Wayua’s bag of tricks for youthful looks


Mary Wayua performs exercises on a leg extension machine. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Mary Wayua mostly exercises on an empty stomach. For the last few years now, she has not compromised her exercising and eating discipline.

"Like today, I have to warm my meal and have it at exactly 8:30 am,” she says as she sinks into a plyometric gym block with exhaustion after a set of box jump workouts.

She attributes this discipline and consistency to her snatched physique and youthful looks despite being two years shy of her 50th birthday.

“I always time my first meal of the day because it will determine my last meal of the day. My morning meal will control what and how much I will eat throughout the day, that is why it is important to have it at the exact time,” she says.

Today was her leg day, she left the house at 4:30 am and got to the gym two minutes before 5 am.

“I started with a cardio class doing spin for an hour combining that with weight training and being a Friday, it was my leg day,” she says.

Ms Wayua adds that she prefers to train on an empty stomach because then she can burn more calories as the body is forced to convert any excess fats in her body into energy, that in turn fuels her workout. That way, she gets to burn the fats and achieve a nubile physique.

“Before I leave the house I take coffee mixed with collagen, then come to the gym and train on an empty stomach. This drink is not a meal, you might want to call it a pre-workout. This is why it’s important to have my first meal at 8:30 am,” she says.


Mary Wayua performs press-ups at a gym in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Today she is eating sweet potatoes with egg whites on the sides and vegetable salad for breakfast.

Somedays the breakfast may consist of arrow roots, chicken breast or fish and vegetable salads. In a day, the mother of three does only three meals with the second one coming at 1:30 pm and the last at 6:30 pm.

“Those are my complete meals, forgetting the little snacks of about 10 almonds or less than a handful of peanuts. I also drink four to five litres of water because if you might have noticed I sweat a lot and I need to recover that,” she says.

Ms Wayua says her meal plans got several of her old friends confused.

“They never understood why I would eat chicken in the morning while they had tea and mandazis. But I don’t fault them. Some even thought I was just showing off, you know,” she says.

She compensates for that with a new set of friends.

“Having been consistent I have made a few friends at the gym whom I appreciate. Later in the day we check up on each other and they will constantly enquire if I have had my supplements, meals and things like that,” she adds.


For Ms Wayua, exercising is all about wellness. She does not necessarily have a favourite workout as many gym goers do.

“I don’t have a favourite one because I tend to do full body throughout the week (four days), but now that you have mentioned it, probably leg exercises might be my favourite because I have dedicated a day- Friday- for that,” she says.

She also incorporates spin classes and resistance training with dumbbells, and walking lunges, combining it with leg press and leg extension.

Both leg press and extension are machines designed to focus almost exclusively on quads. The three exercises each executed in four sets of 10 plus reps (repetitions) are followed by deep squats.

Unlike normal squats which effectively target the quads, deep squats are particularly effective for strengthening the glutes (butts).

Winding up her day’s workout after four hours of intense training, Ms Wayua does three sets of box jumps and then burpees and mountain climbers meant to enhance her core muscles.

“I think that is enough for the day and week, I will use the weekend to recharge and start all over again on Monday," she says.

No training with her husband

Ms Wayua has been a fitness enthusiast all her life and as her fate would have it, she met another fitness freak with whom she had been doing life, her 51-year-old husband.

“I have always been active all my life. I played a lot of hockey while in school. Even in my adulthood, I continued being active even as I took breaks to have my three daughters. After my last born who is 14 now, I became consistent with my training programme," she says.



Ms Wayua believes her consistency with exercising is the reason she has not experienced menopause symptoms, brought about by hormonal changes.

“I have much younger friends already experiencing these hot flushes and when I look at their lifestyle they aren’t active. I haven’t experienced any of those hot flushes, my hormones are still balanced,” she says.

Besides just being fit, Ms Wayua says exercising has also had a major impact on her family.

“All my three girls are very active. My husband as well is another fitness freak. We leave the house at the same time in the morning but everybody goes to their respective gym,” she says.

This is a deliberate decision to ensure they both achieve their fitness goal and keep their home happy.

“We tried exercising together for three years but we felt it wasn’t being impactful. We could be at the gym, and he probably wants to do a leg exercise and I want to do an upper body but there is no training partner. So being the gentleman he is, he would choose to abandon his schedule to help me do mine.

So I felt like I was derailing him hence the decision. Besides, training in different gyms helps us avoid insecurities, I mean we are human beings, sometimes you might feel uncomfortable when you see your partner indulging with someone else as a workout partner,” she says.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.