Local trainer kicks off online fitness plan

73,000 people worldwide take part in challenge

Local personal trainer Rahman “Ray” Grayson kicked off his eighth month-long free fitness challenge last week, offering tens of thousands of people all over the world daily workouts, nutritional advice, and motivational emails to keep them on a healthy path. Some of the rules: no fried food, no fast food, and no alcohol. You also have to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.

Grayson, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based Total Fit Group, has trained celebrities like Usher, Ciara, and Mary J. Blige. He took a break from his healthy lifestyle preaching and personal training to talk to us about the online event.

What exactly is the Total Fit 30-Day Challenge?
It’s the world’s largest free online complete fitness challenge. We provide workouts, nutrition tips, and daily motivation. It’s a 30-day kickstart to a healthy lifestyle. We’ve been doing it two-and-a-half to three years.

How many people have signed up to do it this month?
We have more than 73,000 people in over 100 countries. Our ultimate goal will be getting 1 million people worldwide to live a healthier lifestyle. My goal for the challenge is 100,000.

What are the challenges of doing this online? Can’t people cheat?
We have a built-in accountability system. We ask you to have accountability partners—friends, family members. It’s more fun if people you know are doing it with you and it’s easier to stay on track. Between Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, the conversation continues daily. You may have a single mom in Florida talking to somebody’s mother in California and they’re comparing numbers and keeping each other motivated.

Why do you give people three days where they’re allowed to cheat?
You need to be able to tell yourself I can have a hamburger, just not every day. I can have fries, just now and then. We want people to eat healthy. It’s being realistic that they want those foods and that’s fine. You can have some. Just not every day.

Why do you ask people to upload before and after photos on your website?
We’re a visual nation. Everybody wants to see the pictures. But we’re not a weight-loss challenge. You may lose weight, but I just want you to commit to a healthier lifestyle change. [Posting photos] is not a requirement. For some people, that would turn them off. I tell people whether you submit the picture or not, take it. One day you’ll be able to look back and say look how far I’ve come.

Is it too late to be part of this month’s challenge?
Not at all. Twenty days is better than zero. Fifteen days is better than none. C’mon and jump in.

To take part in the challenge, visit http://www.mrshutupandtrain.com/30daycc