CRYSTAL WILLIAMS, known to many as CRYS BREEZY or simply BREEZY / Group Fitness instructor who holds certifcations in ACE Group Fitness, Spinning, Schwinn Indoor Cycling, and TRX Functional Training. Teaches at various gyms in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and this year she launched two classes of her own: FitLife HIIT Factory at Boss NYC and HIIT Hop Cycle at Tribeca Health and Fitness. Crys Breezy is also a radio host/talent booker for WHCR 90.3FM’s Equilibrium Radio / IG: @cryswillfitlife; FB http://facebook.com/cryswillfitlife or http://facebook.com/crystalbreezywilliams; Website http://cryswillfitlife.com
Okay so you are yet another person that I met at...”who’s house?” ToneHouse. From the first time that I met you I knew we would be friend - seriously! We were both in a class (can’t remember what day it was but I feel like it was Total Body day) and we were both going thru it (that ish was tough) but you’re personality, your energy, you sense of humor and you exuded so much confidence during the whole class - it was so good! I wanted to be friends with you right away. I found myself trying to get closer to you - not in a stalker like way but...you were having so much fun - working hard but having so much fun and...thats what I am about - 100% I will work my ass off but I always try to find the fun in what I am doing. So glad for that day lady! So glad that we are friends! I appreciate you lady! Thanks again for taking the time out to let me share what I love doing with you and for taking the time out to share with me. Okay here goes, question time:
I’ve asked this question before - many times but...When did fitness first enter your life? And how important is it to you?
To be honest, fitness has always been apart of my life -- the difference is, I didn’t PARTAKE in it until my mid/late20s. My father was a fitness enthuasiast, a bodybuilder for fun, not for sport/competition. I grew up with weight training equipment in my house, and we even owned an elliptical when they first came out, anda recumbent bike. I used to play on his machines for fun, but I didn’t partake until literally the 25th hour of my mother’s bout with cancer (my father had passed about three years prior) when she convinced me that I was living unhealthily and I needed to workout and change my lifestyle. Honestly, it was probably the last golden piece of advice she gave me. It took about a year for me to adhere -- I’d started to find my stride in fitness, group fitness especially, right before she died, and then for the next nine months I practically did nothing, as part of my grief. Over that first year of my mourning, I’d made friends with a trainer who not only helped shake me out of my self-imposed plateau, but helped me find the FUN in working out. It became less of an obligation and more of my daily “me time” -- something to look forward to. It helped with my healing.
Today, fitness is a priority in my life. I get in about 4-6 workouts a week, varying in modality and intensity. Having watched both of my parents fall to illnesses, I am always in fight mode. I feel like every workout I do takes me one step further from suffering from some horrible disease or affliction. However, I try to look at it as fun time -- I like taking group fitness classes because I get to bounce my energy off on other people, which is the same reason I enjoy TEACHING group fitness. When they see me having fun, they have fun as well. It’s my hour of fun, de-stressing, and working on strength. I love watching my body grow stronger!
One of my favorite post of yours on Instagram is the one where you said a wise gym teacher told you:
“Big Legs are Pretty Legs” and then you go on to say “...and as an adult, to that I say “F*ck Yeah!” No matter what shape I am, I am proud to rep”. You end the post with “Most importantly... - They don’t buckle when I KNEEL to pray. Our legs do so much for us. No matter what you think about what they look like, they’re AMAZING. Honor them.”
So awesome lady!!! I think so many women bash their bodies with so much negative talk and forget to give thanks, show their body some gratitude. I try and give praise on a daily basis because I realize how fortunate I am to have a body that serves me well. How do you honor/praise your: legs - I know you said it in your IG post but...please tell us again. Your booty - touch on it again please! Your arms, your back, your abs and your body as a whole?
Thank you for enjoying that post! Big Legs ARE pretty legs! Society makes us feel that we as women should have skinny thighs which a huge gap in between. When did that become a symbol of beauty? Frankly stating ... men aren’t worried about whether or not your thighs touch, ladies. Trust me on this. Ha!
But to answer your question --
I honor my LEGS not only by training them efficiently (my favorite muscle group to train, FYI), but by walking every chance I get. It’s the simplest thing we can do to make sure they remain strong and sturdy. I love to walk around the city and get lost. Also, I love wearing shorts in the summertime. I am proud of their definition, and I love the bit of jiggle they still have. I am proud of all of it.
I honor my BOOTY by dancing and finding reasons to jump all of the time -- especially in unexpected places or moments!
I honor my ARMS by not being afraid to attempt to carry loads that at first glance, I think I can’t.
I honor my BACK by allowing those close to me to lean on it if and when necessary. Like my arms, they are strong and can bear a lot … but I’ve also learned how to be good to it and give it some release.
I honor my ABS honestly by trying to maintain a balance between giving them what they want and nourishing them with what they need. And I thank them by using them to support me when I am in a moving subway and don’t hold on to train poles – you have no idea how much that grosses me out!
I honor my body as a whole by giving thanks to God every time for giving me one that works well -- a brain that can comprehend and analyze, eyes that can not only see but look, ears that can not only hear but listen, a mouth that can speak, limbs that can move, lungs that can breathe on their own and a heart that beats strong -- and has the capacity to love.
I got a few more golden nuggets from another one of your post about maintaining stability in an unstable environment.
