woman? We didn’t even know what a canned good looked like. So, I decided to research and investigate to figure out and understand how as well as accept losing my mother.

Health and fitness derived from my concern for my own health, losing my mother and my love for sciences. I started to live and apply it but then I lost my father in 2003. That really did it. As an actress, my father asked, ‘When are you going to own something?’ He said I was essentially a hired actress, that I needed to talk to Mr. Paramount. That was dad’s last message . . . that I was the health and fitness joke. He said, “I didn’t listen to you. I teased you. You’re amazing. You’re helping people. Do your thing!” To deal with both my parents gone, and in order to not go crazy, I had to do something to educate people. I have been so blessed. I left Spelman College, and there’s no reason why I’ve done as well as I’ve done in Hollywood!

Q: You’re more than a trainer, you’re a wellness coach. What exactly does that entail?
I’m not even a trainer. For me, most trainers focus primarily on fitness. When I say fitness I mean not even the most productive way of working out. Working out is so physical and biological. The whole focus and foundation of a productive workout is to control your heart rate. I have chosen to marry my premed background with my athletic background with my psychology background and spiritual focus. And that’s where you get the wellness. Every thing’s emotional. It’s more than just food. Food is where we go trying to not deal with the issue. Let’s fix the issue! And the meantime lets fix the components. It’s coaching one into wellness.


Q: What is The AJ Zone and what inspired its launch?
The AJ Zone is a total wellness concierge company. We do whatever it takes to help one with adjusting one’s lifestyle into better health. In LA we have a facility with one on one coaching. In Hollywood, traveling is the excuse for people not being healthy. I try to create a place that says, “Hey there’s another way to combat the negativity of Hollywood.” It launched in 2001.

Q: You use the same plan with Zone members as you do with celebrity clients. How does that work?
We have programs designed that are the same as celebrities. We have three tier programs on the website. My biggest thing when I travel is to educate people to do their own research. Catering to individual needs . . . that’s why I haven’t done DVDs and books because some people will say, “That doesn’t work for me.” I want to come to you and say “This is what works for me, let’s adjust it to your style.”

Q: I personally dread going to the gym and find little excitement working out. What do you do to get your clients and Zone members pumped about fitness?
That’s why I like doing retreats . . . some early workouts in the sun on the beach, prayer and meditation! Think of your wish list for your life. That to me is a better workout than a 20 minute run on a treadmill. Stop looking at exercise as exercise! Make it a part of your life. Not just the gym. Walk!

“Exercise is not a segment of your life but a component!”

Q: You recently appeared on Michael Baisden’s show, Baisden After Dark to discuss obesity in Black America. How do you feel about the physical health in the Black Community?
It’s atrocious, to say the least. That’s not pointing a finger at anyone. It is what it is. That’s another reason why I dedicate my passion and attention to the African-American community and state of wellness. The 2006 statistics say we comprise 65 percent of the unhealthiest people. We come in at number one. That’s a race I don’t think we want to win. It comes from a lack of education and motivation—having the knowledge and not applying it. It’s the same issue with everyone. Same issue repeated over and over again. Let me get out to the community! If I can come to your town and help one person . . . Healthy living is contagious. I don’t beg people to do anything.

Q: I have to be honest, after checking out The AJ Zone, I feel inspired to make an effort to stay consistently active . . . especially with summer right around the corner. I ordered new running shoes the other day, in fact!
I love it! Like you said, you may have a hang nail but if AJ’s doing what she’s doing with a broken foot, you can do it with a hurt toe. I have fun doing what I do! It’s not a job! That’s like heaven on earth!

For more information about AJ Johnson’s wellness movement, visit www.theajzone.com

  • http://www.renaissanceblackwoman.blogspot.com Eb

    I saw her a couple months ago at a Lifetime event. She looks amazing and has such a sweet spirit.

    Everytime I see her I still think of House Party but its good to see that she is still doing amazing things to make a difference in the black community

  • Ellen Lee

    I saw AJ in Atlanta at an Alli Promotion, she was so inspiring and realistic with her health approach. We had so much fun as we were walked through a basic day of healthy living. At the end we danced to the “cupid suffle”, what a workout. It is so good to meet someone who is really real about helping people. I will never forget this as I continue on my journey of healthy living.

  • EX AJ Johnson fan

    I think everyone should take a look at AJ’s prejudice views on obesity particularly in women. She spoke really strongly on the “Michael Baisden Show” about how a slim women and a overweight women could not be friends. You should really check this episode out before we name this woman as inspiring she did not inspire me at all.

