West Side couple helps transform lives

Posted at 12:28 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 17:13:53-04

For William and Shadaka Simpson, the day starts before sunrise. Then it’s training all day.

"So I do a class at 8, class at 9, class at 10, class at 11,” William Simpson said. “Then I do a class at 4, 5, 6 and 7."

Some may call it an addiction, but the Simpsons call it a way of life.

"What I do, chose me,” William Simpson said. “I box, I ran track, football. I was blessed with a body to do anything."

It wasn’t always that way for Will. Just 5 years ago, a doctor diagnosed him as being obese.

The city of Cincinnati's health department indicates nearly 36% of adult Cincinnatians are obese. Compare that to the United States, where 29% of the population is considered obese.

Will knew he needed a change.

"I worked out every single day, and I was doing the traditional chicken breast and broccoli diet,” William said. “It didn't work."

After a little research, William began to eat meals high in fat and cut the carbs.

"My biggest I've been is 320 [pounds],” Simpson said. “Right now I'm between 204 and 215 [pounds]."

During Will's fight with obesity, he met his wife Shadaka. They were two Western Hills High School graduates who were too shy to speak to each other in school.

“He saw me at the shoe store, still didn't say nothing to me,” Shadaka said. “Then he wrote me on Facebook, and it started from there."

And Shadaka had her own battle with weight.

“After I had kids, I started to gain weight and couldn't stop,” Shadaka said. “So I got up to 180 pounds. I never thought I would workout. Never thought I would enjoy working out. Just didn't think of it as a thing to do, but [William] made it enjoyable and made me see it in a different way."

Six years of marriage later, and down 40 pounds, Shadaka is feeling better than ever.

"Before I had our last daughter, I use to have ovarian cysts,” Shadaka said. “So that was like a really bad health factor for me, and I used to have to have surgeries to remove them, and since I changed my life and my lifestyle I haven't had any cysts."

Now, being fully dedicated partners in life, the Simpsons do everything together. They even got their four kids involved with being active, while letting them be kids.

"So if they want candy, or a donut or something we let them,” William said. “They know that as soon as they start going left, we got them right."

This dedication to their own health has also led them down a career path.

The Simpsons now run one of Cincinnati’s fastest growing fitness venues on the west side of Cincinnati called Building Better Futures, or BBF Health, at the North Fairmount Community Center. They turned a classroom into “The Body Shop”.

"[William's] the lead trainer so I let him take the lead,” Shadaka said. “I'm his assistant. We both train in the morning, while the kids are at school. Then he'll come down and train, and I'm at home with the kids.”

The workouts consist of high intensity training that William creates. Dawn Ringer experienced these workouts firsthand in her nearly two years of training at BBF.

“When I started, I was diabetic,” Ringer said. “I was giving myself four insulin shots a day, taking about 7 different medications.”

According to the city of Cincinnati, heart disease and diabetes are two of the five leading causes of death in the city.

Then, six months of training with BBF, the unthinkable happened for Ringer.

"May of last year was the last time I had to give myself any insulin, any medications,” Ringer said. "My goal was really just to just cut all of that in half, but to be free of it, is the best feeling."

The walls of the Body Shop are filled with transformations of everyday people in the community.

One of those people is Jermaine Roper, who’s a Cincinnati firefighter. He’s been training at BBF for a year and three months. Over that time, he’s lost 60 pounds, and he said his physical conditioning allows him to perform better at his job.

“You age faster when you don't take care of your body,” Roper said. “You take care of your body, you have a longer career.”

The Simpsons are helping to close the health gap in a community they believe is underserved.

“We actually teach you how you should eat,” William said. “So we take folks grocery shopping, we make people take pictures of each meal.”

The experience helps their clients feed the mind, body and soul.

“My purpose is to serve, and to be here and to help folks,” William said. “So, everything falls into place.”

For more information about the Simpsons and Building Better Futures, visit BBF Health on Facebook and Instagram.