- Figure out how to proceed
- realize you are strong
- go forward - move!
- once you gain stride - go harder
- there may be some background noise but...silence the BS
Simple yet so hard sometimes to remember and apply any or all of these principles. When you came up with the idea for your FitLife HIIT Factory did you apply these principles? Was it simple yet hard? If there was any background noise - how did you silence the BS? Sorry loaded question!
Wow, that is a loaded question, LOL. FitLife HIIT Factory’s inception came from examining my indoor cycling clients and the fact that many of them (majority being women) didn’t strength train because they were intimidated by the weights or didn’t know how. I wanted to bridge that gap between the comfortable (having me as an instructor/trainer) and introducing them to the foreign land, so to speak. But, I too was stepping into foreign land as I’d be essentially running my own fitness venture – which also means being my own PR person, accountant, etc. I’d spent years running my own blog, but this wasn’t exactly the same animal. When I first decided to become an instructor, I had major anxiety that I’d be seen as someone who “lost a ton of weight who thought they could simply just tell people what to do” or whatever. That was the “background noise” … but it was a racket I was creating in my own head! to tell myself what I was in it for – as a person who is passionate about living a healthy life in 360 degrees and who wanted to encourage women – especially Black women – to discover their own fit lives their way, which is the entire message behind the CrysWillFitLife brand. I am also a Christian who believes that when God wants to use you as a vessel to bring positivity into others’ lives, there is NOTHING you can do to deny that calling.
One thing I am constantly preaching to people is that nothing grows in a comfort zone. If your dream doesn’t scare youa bit, it isn’t big enough. But when a person leaves any of my classes and thanks me for a workout that made them feel like a champ and that they truly enjoyed, the noise silences itself.
You are such a hustler - making shit happen on a daily basis. You have your spinning class, FitLife HIIT Factory, etc and you also somehow find time to take classes. What do you do on your downtime - how does Crystal relax?
My downtime is either spent with people that I care about (mainly family, friends or my boyfriend) enjoying great conversation, delicious food and a crisp glass of Prosecco. I love going to the movies, especially action. It’s also a known fact about me that my favorite way to mellow at night is being propped up on a pillow in bed, scrolling through Instagram for laughs. I loooove silly jokes, memes that are meant in good fun, and dance videos. I also enjoy marauding at midnight for new beats on the internet; hip-hop heads will get that reference ;)
I know that you love music - a lot! Rapid fire question time. What song...
get you so hyped that those last 10 burpees seem like a breeze?
The song that gets me hyped up to finish those burpees would be “Neva Eva” by Trillville. The constant refrain “get on my level! What! Get my level!” is basically taunting to you to stay focused and push through!
makes you smile?
The song that makes me smile is “What a Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke. My mother sang this to me frequently, and after she died I started hearing it in the most randomest places, but it would always be in places where I was happy: on vacation with my sister in the Bahamas and the first date with my boyfriend are the two most vivid of times that come to mind. It’s like my Mom is giving me a “hello, I love you, and this is where you’re supposed to be in this moment” message from above. No song means as much to me.
say “ooooohhh that’s my ish” and you gotta get up and dance?
The “ooh that’s my ish” song will FOREVER be “Back Dat Ass Up” by Juvenile. Because in my mind, Cash Money is ALWAYS taking over for the 99 and 2000! (another hip-hop reference)
makes you feel strong?
The song that makes me feel strong… this changes frequently, but currently it’s “Hold Me Back” by Rick Ross… because NO living, breathing person can hold me back from what I want to achieve. Much honorable mention – not a song, but listening to any old pre-fight Muhammad Ali interview!
no fail makes you a lil sad?
The song that makes me feel sad will always be “Yesterday” by the Beatles. The song is about a breakup; however, the day my mother passed, and I came home, my concierge had it playing at the front desk on his radio – odd, because he’s a straight hip-hop head. But I needed it in that moment. The lyric “why did she have to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say… now I long for yesterday” was exactly how I’d felt. I can barely make it through the song without crying. I have many tattoos – none of them words. However, those lyrics would be the only words I’d consider inking on my body. Another song is “No Air” by Chris Brown and Jordan Sparks – which actually came out when my mother was originally diagnosed with cancer, and upon hearing the news, I felt as if someone was cutting off my air supply.
do your students in any of your classes request the most?
The song my cycling students request the most would probably be this soca mashup I have of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” by Major Lazer. I usually save it for towards the end of class, when we’re ending with sprints in 3rd position and they need that “wake up” to their senses. They turn ALL the way up! And any and EVERYTHING Biggie!
is your go to Karaoke song?
My go-to Karaoke song? “None of Your Business” or “Push It” by Salt N Pepa!
gets you going when you are feeling down?
The song that gets me going when I am feeling down might be “Backseat Freestyle” by Kendrick Lamar – he’s literally spitting“g*ddamn I feel amazing!” – hard not get caught up in braggacio. OR – ANY song that serves as an ode to the booty J
is your anthem for 2016?
My 2016 anthem so far would probably be “Freedom” by Beyonce. I’ve been fighting all my life, and I picked myself up every single time and ket running. I never quit life, even if I didn’t know what I was working toward or fighting for at the time. I broke my own chains of grief. I never stopped swinging.
Okay last question. I resolve to move by...
I resolve to move by committing to putting one foot in front of the other. Tiny steps always lead to big jumps.