Fitness Trainer, Make Ayinda speaks on women and fitness
By Linda Orajekwe
After spending over ten years in the banking industry and not getting fulfillment, Maje Ayida quit his banking job after realizing exercises and fitness which he has always loved, and done for fun was what he is meant to do for life.
In the last 11 years in the industry, Maje Ayida has grown his reputation through consistent hard work, to becoming a celebrity fitness coach, training different personalities with visible results.
Seeking to know the importance of fitness in a woman’s overall well-being, Allure sought out MaJe at his Lekki location.
In this interview, the celebrity fitness coach talks the benefits of fitness when adopted as a lifestyle, appropriate exercises for each age group, the danger inn seeking shortcuts to looking good and how he overcame the darkness following his failed marriage.
How did your fitness journey start and how has it been like?
My fitness journey started back when I used to live in Abuja. I’ve always been about an active lifestyle and sports. I did all of that back in my schools days before I even started to understand what the benefits are. But the actual journey into fitness as a business started when I was working in the banking industry. At that time, I realized there was only one place I could exercise which was at the then Hilton Hotel. It was the only place and that frustrated me, and I made a decision that day that I was going to change that, and create a space where people can go to exercise. I thought of bringing in a big brand like Virgin Active: but along the way, I thought, why am I bringing in an external brand when I can be the Nigerian version of Virgin Active? So, I created my brand and I never looked back.
How was it like creating your own brand?
I looked at it as something I was single-minded about. There was no other alternative for me, once I made that decision. It was challenging because I had no money. When you don’t have money, little things that could go great in your company can be a challenge: but I found a way. I got some great advice. I formed some amazing strategic partnerships with people; that were how I overcame the initial challenge of getting started.
Who was the first partner you brought in?
My first partner was actually a guy called Udeme, who was amazing with speaking the language of computing. He built me a website for free and the tradeoff was that we would barter service for service. I kind of stuck with that as a policy. I try to form partnerships with people that I thought could bring value to me, and offer them whatever value I could offer them.
Speaking of health, what would you say is the role of fitness in the overall well-being of a woman?
The benefits of exercise are way beyond the physical. There’s a whole mental game to this that I’m a big advocate for, especially, in such a challenging environment like Nigeria. Two of the biggest challenges in this country today are stress and poverty. Exercising is a way to fight back and take control. I notice that a lot of women tend to give up as they get older. When they look at other women who manage to stay in shape after having babies, they are like, ‘oh my God, how did she do it?’ They don’t realize how essential it is to exercise.
For women, I see a lot of hate towards one another, a lot of self-loathing. I see a lot of women going under the knife, changing their bodies, trying to find a short cut to this stuff. I don’t know whether they put pressure on each other or on themselves, either way, I just want to advise you guys that you cannot cheat the system. The benefits of exercise are in the work itself; it’s in the process of exercise not in the results. You’re missing out on so much goodness if you’re cheating. So try to put in the work.
How does age affect exercise routines for women?
As you get older, your exercise regimen has to change a little bit. You do not see the same result you see in your 20’s when you’re in your 40’s. You have to work a little harder than the younger ones. For example, celebrities like J.Lo and Halle Berry, we see the photos they post on the gram but a lot of people don’t consider the work they put in to get that. The truth is, to achieve six packs; it takes a whole lot of work and commitment that a lot of people don’t just have. It involves paying attention to what you eat which might just be an apple for lunch. But what I recommend is balance of consistent workout and sustainable eating habits. So, as you get older, you have to work harder because your metabolism slows down, your body is not burning fat like it used to. You have to maintain that consistency because if you stop working out for a week, that can set you back six months.
What are some of the misconception people have when it comes to body fitness and exercising?
For women, one of the biggest misconceptions some of them have is that if you lift a weight, you’ll put on muscle and you’ll start looking like a man. Men and women develop differently. For starters, men have testosterone, which already means that we react to exercise differently. Secondly, I think it takes a little bit longer for women to see changes in their exercise because of our different genetic makeup. So men see progress quicker than women, but if women stay on track for a longer period of time, they will start to see the change as well. I’ll advise that women don’t spend time trying to see result rather; they should spend time trying to establish a consistent lifestyle. However, if the result is your goal, you’ll stop when you achieve it and in little or no time, you’ll fall off the wagon. When you fall off the wagon and the weight comes back, it comes back with friends.
What are some of the wrong things you see people do?
I think a lot of times it’s down to form or positioning. When you’re doing a particular move, a lot of people make the mistake of getting their form wrong. This makes the exercise harder and a little less effective. So I’ll also recommend paying attention to your form. Also, people get the intensity of their work-out wrong. They think that by going for a stroll on Lekki Bridge, chatting and taking selfie is enough. A year later, you’ll hear them complain of no change forgetting they’re not bringing intensity to the workout. It is important to max out in your work out; the weights you lift will get heavier, the distance you run will get longer. As time goes on, you have to progress and your body will get adjusted to these things. But if you keep doing the same thing, you’re going to stay at the same level. I always tell people I coach that if you can hold a conversation with me right after your workout, you have not worked hard enough because you should be lying on the floor gasping for air.