A week in life is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the struggles of the Nigerian working class. It captures the spirit of what the hustle and bustle of life in Nigeria means and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week..
The theme of this week’s #AWeekInTheLife is Elastiick Abah, a fitness trainer. He tells us about his rigorous training regimens, personal diets, and fitness myths that make him scratch his head the most.
Technically, my week starts on Sunday – if I’m nowhere to be on Sunday afternoon, I design meal plans and exercise programs for my clients. So when I wake up on Monday, all I do is go out and kill it.
The gym opens at 6am, so I wake up at 5am and head to the Lekki branch of the popular fitness chain where I work, 30 minutes later. From 6-7 am, I train five people, but my peak time is from 7-8 am when there are the most people. Ideally, I would finish my morning shift by 12pm, but you know the people who only work Phi na? So sometimes, I have to stay until 1pm Then I go to Sangotedo branch.
I had to work one shift a day, but in February 2022, I started working two shifts for two reasons. I’m trying to fund a personal project and I need more money. The second reason is that I worked for five years at the Sangotedo branch and found it boring and demoralizing to be in the same space every day. So I decided I needed to change the scene and move on to Lekki Phase 1.
I created a transition period for myself that ends in July . During this time, I’ll be working at two fitness sites – Lekki and Sangotedo – and have easy access to the Sangotedo area. I worry about leaving behind 5 years of building and nurturing a community of about 100 clients, but change is important.
Before May 2022, after morning class, I will cycle to Sangotedo to save time. But since Lagos banned okadas, any day there is a traffic jam, I still take the same traffic. I find a corner of the gym to sleep in until 4 p.m. when my evening shift begins. I have different customer groups every hour until 9pm, then I go back to Lekki. Depending on the traffic, I can go home any time from 9:45.
Today was a traffic jam because of the rain, so I got home at 11:30 am.
On Tuesdays at 7 a.m., I have a joint class called “Tabata,” a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine in which participants work for 20 seconds and rest. in 10 seconds. They repeat the cycle from five to eight rounds, and the class lasts from 45 minutes to an hour. Then I went out for lunch.
I used to eat six times a day. I’m an ectomorph – someone with a very high metabolic rate – and I have a physically active job. So I need more calories; I need to eat big to become big.
At 6:20 a.m., I’ll get the fruit: two apples and a handful of berries and grapes. By 9 a.m., I eat oatmeal, a banana and an egg, with peanut butter and milk. At noon, I can have rice with vegetables and chicken or beef. I eat pasta or swallow – or wheat or mashed sweet potatoes and soup – at 3pm. At 6pm I eat Irish potatoes with vegetables. When I get home at 10 or 11 p.m., or anytime Lagos traffic allows me to get home, I’ll have rice, potatoes or pasta. Sometimes it can be yogurt or whatever else is left in my fridge.
And let’s not forget to supplement. I would take several types – pre-workout, mid-workout and post-workout supplements. They contain whey protein, creatine, glutamine, mass gainer, omega 369, etc and cost around ₦150k per three months.
But all of that has changed because I’ve lost a lot of weight since taking on two shifts. I also haven’t been able to exercise since February because I was stressed from working out too many people in one day and couldn’t afford to push my body further. If I try, it turns off. I lost a lot muscle Massive volume and now a shadow of me before. I can’t wait to fully switch to the Lekki branch and finish a personal project I’ve raised funds for, so I can go back to work just the night shift like a normal person and keep working .
The supplements The price has also doubled. Now I have to pay ₦150k to buy half of what I used two years ago. In 2022, I will buy whey protein for ₦10 – 15k, but the same box is now from ₦38k. An energy drink tub costs from ₦22k to ₦48k and creatine, from ₦12k to ₦20k. These are the only ones I still use. I stopped buying the rest.
When I got home at 10:30 p.m. tonight, I prepared for Wednesday – boiled eggs before breakfast, packed my bags – and went to bed around 1am.
The only thing that’s different on Wednesdays is that I have a circuit training class at the Sangotedo branch in the evening. For circuit training, I create obstacles and a series of workout routines for my clients to complete in an allotted amount of time.
Something happened at Sangotedo branch today that made me laugh out loud. Sangotedo Gym is located in the same building (upper floor) as the pizzeria (downstairs). One of my clients worked out for an hour and left the gym. But just a few minutes later, I looked out the window and saw this woman sneaking out of the pizzeria with a president-sized pizza box. I made a video to show her the next time she hits the gym.
She reminds me of another client – a woman who constantly complains bitterly that she is not losing weight. Two weeks ago, this woman finished work at 9 p.m., the last day of the day, only to let me down the stairs to find her standing at shawarma the point.
I often tell clients that I can only be in charge of what they do in the gym. I can’t follow them around to keep track of what and how they eat. Behavior like this would upset – and hurt – any fitness trainer. When our clients aren’t making progress because of their habits, it’s as if we’re not doing our job well. We are not lawyers.
Mehn, the things I see at the gym! The gym brother make me smile. If it’s not people who go topless to show off their bodies, it’s those who think lifting weights that are too heavy for them will impress women. These “alpha males” mark territory and want people to know, “We’re running this town.”
The most common thing I hear people say about personal trainers is that we’re the guys who robbed everyone’s woman. Nothing could be better than the truth. As for me, I just have more female clients than men, and so, naturally, I’ll have sex with more women. But being a fitness trainer is the right profession, and personal training has to be disciplined and ethical.
All I focus on is my client’s progress. The most amazing thing that happened to me in this job was when a client went from being skinny, barely able to lift barbells, to being lifted and lifted 50kg, after five long months. When I see a client who is obese, loses weight and starts walking more confidently, my heart rejoices.
I often receive gifts from such overjoyed customers. Like today, someone abandoned me Airpods Pro. The sweet sleep that I will sleep this night will become legendary.
I’ve spent a better part of today trying to get two new clients to learn all the marketing myths. These fat women drank things like weight loss teas, and even when they lost weight, they quickly gained the weight back.
And that’s because they don’t work. These teas, pills and slimming pills are just marketing products. They don’t do nonsense. You will drink a weight loss concoction, and it will make you detox. Are you going to lose water weight and think you’re losing weight for real? No. Too many people are looking for shortcuts and don’t want to do the actual work.
There’s a science to weight loss – you just need to adopt an active lifestyle and eat at a calorie deficit.
Over the next few months, I will be working with them to reset their mindset and adopt best practices. If they can follow through and be consistent, I can’t wait to see their progress a year from now.
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Hello, I’m Ama Udofa and I write A week in life series at 9 a.m. every Tuesday If you’d like to be featured on the series or you know anyone interesting who would match the profile, fill out this sample.