Staying Motivated, Fit and Healthy: Tips from Body by Akua Fitness
Your body. Your drive. Your results. If you’ve ever met Akua Boakye, founder of Body by Akua Fitness, LLC, and certified personal/group fitness trainer, you know that she lives and breathes this motto. The Instagram videos of her putting in work and her amazing physique will have you lifting and squatting as if your life depends on it. For our first TBS WellnessTalk session, I sat down with Akua to get some tips and advice for everyday women, mothers, and female entrepreneurs who want to be more active or incorporate fitness into their wellness routine. From defining the “why” behind your wellness goal to finding time to be fit with a busy life schedule, we talked about it all. So buckle in, because there are some gems in this one.
Tell us a little bit about your fitness, shall I say your wellness journey.
My passion for fitness started about 15 years ago when I finally got sick and tired of seriously BEING SICK AND TIRED.
I was overweight for my height, miserable and had no concept of a healthy lifestyle. The transition from frumpy and lazy to fit and active was a slow process but one that needed to take place Pronto!!
I gathered up the courage (and Money) to hire a personal trainer in 2004 when I could no longer take the lifestyle of an unfit chick! My trainer helped me not only to lose weight, but he introduced me to the whole idea of muscle building instead of just losing weight. After my sessions with him expired, I was HOOKED! I saw results in the form of muscles that I did not even know were possible to have!! From that point on, I decided to invest in my health and fitness instead of material things.
You wear several hats– mom, wife, a school administrator, personal trainer, and entrepreneur. How do you find time with such a busy schedule? What’s advice can you share with everyday women who struggle to find time for the gym or a workout in their daily routine?
I’m always asked this question, so let me start by saying you can’t do it all perfectly. I hope people understand what I mean by that. Something will always lack because we can never be 100 percent all the time. However, whatever role you’re playing at that time, try and give it 100 percent.
For example, when I’m with my daughter, that’s her time, and I’m giving that everything. I’m not thinking about clients, school or anything else. Learn to see the time you take for yourself to get healthy as a gift to everyone else and all the different aspects of you. For me, a healthier me makes me a healthier mom, a better wife… you get where I’m going with it. It’s for you, but it’s for everyone else. Initially, you do it for yourself, but then the healthiest version of you benefits everyone at the same time.
A healthier you is a better you. It’s that simple. In fact, being and staying healthy has so many proven medical benefits– it helps with depression, heart health, etc. When you feel your best, the way people receive you is different because you carry yourself differently. I genuinely hope people will start to look beyond the aesthetics of fitness and see all the other ways it helps you become the best version of you.
For those who walk into the gym and are instantly confused or intimidated, what do you recommend? Where should she start?
The good thing about the gym is they have experts and trainers there–you have to use them. You can also find someone who has the education and have him/her create a plan for you. Don’t just go in there and do what the next person is doing. You can also get a trainer and have him/her come to your gym with you to show you how to use the machines. You have to find your niche, or you like, and that’s through educating yourself.
For the ladies who are not crazy about the gym but want to get into shape, where should she start?
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself whydo you want to get in shape. Nothing accomplished for the short-term will last for a long time because once you reach that goal, that’s it. And it will go with it too.
Also, you do not have to go the gym to get into shape… you can start in your own home. There are so many resources available on online, whether it’s YouTube or even Instagram. You can use technology to help you get started. The point is to get your body moving.
Fitness doesn’t have to be intense in the beginning. Starting out, you can’t be that “Instagram model.” Start simple. Find out what works for you. For some people, it might be a simple walk, and then you increase from there.
Can you talk about little bit about nutrition and share some tips for developing healthy eating habits.
I’m sure you’ve heard the 80/20 rule, and it’s very true. Nutrition is 80% of the results you will see. I always say abs are made in the gym, but perfected in the kitchen. You can work out every day, but if your nutrition is off you won’t see the results you want. Think about working out as icing on the cake… that’s just the little bonus.
I like to also remind [anyone I train] that food is medicine and fuel. The types of food you put into your body will help you perform better. You have ppl who say, “I get so tired when I’m working out,” but you have to tie it back to your food intake. It’s going to directly impact how you feel. You may not realize it but over time, what you eat directly impact fitness and overall wellness. The right food will fuel your workout so that you get the best results. At the end of the day, nutrition is more about balance and less about restrictions. It’s about making the right choices– and remember the things that you think are bad can be a treat every now and then but try not to make it a habit.
What’s the one thing that will make or break your fitness goals?
Knowing your “why” will help you achieve your fitness goals. Know the reason why you want to be healthy and zone in on that. For me, it’s all about longevity—I want to look good when I’m 65, so fitness can’t be something I do just for the weekend or a month. When your “why” is long-term then it becomes a lifestyle. By lifestyle, I mean it has to be a part of your daily routine and it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Nobody likes doing chores. It also has to be simple and predictable, just like waking up in the morning and taking a shower, no questions asked.
Keeping up with what everyone else is doing– that’s going to break your goals. You can’t worry too much about what everyone else is doing. At the end of the day, you don’t know what someone else’s goals are.
OK, it’s fall and winter is coming. Any tips or advice on getting and staying snatched until the summer?
What are your top 5 exercises?
- Burpees: this is an excellent exercise because it’s total body and it gets your heart rate up and going.
- Planks: I love planks because they incorporate the entire core.
- Fast knee ups: these are great for cardio because it gets your heart rate up in a short period.
- Interval sprints: similar to high-intensity interval training, sprints will give you the best results in a short period and saves you time.
- Donkey kicks (leg kickbacks): these targets the glutes.
Ladies, there you have it. I told you this would be a great one. Notice how you can combine the five exercises above into an indoor circuit–now you at least have something to start with. If you want to learn new exercises to create or switch up your routine, I highly recommend her IG page because she can get creative. If you have any comment or questions, feel free to share them below.
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