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William Felder: Get in shape, stay in shape--and love it!

Cyril Josh Barker | 4/12/2011, 4:41 p.m.

Giving a new meaning to the word "personal" in personal training, fitness guru William Felder III is on a mission to make the Black community healthier by offering one-on-one and group fitness help. The 38-year-old has been a personal trainer for 10 years and wants to get the people in tip-top shape. Felder gives his time to the community everyday to help eliminate health problems that plague Blacks like obesity,high blood pressure and diabetes.

"I'm trying to help the community and help the world get back into shape,"he said. "Everyone needs a personal trainer. " A native of Brooklyn,Felder calls himself "a good old Southern boy" spending most of his childhood in Charleston,S. C. But said he likes the Big Apple better. Locals can catch him at the Harlem YMCA teaching spinning classes or in downtown Manhattan training people.

As a child,he struggled with being overweight,and as a teen, joined the Brooklyn Skyhawks football team, where he got in shape as a middle linebacker and right guard. "My body started to change when I was about 14 and I got a six pack. That Christmas, I asked my mother for a weight-lifting set,"he said.

Felder began weightlifting fulltime when he was 15. After high school,he attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where he majored in physical education. Studying about fitness,he said,gave him a new appreciation for the sculpting the human body. Until the age of 23,Felder practically lived in the gym. He was pumping iron and spending so much time in the gym that it interfered with his marriage. He became overweight again after not being in the gym for five years.

He left the marriage and got ack into the gym and back into shape. Felder became interested in the business of personal training while working at a gym signing up people for memberships. He saw a trend of people who would join the gym but didn't know how to work out. Felder said, "When people signed up for memberships, I started training them for free because most of the trainers only wanted to work with people who had money. They told me to stop. "

Leaving the gym, he started his own business as a personal trainer offering affordable rates to people serious about being healthier. His clients include "America's Next Top Model"Cycle Six contestant Brittany;and he said that he helped a woman with lupus destined for a wheelchair get her strength back. "I'm on a mission to help every Black person in the world get in shape,"he said. "I tell people, 'Just because you were raised on pig's feet doesn't mean you have to eat them everyday. '"

As for tips to get in shape, Felder advises that people combine weight training and cardio. He also said eating less in general and sticking to proteins like eggs, fish, chicken, steak and turkey are key. Along with being a personal trainer, Felder is certified in Pilates allegro, indoor cycling, boxing and self-defense. He also volunteers personal training to elderly groups,community centers and churches. "Helping people makes me feel fantastic,"he said. "I haven't lost my passion yet. "