Have you achieved your 2022 fitness goals?

Pent House Gym trainer Winston Musa with his client Davie Achola (R) as he does bicep curls during a workout session on December 16, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Of people who set fitness goals as part of New Year’s resolutions, a majority give up, and others miss their target. But there are a few who make it and are counting the gains this December.

Which category do you fall in? BDLife spoke to a few people about how they set fitness programmes that worked.

Betty Irungu, a lawyer in Nairobi’s Central Business District started the year with a target of losing weight, toning the glutes, and gaining strength.

“I wanted to lose weight around my tummy and reduce the size of my cheeks. I have been doing gym workouts five days a week every day for the past year. Fitness has also been my way of unwinding after a long day at the office. I’d say I have achieved my fitness goals. I have lost three kgs. I now weigh 65kg. I have gotten stronger, I can do deadlifts with 100kg weights,” she says.

She is most proud of the transformation on her arms, legs, glutes, and abdominal area.

What keeps her consistent?

“I sit in the office all day so I look forward to doing something active in the evening. I also like to get value for my money, so once I pay for the gym I have no other option but to follow through with the workouts. I also noticed that if I take a break my body slows down and I have a difficult time getting back on track,” she says.

Her trainer, Winston Musa (known as Stoney in the fitness circles), holds her accountable especially on days that she is feeling too lazy to exercise.

“I call him and he encourages me to go to the gym. He also calls to check up on my progress.”

Her biggest challenge has been her sweet tooth. “My biggest challenge is being consistent with my diet. I am working on enjoying my guilty pleasures in moderation.”

She has been doing intermittent fasting.

Ms Irungu who trains at Penthouse Gymnasium in Nairobi’s View Park Towers started with simple workouts.

“I started with lifting deadlifts weighing 20kg, then gradually increased the number of exercises and the weight I use. I reached 100kg deadlifts in November this year and for my arms, I can now do dumbbells bicep curls with 10kg weights,” she says.

The exercises that have worked the most for Ms Irungu are power cleans, which are weightlifting which is good at getting the heart rate up and burning fat as one builds muscle.

Squats and deadlifts have helped tone her arms, legs, and glutes.

“I lift weights and still look feminine. There is a fallacy that lifting weights is not good for women because they might look masculine. Weightlifting is perfect for toning the body,” she says.

Is she looking to continue with the fitness journey next year?

“Exercising is like having a relationship with myself and my body. I intend to keep at this. My goals for the coming year are to increase my record and get stronger,” she says.

Her biggest gain?

“My mental health. I am happier now that I exercise.”

Pent House Gym trainer Winston Musa with his client Davie Achola (R) during a workout session on December 16, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

David Achola is another gym rat. I meet him doing biceps curls at the gym and he heaves a sigh of relief when his trainer, Stoney tells him to put down the dumbbells and catch his breath before they move on to the next round of exercises.

The 37-year-old says this has been the norm every day four times a week. When he started training with Stoney in August 2021, all he wanted was to gain muscles and get stronger.

“When I started I weighed 68kg and now I weigh 76kg. Currently, for the deep muscles of my back, I do deadlifts with about 150kg weights. For my chest, I can do incline bench workouts with dumbbells of up to 70kg and squats. I do deadlifts with up to 130 kg weights. I am also able to do bicep-curl with 40kg weights,” he says.

“David is among my strongest clients,” Stoney adds.

The father of two says his best exercises are chest, back, and arm workouts. He is not particularly fond of sit-ups and burpees.

“I find them strenuous,” he says.

So what has kept him on track?

Mr Achola points at his trainer Stoney.

“He keeps tabs on me, calls me every day to enquire whether I am coming to the gym, and updates me on the workouts planned for the day,” he says.

Most people who failed to meet their fitness goals cite a lack of time to exercise.

Mr Achola says finding time to exercise has not been a challenge.

“I run my own business so I can balance things. There is time to work, time for workout, time for my family, and time to go to church,” he says.

After the interview, he still has more push-ups to do.

At 3 pm a lady walks in while speaking on the phone. Stoney tells me that he has a bone to pick with her. Out of her required 30 sessions, Catherine Wanjiru has only attended 13 sessions. She started her gym workouts in November this year.

Pent House Gym trainer Winston Musa during a workout session on December 16, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The 36-year-old new mom says it has not been easy juggling gym, work, and being a lactating mother.

“I am not able to exercise in the evenings because I have to rush home to be with the baby. I cannot work out in the morning because I have to make sure that the baby is set for the day before I get into the office. So I can only come to the gym between 3 pm and 4 pm when there is not much work at the office,” she says.

Most times she sacrifices her one-hour lunch break so that she can get time to go to the gym. “Sometimes I have to call Winston and tell him that I cannot make it when I am so overwhelmed at work and I am not able to sneak out.”

Despite the hectic schedule that she has to work around, Ms Wanjiru is determined to continue exercising as it is good for her health.

“I am hypertensive so if I do not watch my weight, I can easily get other diseases like diabetes. I had back pains after giving birth but when I began working out last month the pain eased.”

Her 2023 fitness goal is to work on her upper body and to lose excess weight around the abdominal area and arms.

For a lactating mother, she has lost much of the baby weight. “Since I started coming to the gym I have lost 4kgs. Now I weigh 61 kg. I feel lighter and so much better about myself. I have regained my confidence,” she adds.

How long after delivery did she take to start gym workouts?

“I started with light exercises because I had a Caesarian section scar. When I started I couldn’t even lift anything. I’d only do the general body workouts like running on the treadmill and a few jumping jacks. With time, I graduated to do more exercises. Now I can do 120 jumping jacks, 60 deadlifts, and the challenging high-intensity interval training (HIIT).”

These workouts have helped her tone her thighs and tone her upper body.

“I like that we have a variety of exercises because I easily get bored,” she says.

She appreciates that her trainer shares home workouts that she can do on the days that she is not able to make it to the gym.

She hopes to get more workouts done once her baby gets older.

“I want to make working out a part of my lifestyle,” she says.


Pent House Gym trainer Winston Musa with his client Davie Achola (R) as he does bodyweight dips during a workout session on December 16, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

One thing that stands out is the interaction between fitness trainers and their clients and how they ensure one achieves his or her goal.

“If a client chooses to pay you it means that they trust you so you need to make the experience comfortable for them. At the end of the day, I am not only their trainer but also their therapist, friend, and brother. They come to you to relieve their stress,” Stoney says.

What does he do to help his clients live through their fitness goals?

“I have an app that helps me track the progress of all my clients. I also prepare their daily exercises depending on the fitness goals that each client has. Before creating a programme for each client, I figure out what one wants so that I can prepare the workouts fitted for their fitness goal,” he says.

He encourages his clients to stay on a calorie-deficit diet- which enables them to burn more than what they eat. He recommends intermittent fasting for those who want to lose weight.

“I guide clients through the gradual adoption of a healthy lifestyle. I have 40 clients and I call each one of them daily,” he says.

To put fitness enthusiasts on their toes, Stoney says he has to be strict, but respectful.

“I give them feedback on their fitness progress and let them know what they need to do if they want to improve,” he says.

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