Living In The Now, Working For A Better Future
SHAWN YAK CARTER
PHOTOGRAPHY: studio one
WORDS: CAMILLE JOHNSON
"it made me realize that as long as you eat right and workout, it truly makes you feel better. It inspires other people to see me in the gym everyday doing the right things and it makes others want to do the same."
-shawn yak carter
If we look into the past of each our lives, we will find mistakes, learning experiences and core memories that often dictate our futures. shawn yak carter, a father to college bound teenagers, inspirational fitness enthusiast and Milwaukee native have a familiar story many of our young womn can relate to.
Having grown up in a once impoverished neighborhood and searching for a substantial income illegally, Carter found himself on the wrong side of the law. After the judicial system decided his fate for nearly a decade, Carter found a way to positively and mentally escape his reality. With an unwavering family support system, eagerness for a better life, daily push ups, pull ups and dips, he was able to re-enter society with a new found mission inspiring others through fitness.
FELLAS: When did you realize exercising was something you enjoyed?
Carter: Well you know, growing up in the projects, all we did was exercise. We either played football or basketball, or ran around in the streets. I remember being a part of the Spartan's Football and Basketball teams and loved playing. That kept me out of trouble for a while.
FELLAS: Did playing sports propel you into having a fitness routine?
Carter: Actually, no. It came from me being incarcerated. It's pretty much one of the only activities you can do when you're put into a setting like that. You can play basketball, go to the library or go to the gym. I resorted to fitness because it was something physical I could do alone.
FELLAS: Is it safe to say, working our was an escape for you?
Carter: Oh it DEFINITELY was an escape! It kept me out of trouble and focused. It became something I needed to do everyday.
FELLAS: Now that you've re-entered society and fitness has become a passion, what can you say its done for you? Do you believe fitness has the ability to change the lives of others?
Carter: Ya know, it made me realize that as long as you eat right and workout, it truly makes you feel better. It inspires other people to see me in the gym everyday doing the right things and it makes others want to do the same. They ( other gym goers) see me being consistent. Consistency is really one of the main problems people have when they begin to workout. It's the most important when you want to see the results. You can't just workout one day and think you're going to be fit! With anything you want to achieve, consistency is key.
FELLAS: So you believe consistency transfers over into other life situations?
Carter: Of course, especially if you'd like to be on the right path. The younger generation needs to know this. If only they did something positive, it can lead to better things within their life.
Twice a day Carter can be found in his body changing oasis, the gym burning calories during a cardio workout, using his own body wight during strength training or instructing other patrons interested in a healthier lifestyle. these patrons are often determined and seasoned individuals 60-80 years old from the adult living home caters works, or young men looking for a positive influence.
FELLAS: You mentioned the youth, what would you tell those who aren't going down the right path or need a different prospective?
Carter: I can't tell them anything. I have to be an example of how to be. If they are expressing an interest in a healthier lifestyle, I'll show them the way. If I show them ways to working incorporating fun moves, hopefully they'll want to continue. Ultimately, they have to want better for themselves in order for them to make the choice. If they do, they'll inspire their friends. I've been in their shows, I know.
With aspirations to open a facility for youth and community member alike, Carter envisions safe place for those not only interested in changing their physique, but a positive outlook on life. He wants young guys to have a space they can call their own, have fun and continue to grown in the right direction.
Believing that our bodies are God's creation, a gallon of water infused with lemon and cucumbers does the body good with a great attitude changes outcomes. Carter takes on the responsibility of being an upstanding citizen and active father. As a example for many men, you always have the choice to become better that you were yesterday. Are you willing to run towards the opportunity and lift up your brother?