Stories from the Soul: Ashanti Johnson
“Until we practice making real behavioral changes, we will keep repeating the same unhealthy cycles.”
– Ashanti Johnson, National Power Ambassador
National Power Ambassador, fitness expert and founder of 360.Mind.Body.Soul (360MBS), Ashanti Johnson, has created a fun-loving environment that encourages women of color to get fit through self-love and mental fitness in addition to physical fitness.
Johnson, who is now certified in Group Fitness and Personal Training through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) as well as Senior Fitness and Pound, was not always in total control of her weight. Originally from Los Angeles, California, Johnson battled weight gain throughout her teens and 20s before making an environmental and mental shift that changed her perspective on life and loving herself. “Throughout my young adulthood, I allowed the unhealthy habits and mindset of my environment to rub off on me. Once I removed myself from my environment, I shifted internally and my external naturally followed. Through my story, I encourage others to not let external factors have power over your decision to get healthy,” says Johnson.
After moving to Chicago, Il, Johnson opened a total mind and body health and wellness studio. In addition to physical workouts, Ashanti has made strides in the Chicagoland area to combat the social determinants of health which are the constructs in which people live, work, play, pray and age. All gym members are encouraged to release their negative thoughts about weight and adopt a positive outlook on their circumstances, including food choices, that are within their control. “Food is often celebrated in our culture, but can often be made a crutch that can control our subconscious.”
Ashanti found that changing her mindset and releasing external stressors helped to change the results of her weight loss journey. This revelation has sparked her to encourage others to adopt the same positive outlook on their relationship with external factors. “Food is made to keep our bodies healthy; it shouldn’t be a stress reliever that makes us feel good and tucks us in at night”.
In less than 5 years, Ashanti has transformed the minds and bodies of Chicago women of color through a rigorous, yet fun program that focuses on both physical and “mental fitness.” With over 60 fitness classes offered per week, 360 Mind.Body.Soul not only features teachers who have overcome their own battles with physical activity and weight, but also caters to the working person who is trying to fit a workout into their busy schedule. 360 MBS offers childcare so that working parents have no excuse to stay active and offers a natural juice bar inside the gym. She is a pioneer on the forefront of addressing health issues facing our communities of color in the greater Chicagoland area.
Research shows that minority communities (predominantly Latino, African-American and of low-socio economic) are two to three times more likely to have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital and 30% are less likely to receive bystander CPR – cutting their chances of survival.
These stats are alarming, but instead of cowering away, Ashanti has accepted the call to help spread awareness and Hands only CPR training to her gym members and guests.
Ashanti has designated Memorial Day in May as the ultimate pre-summer workout. For the past six years, “360.Mind.Body.Soul MASTERPLAN Memorial Day” event has encouraged men and women to attend and workout in a fun, judgement-free environment before they hit the afternoon barbecues. In 2016, Ashanti teamed up with the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve™ program to train participants on how to perform Hands-Only CPR. The event also offered free high blood pressure screenings and encouraged participants to learn more about heart disease and stroke. By encouraging a holistic approach to weight loss, Ashanti Johnson continues to raise health awareness through education which helps 360 MBS members, event participants, their family and friends enjoy longer, healthy and fulfilling lives.
To get a taste of Ashanti’s 360 Mind.Body.Soul. experience, visit
empoweredtoserve.org/workout for 10 at-home workouts you can do in the pleasure of your home or hotel room.