Fitness Goals In 2016

Written by Solum Ikelie.

It's finally 2016, yay!!! Let me guess, you're committing to new things, you're making resolutions... are you really serious with those or you're just in for the fun of it? Uhmm, here's something else you should totally commit to, along with praying more, hustling harder for your Banana Island mansion, calling home more, being a better person, and the rest of the long list of resolutions you want to drop on the altar this new year - keeping fit! Can I get an 'amen'?!

I prefer to use the term 'fitness' instead of 'weight-loss' because, the latter apparently conjures scary images of starvation and fainting spells, tedious exercises routines and misery in some minds. LOL! So, resolve to keep fit, bad-ass fit this year. Before you start complaining, this is not just another motivational speech. It's more like: it's-about-time-you-did-something-for-yourself-for-your-own-good. Because when you keep fit, you do it for you! You feel energized, fresh, young, HEALTHIER and of course fit! Plus you naturally and effortlessly lose weight and stay in shape when you're fit.

Don't decide to start exercising and eating healthy 'some other time', except that 'other time' is like right now, which is pretty much the best time to start. Stop the procrastination, stop the tomorrows, stop the excuses, just do it! Don't think you can? Very well then, I'll use myself as an example...

Genetics? No, it's not genetics. My name is Solum and I was always one of the "chubby" ones,  in school and at home. I also believed the orisirisi excuses; you have big bones, it's in your nature, you won't look good if you're slim etc. My biggest was 75kg at the age of 22. I got tired of wishing I could look and feel the way I really wanted. In 2008 after I graduated from the university, I started acting on my wishes little by little; trying to eat healthy with 20-30 minutes of light jogging around my house. Trust me, it wasn't easy. At first you'll feel like you're dying, because your body is doing something it's probably never done before but, keep the faith. Don't give up! You'll get stronger. As time went on I intensified and broadened my work-outs to whatever you can think of - thanks to google. I do cardio, pilates, strength training, yoga, weight-lifting... you name it. By the middle of 2009, I was down to 55kg (notice that it happened over time) and my endurance was great.

Mid 2009 @ 55kg
  2008 @ 75kg
No time? There are only 24 hours a day... yes, for all of us! My job starts at 7:30am and ends anything from 4-9pm. There are days I leave the office at 10pm or 11pm... I kid you not. You have kids? Pleased to meet you. I have a baby but I always squeeze in that workout - bleary eyed and weary from late nights and breastfeeding at 3am. Commit to it and you can. There's no result without consistency. Plus time will pass anyway; minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and of course another year!

Don't think you can keep it up? Well, you'll never know until you try. You just have to start to find out. Even the greatest athletes have their blue days. But like everything in life, when you fall, you don't remain down, you get up and continue. You'll fall into temptations - cake, pizza, poundo yam, banga soup, bread... I do too. But you don't give up because you had a bad day, you do better.  I don't work out every day. Sometimes I have to talk to my inner spirit. Everyone has lazy days, but remember why you're doing this, set your eyes on the goal and jump right up. The hardest part of working-out or eating healthy is starting. Be it starting the fitness journey or starting your day with exercise or the right food. Once you start, the rest is easy. It was my mum's birthday two weeks ago and I descended on her birthday cake like a homeless person (LOL!). Needless to say, I packed on a few pounds (that's what my scale said anyway). Of course I was upset, of course I felt bad, of course I resolved to do better... and better I have done.

This is me at 8 months of pregnancy
Preggy? Congratulations! Research has proven that you can work out while pregnant provided you were active before and have no complications. Speak to your doctor, stay hydrated and try not to get overheated. Maybe 300 squats is too much for you, how about a 30 minutes brisk walk? It can go a long way for your heart rate (whether you were active before pregnancy or not). Also do you know that a mild exercise even for 15 minutes 3 times a week helps with morning sickness? If you were already fit before pregnancy, you can even go HIIT!(High Intensity Interval Training). I personally worked out 3 to 4 times a week while pregnant. Exercise helped me with my mood, energy and disposition especially in the dreaded 1st trimester. It also delayed some annoying symptoms like swollen feet, lack of balance and other funny aches. *whispers* - I even did 30 minutes of cardio and strength training the day I went into labour. Shhh! Staying active during pregnancy does wonders to your muscles and also rewards you with a smooth and short labor. There are lots of pregnancy friendly exercise DVDs on youtube. 

You're breastfeeding? Guess what? So am I... ha ha! I gained 22.6kg with pregnancy and my baby is not up to 3months old but I already lost 14kg and still pushing. Nope, I did not starve nor eat anything different from our regular African foods. I simply modify our very own Naija recipes to healthy standards. There's also no need to eat for two to breastfeed. Just eat healthy and drink a lot water. Has it been easy? No ...but I manage to get it done because fitness is a commitment to a lifestyle change - like brushing your teeth twice instead of once a day. So if I can do it, what's your excuse?

Gyms are expensive? You don't need a gym. A thousand and one exercise moves out there can be done in the comfort of your home. Use your one-litre bottled water as dumb-bells (you can also fill the bottles with sand or gravel), run up and down your stairs, squat more when you want to lift objects instead of bending at the waist. Do you know you can exercise while watching your favorite show on TV? What of good old skip/jump rope? And then there's youtube! Don't you ever look at Mrs Obama and go... Dayuuumn!? I know, right?!

With these few points of mine, I hope I have convinced you that you can definitely be fit, fierce and fabulous in 2016. Just make the decision, research and commit! Can I get that 'amen' now? 

***Solum is a fun, cheerful naturalista who constantly seeks challenges in new things, just to prove to herself that it can be done.




  1. You tried o. been trying to go down i hoep to start seeing results soon abeg