I stumbled upon Maje Ayida’s page on Instagram a couple of months back, and within seconds of looking through his posts I clicked ‘follow’. I was especially inspired by his quotes on fitness and healthy eating. It resonated with me because his IG posts were uplifting, inspiring and encouraging. He clearly understands that fitness is a lifestyle, not an event; that even the best of us do get discouraged sometimes and want to give up – and he has the right motivational posts to keep you going just when you were about to throw in the towel – he helps you realize you should rather use it to wipe the sweat from your workout off your face :-).
I decided to interview him, and get some answers to some of the questions that I have and the questions that I sometimes get asked (not being a fitness expert myself) and thought to share this interview with all you lovely people.
Enough said already; check out his bio below, followed by my interview with him. I trust you will learn a thing or 2!
Maje Ayida was raised in the UK where you went through the full education system. He worked in banking for 10 years in London and Nigeria before launching Eden Lifestyle Nigeria in 2012, providing Wellness services to corporates and individuals in Lagos. The company was voted Fitness Brand of the Year 2013 and his lifestyle website was nominated for Fitness Blog of the year 2013.
Maje has made numerous television and radio appearances as a Wellness advocate, was a featured writer for TW Magazine and currently has a weekly column in ThisDay newspaper every Saturday.
BINA: What fitness or weight loss myths bother you the most? In your experience what are the real facts?
MAJE: I find that fads like waist trainers and slimming pills are not the best way to go about achieving weight loss goals. It’s pretty much just cheating what you can’t cheat. There is no sustainable substitute for eating right and exercise. This type of journey requires patience.
BINA: Stubborn belly fat – how can one get rid of it?
MAJE: The best way to get rid of belly fat is to focus on overall weight-loss. A lot of people waste their time doing crunches when they need to concentrate on diet. Workouts targeted at your abs are good when you have already made weight-loss gains and want to start toning. Shedding the fat on your tummy will naturally reveal the muscle underneath.
BINA: Please share your recommendations on healthy eating within the Nigerian food context.
MAJE: The Nigerian diet is a tough one, a lot of fatty food and oil. I believe it’s best to start with controlling your portions and what time you eat. Going for aggressive diet changes is not sustainable at the start, especially for you foodies out there. Once you can do this, then you can start looking at what you’re actually eating. I wrote an article on calories in Nigerian food on my site, http://edenlifenigeria.com/calories-in-nigerian-food-part-1, and my advice is: do your research, learn what foods are good and what’s bad. Learn to minimize your carb intake at night, learn what foods to snack on between meals, learn why it’s better to have smaller meals more frequently, learn why you shouldn’t skip breakfast as so many people do.
BINA: How do you manage to exercise and stay fit given your busy schedule and what tips do you have for other busy people who can’t find the time for fitness?
MAJE: It’s important that I practice what I preach but that’s not hard for me because I really enjoy it. The key is to prioritize. Make your workout time as important as your most important meetings in your worklife. Next I recommend finding something you enjoy, there’s no point trying to be a runner if you hate jogging. You may prefer swimming, or if you enjoy dancing then join a dance-fitness class. If you really are super busy, I suggest learning body weight exercises you can do before you even set out on your day. It is really a mindset, you have to decide that exercise is necessary, because it really is, it will save your life. Understand that inactivity leads directly to lifestyle diseases.
BINA: What is your favorite health and wellness mantra and why so?
MAJE: Hmmm, tough one because I have a few. I guess it would be that mastery of self is the beginning of wisdom. You have to learn to become a master of you and therein lies the challenge.
You can follow Maje on instagram: @majeayida