  • http://GlennishaMorgan.Blogspot.com Glennisha

    Yea I saw that episode and I think her comment was really far fetched and unrealistic. Her comments about slim and bigger women going out to eat together come on. It was a little ignorant. She said some stuff like I’ll want to have sushi and a big woman would want hamburgers. That was very superficial.

  • MZ J

    Over the years I have grown into a beautiful 18 plus size women. I have a genetically thin friend when her and I go out to dinner. I like to select restaurants that have many food options. She on the other hand insist that we go to places inexpensive places that allow her to graze endlessly. All the while she gourges herself she is looking at my plate saying ” I don’t know how you gain weight you really do not eat very much….Oh! are you going to finish your food? If not I’ll take it home and eat it later. I can’t count the number of times she has made that comment. The Kicker is that she is in denial as to how much she actually consumes. In addition She is always wanting someone to tell her that she is loosing weight. There is not much to loose when you are built likea boy. Having said all of that, thin people have fears, phobias and insecurities. Because a person excels at one thing does not mean they have all their life under the same control. MZ J

  • joyce

    Here in Atlanta May 2,2009 at my Black is Beautiful event AJ Johnson was there and she was wonderful so much information and she look very fit and what an beautiful spirit she has. When i left there i felt very lifted excited and came home and thourgh out all my seasoning i use to cook with so i want to say thank you thank you for making me want to do better. I really enjoyed every thing she had to give and offer me and everyone else to do Better. Thanks AJ.

    Be Bless

  • bj

    Well that is to bad if the truth hurt, don’t be mad at AJ , be mad at what you look at in the mirror. It amaze me when folks get angry when you try and help them for their own health and benefits. Get it together sister.

  • http://comcast.net ms. zamila duhart

    dear ms. johnson. my name is zamila duhart. i am writing you because i am tired of being fat. for the past ten years i have done and tried everything to lose weight. i am a single mother of 7. all but 2 of my children are grown. i cannot afford your price for your timr. please ms. johnson i want to lose this weight. i weigh 258lbs. im begging you for help. im am diabetic and have hgh blood pressure. I WANT TO BE SLIM AND FIT AGAIN. will you please help me please. i live in the city of detroit. 313 926 1722 7296 artesian st. det mich 48228

  • Lesley

    Ms. Zamila,
    It is hard to lose the weight. Begin by incorporating small changes in your life – walking each day for 1/2 hour, then gradually increasing. Search the internet for free help (meal plans, excersize that does not require you go to the gym), it is there and stick with it. It will not come off immediately, it has to be worked at. I have been overweight most of my life. In two years I will be 50 and I decided to do something about my weight. I have not lost weight, but I am beginning to build muscle and eventually that muscle will begin to burn the excess fat. Just start small, set goals for your self and make sure your rewards are not food related, but something that can give you pleasure, like a movie you want to see. I wish you good luck.

  • Samantha

    Might be superficial, but not far from the truth. It is very easy to loose track of your eating habits if the people you surround yourself with are eating all the wrong foods. I have some friends and family who are over weight and some who are fit. The difference between me and them is when I go shopping, they complain about my size and not having clothes in their size…or how they cant shop where I shop and don’t want me with them in the plus size stores. When I go out to eat, its always about whats on my plate or when I go grocery shopping….its about where I go and what I buy. Its not a question of weight, its more a question of self assurance and confidence. I person who cares about themselves is not likely to hang out too much with someone who over indulge. Just saying.

  • lykewise

    Ms. Zamila if you go to theajzone.com you can select from options as low as $15 and this includes a consultation. AJ has made it very affordable for people like you and I to take advantage.

  • miamac

    I agree with Ex AJ fan. AJ was very harsh and we all know a negative approach does not equal positive results, well not long-term. She was very very hars on the Michael Baisden show. While obesity is a problem, definitely amongst African Americans, it did not give AJ the right to be insulting. Soul Food on average is full of fattening ingredients. We need to a) teach the culture how to reduce fats when cooking their traditional foods, i.e. switch out pork in greens for turkey, for example and b) teach them they can have these foods but less more than often. and c) we have to encourage drinking water and exercise, exercise, exercise and introduce easy but less costly ways, i.e. outdoors volley ball, ZUMA, Jazz or other dancing to enjoyable and upbeat music.

  • cassandra

    kenya moore for aj

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