City Councilor Tito Jackson Is Getting Fit

You can join him for free three days a week.

Don’t call it a comeback. City Councilor Tito Jackson is on a mission.

Representing District 7, which includes all of Roxbury and parts of the South End, Dorchester, and Fenway neighborhoods, Jackson, a lifelong Roxbury resident, has a goal to shape up the neighborhood—and himself.

In January, Jackson’s older brother died at the age of 50 from a “cardiovascular related event” and that, coupled with Jackson hitting 300-pounds on the scale, was the “ah-ha” moment he needed to get his priorities straight.

Now, Jackson hosts a free workout at his home, led by his assistant, three early mornings a week, starting at 5:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It’s open to anyone in the community, and if you want to participate, you can simply call his office and ask for directions to his Roxbury home near Franklin Park.

“My brother was a big guy like me,” Jackson says. “For a while I was thinking about modifying my schedule so I can take care of the community but also take care of myself. I jumped in full-fledged. We started a bootcamp at my house, and it’s for anyone who wants to come. Most often we go for a run three times a week, but we also do a bunch of CrossFit type of exercises in my driveway and up and down my street. We get a good workout in for an hour. We focus on a lot of core work and building strength and conditioning.”

The bootcamp, which Jackson calls “Project Buddy Love” after the movie, The Nutty Professor, isn’t the only way he’s getting fit. Jackson puts in a full five days a week in his new routine. Tuesdays and Thursdays he heads up to Somerville to RX Strength Training, where he takes classes in strength training and conditioning. Jackson says that he loves the “strongman class stuff” like truck pulling and tire flipping.

“Training Tito has been a fantastic experience, and from a fitness professional’s perspective, he’s what we really think of as an ideal client,” says Jeff Butterworth, owner of RX Strength Training. “He works hard in the gym, he’s changed his eating habits to reflect a healthier lifestyle, and best of all, he’s racking up the results.”

Butterworth says that Jackson’s training consists mainly of early morning classes with Rx Strength trainers Anthony Michael Ortiz and Semaj Hunter, as well as one-on-one sessions when he can fit it in. (“He’s a busy guy,” Butterworth says.)

Although Jackson is well-known for his “turkey fries” he hopes to soon be known for running the 5Ks that take place near his home. “I was moved by my brother, but when we speak about the health of a community it starts with ourselves. I want to be able to do the 5Ks that happen in my community,” Jackson says. “I live next to Franklin Park and I want to be able to run Franklin Park. It’s been truly inspiring to do things I haven’t been able to do before.”

After losing around 20 pounds so far, Jackson says that working out is becoming a habit. A habit, he says, that he doesn’t want to break. “I’m not special or extraordinary when it comes to this, and the hardest part is getting up in the morning,” he says. “It’s literally just showing up that is the hardest part. It gets easier. It becomes a habit, and again I’m really trying to push for a healthy community as a whole, and the only way I can do that is to lead by example and that’s the goal.”

That, and the fact that after losing 20 pounds, your clothes fit a heck of a lot better.

“The most exciting part is having more energy,” Jackson says. “Also, my clothes fit a little looser. I want to get down to about 240. I’m bringing sexy back.”