The Big A88 Jogger Lou Alexander
The Big A88 Jogger
Chirp CHIRRRRRP, chances are if you’re in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, California you’ve heard this call from the Big A88 Jogger, Lou Alexander. Lou’s journey began in collegiate sports at Syracuse University as a football player. During this pandemic Lou took up the habit of jogging hence the name Big A88 Jogger. Standing at 6’4, 255 pounds Lou works to obtain greatness and to bring out the best not only in himself but all of his clients. Running has continued to grow in our communities and this has even led to Lou creating The Big A88 Jogger run club which launched in mid November. It’s not often we catch a run club at its inception but this month Mid Strike Magazine was able to catch one. Let’s take a look into this new run club on the rise in California, The Big A88 Jogger Run Club.
MSM: CHIRP CHIRRRRP, I feel like anytime I speak about Big A88 Jogger I have to start with that signature call! Many of us may see the name Big A88 Jogger and automatically think something explicit, but as a former collegiate football player it may take on a different meaning. Does the 88 have any deeper meaning?
Lou: Yes, 88 is the number that signifies abundance and positivity. It’s the perfect number to represent my organization’s goal to help everyone achieve a positive mindset and live their biggest, best lives. Plus, it helps keep the brand name rated PG!
MSM: Officially this all started for you back in March of this year with you incorporating running into your fitness routine. For our readers take us through this journey and its inception.
Lou: Big A88 Jogger started in March 2020 once the COVID-19 pandemic started and strict quarantine guidelines were put in place. Gyms were immediately closed and that was the most challenging lifestyle change I’ve had to make in a long time. I’ve worked out at the gym every day since high school! In response to the gyms being closed, I decided to give jogging a try as a way to get outside, get some fresh air, and get some exercise. I shared my jogging experiment on Instagram and jokingly referred to myself as a “big a** jogger” because at 6’4” 250lbs I think it’s safe to say I’m a little bigger than the average jogger! I received a lot of positive feedback from social media and decided to continue jogging and invite others to join and soon enough the Big A88 Jogger movement came to life.
MSM: Running and fitness for people can come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve noticed that you are very big on the judgment free zone and treating all equally. As a guy that is 6’4 and 255 pounds was this something you noticed early on when you started running, where you received the look of what’s going on?
Lou: I’ve been part of the gym/fitness community for years and this year I joined the jogging community for the first time and it’s been just as great. When I first started, I didn’t recognize the other joggers on the street, but as each day passed, I began to recognize more faces and my jogging neighbors started to recognize me. It’s a great feeling to get a small wave, smile or nod from a fellow jogger. Although I will admit that I definitely received (and sometimes still do) a few funny looks and stares when I jog. I think a lot of people driving by see me and probably think to themselves, “Who’s that? He seems pretty tall to be a jogger!” I also live in a community with a lot of professional athletes, so I think that I’m often mistaken for an athlete.
BIG A88 JOGGER was formed, due to Lou’s size and stature. Being a 255lb, 6ft4″ ex collegiate and professional athlete, jogging was never a first choice. There are many men and women out there that need inspiration and motivation to get outside and jog without judgment.
The Big A88 Jogger
MSM: Prior to launching what are some of the things you noticed as a trainer that you wanted to address/change in the fitness community?
Lou: Over the past few years, the fitness community has become a lot more inclusive for people of all shapes and sizes. Prior to launching Big A88 Jogger, I wanted to help address and be part of the evolution of inclusivity within the fitness community because exercise is an amazing way to bring people together and lift each other up.
MSM: As a collegiate athlete playing football at Syracuse University take us through a little bit of your fitness journey. Have you taken any activities you learned from football into your current training and running?
Lou: Yes, absolutely! Training as a D1 athlete really set the foundation for my fitness journey and gave me the tools to loose a significant amount of weight. I started at 330 pounds and used some of my old football workouts, like sprinting and HIIT cardio, to focus on my heart rate, build endurance and burn fat! I also use a lot of the same weight lifting exercises like squatting, hamstring curls, and explosive hangclings.
MSM: At Mid Strike Magazine we’re very big on proper presentation in our community especially when it comes to running, what are some of the things you’re doing to break the mold? Have you felt any challenges or push backs with launching the Big A88 Jogger?
Lou: I really respect Mid Strike Magazine’s commitment to featuring diversity within the jogging community. From the very beginning, Big A88 Jogger has been focused on the pillars of love and unity. I’m doing my part to increase diversity by bringing people of all races, ethnicities, ages, genders, etc. together to jog and support each other. Also, my long term goal is to use jogging to help contribute to health and wellness initiatives in the black community and add even more diversity to the jogging community. Thankfully, I haven’t received any push back or challenges throughout the launch of Big A88 Jogger, the local community has been very supportive and excited to join the movement!
