Gangster Party: Carl Lewis III

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After finishing preschool at Greater Bethany, I was plucked from a place that I'd grown to love and learned my ABC's, and placed at Woodcrest Nazarene Christian Elementary School. Nestled in a gang infested neighborhood on Normandie between Century and Imperial was a gem. You'd never be able to tell from the outside, but behind those gates was a magical facility that gave me a strong foundation in my education, faith in God and lifelong friendships. Enter Carl Lewis III (no relation to the famed olympian). 

When I was dropped for my first day at Woodcrest, I didn't know anybody. None of the friends I'd made at Greater Bethany came along for a ride. I was the chubby new kid with a neatly pressed uniform and Ninja Turtle backpack and lunch bag. I was lost and scared of all the new and unfamiliar faces. As I stood on the playground wishing the day was already over, a dark skin kid with a raspy voice and slight lisp came over and asked me if I'd like to play with him. This simple gesture meant and still means so much to me. Carl is the first friend I ever remember having in my life. I know there were others at my preschool before him, but I couldn't tell you any of their names of remember their faces. 

Carl is the same person today that is back then. Complex. On the one hand you have someone who's eccentric, funny and outgoing. On the other you have someone who's completely serious about his business and money (back then, grades). You'll experience the full range of emotions just spending an hour with him. He has the ability to make you laugh until your sides hurt and also leave you completely inspired and motivated to conquer the world. 

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I've had the pleasure of knowing this remarkable man for just about my entire life. After I left Woodcrest, we stayed in touch throughout middle school and eventually attended the same high school at King/Drew Medical Magnet where our friendship and bond only grew. We both terrorized our teachers with our antics and sense of humor. Then turned around and wowed them with our brilliance. We lead rap battles at nutrition and lunch breaks with our classmates. We dated girls in the same cliques and went on double and triple dates. We rode in the same limo to prom. We got our high diplomas together. We went to different colleges, but partied and drunk together during summer and winter vacations. We've argued and fought. We've had a huge falling out years ago. We made up and now our brotherhood is stronger than ever. Carl Lewis III is much more than my friend. As he so eloquently and hilariously put it a few months back during a conversation, he's my plutonic soulmate. Haha!

Today, Carl is a successful and certified fitness trainer in the Greater Los Angeles area. If you live here, you've absolutely heard of him. I don't know anyone who's as passionate about fitness as he is or anyone who's able to motivate his clients the way he does. He's taken his own out of shape frame, to the very best physique possible complete with six pack abs that I wish I had myself and strength that would give The Hulk a run for his money. Although my weight has fluctuated over the years due to factors like depression and lack of discipline, he's assisted me in my battle over the years and given me the tools I need to get in better shape. I'm almost 5 weeks into my lifestyle change and he's still coaching me through. If you've seen my Instagram stories you can catch him at least once a week yelling and cussing into the camera. 

You can find him at Iron Addicts gym in Signal Hill, CA where he pairs his high energy and hilarity with gangster rap to keep you properly motivated! Follow Carl here