MSM: 2020 has been a tough year, especially for Black men and social injustice, how have you been and felt mentally navigating this? Do you find yourself using the avenue of fitness to bring awareness to these issues?
Lou: The racial and social injustice incidents that occurred this year definitely had an impact on me and at times it really wore me down. However, as a Black man, I’ve been up against these injustices my whole life and lived much of my life in communities where such incidents are unfortunately regular occurrences. Not long after I started jogging, Amaud Arbery was murdered while jogging and that really affected me. From then on, I committed to using jogging to help spread love and unity and blend racial lines to bring more people from diverse backgrounds together. I absolutely use fitness as a way to promote unity and understanding between people of all backgrounds.
MSM: What makes Big A88 Jogger so interesting is that as a group you’re still fairly young. Yet here you are in the midst of all of these global challenges launching this new venture. Is this something you saw yourself doing pre covid? One positive I feel that Covid has done for most of us was force us to be still and really make us all think about what purpose we all serve in this world.
Lou: I’ve always had my sights set on becoming an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know what my calling was meant to be. COVID-19 is a tragic circumstance that has destroyed so many lives and I’m thankful that me and my family have been able to stay healthy. Living in quarantine gave me a lot of idle time, which had a negative impact on my mental health, but it pushed me to get creative and find ways to stay busy even while quarantining. I guess it’s true that some of our best innovations are created during times of struggle. I soon realized that my jogging motive and positive mindset was helping a lot of other people cope with living in quarantine — I had a true light bulb moment and discovered my purpose in this world.
MSM: Was running something that was always a hobby of yours or is this still fairly new? Do you see yourself venturing into the world of racing and marathoning?
Lou: Running was definitely not a hobby of mine! I was too heavy to enjoy running, it was always more a chore or even a punishment assigned by coaches at practice! I haven’t even been jogging for a whole year yet but I’m a jogger for life now! I definitely have goals to start running in 5Ks and half marathons. I’m really excited about using the Big A88 Jogger movement for philanthropy!
“Here at BIG A88 JOGGER we want to inspire those individuals to embrace who they are and take pride in being the best at whatever they do. To be a BIG A88 JOGGER, It’s not about your size in stature, race, gender or economic status. It’s about having the opportunity to feel good and do everything with pride and confidence while truly staying connected to yourself.”
MSM: I find that once folks get a real taste of the run community that’s usually when the real fun begins, so i’d like to try something and come back to you a year later or a few years down to take a look at your progression not as a trainer but as a runner. Once Covid is over do you have your eyes on any road races or major races?
Lou: I’m definitely going to start running in a few local 5Ks and half marathons once it’s safe to do so! At this time, I don’t have a specific plan to run in any major races, but I’m a competitive person so stay tuned!
MSM: The success of a person is usually the reflection of the people they are surrounded by. Who are some of the folks in your corner that have helped you along the way.
Lou: I’m very fortunate to have a great group of family and friends who encourage, support and challenge me. My mom is the hardest working person I know and she’s been in my corner cheering me on since day one. I’m also grateful to my wife, who has been very supportive of my entrepreneurial goals and willing to help grow the Big A88 Jogger brand.
MSM: Every Friday you offer your followers some words of encouragement for inspiration and motivation. When you record those videos what is you’re thinking behind them? Who do you look to inspire?
Lou: I’ve lived through a lot of challenging experiences, and speaking daily affirmations to myself has helped me overcome and work through those challenges. My Happy Friday videos are derived from the daily affirmations that I’ve been sharing with myself for years. I hope to touch anyone who feels like they need to be encouraged, uplifted, or celebrated to end their week feeling positive and accomplished.
MSM: Where did the chirp chirp originate from?
Lou: The chirp chirp calling started because I was up jogging early in the morning. It was my signature alarm clock sound/call to wake up my followers and get everyone motivated to wake up, go for a jog and get their day started. It’s become the call of empowerment!
MSM: Last month you launched The Big A88 Jogger Run club and Big A88 Jogger apparel. For our west coast runners where can folks link up with the run club for local runs? Regarding apparel what type of gear can we look for from B.A.J?
Lou: Everyone in Los Angeles is invited to join the Big A88 Jogger Run Club at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills every Saturday at 10am. Joggers/runners at all levels are invited to join! The run club is inclusive and supported for people at every stage of their fitness and jogging journey.
MSM: Where can our readers (myself included) purchase this very dope gear?
Lou: Readers can visit www.biga88jogger.com to check out the Big A88 Jogger apparel line!
MSM: What’s next for Big A88 Jogger?
Lou: There are a lot of great plans in works for Big A88 Jogger including women’s apparel and launching a podcast that will feature a great list of interesting guests. Stay tuned!
MSM: Any last words for our readers?
Lou: Thank you to Mid Strike readers for taking time out of their day to learn about my story and the Big A88 Jogger movement! I sincerely appreciate the support and look forward to jogging with you soon!