NO FOCUS NO GAIN

Mould fitness before taking selfies: Celeb gym instructor Prince Arakaki

Ladies are the most common when it comes to this habit, but Prince Arakaki is lenient with them as a coach

In Summary

• Kenyans have become health conscious, and Prince has learnt that what scares people most is death.

Gyms are mushrooming from every corner of urban areas because as more Kenyans become health conscious. Thousands are spending a lot of time in gyms.

Prince Arakaki, a professional fitness trainer who has been training people for 12 years, says people go to the gym to achieve different goals, including losing weight or gaining muscles.

Prince is a trainer at WentWorth Gym in Kileleshwa. Speaking to Sasa, he said, “It’s my passion. My main aim has always been to help people stay fit. As a gym instructor, what gives me satisfaction is to see my clients achieve their goals.”

Prince is also a celebrity trainer. Some of the big names he trains are Sports CS Amina Mohamed and Foreign Affairs private attaché Kabiru Mugacha.

Others include artistes Otile Brown, Khaligraph Jones, Timmy Tdat, Arrow Boy, Krg the Don and Magix Enga. But he says working with celebs is challenging.

“You need to work with their time. Some are busy in studio most of the time, and as their trainer, you have to create time for them and understand them. Most of them come when under pressure or moody, so you need to know how to gel with them,” he says.

“Amina is hardworking and very welcoming. She likes to inquire first before we do any workout.”

 

BRINGING SEXY BACK

Prince trains people aged 16-55. He says exercises for children should not be like a punishment. Before training anyone, he ensures he understands what they like. “Maybe some like boxing, karate, running, so after learning what they’re into, from there we build something that will help them to work on their fitness goals. For children, weight training is a no.”

What Prince has learnt from his clients is that “what scares people most is death”.

“More women are working out than men. Some of my clients are here because of health issues and others it’s because of self-esteem and some aesthetic value. ‘I would like to lose my belly fat, I want my posterior to look sexy,’ that’s what I hear most of the times,” he says.

Just like a market, a gym has different types of clients, and the gym rat says he has learnt to accommodate everyone.

“In this field, you have to understand you’re working with different people with different ideologies from different backgrounds. So the best thing I usually do is understand them first before judging,” Prince says.

“It’s a very challenging field because you have to be patient, especially dealing with those who pose during workouts just to take selfies. Ladies are the most common when it comes to this, but as a coach, you need to give them what they want. I’m a very lenient coach.”

He advises such gym goers to “do what brings you to the gym first and selfies later”.

Many people don’t wear the right workout gears. “You can work in anything you feel comfortable. But for ladies, I would advise them to at least wear a sports bra when working out because it’s better,” Prince says.

“For instance, when I ask you to jump, you find it very difficult or painful if you aren’t wearing one. Also, get the right shoes because you might injure your knees if you wear the wrong ones.”

 

DISABLED, PREGNANT CLIENTS

Most gyms lack facilities for disabled people, but Prince says they can still train. “There are some exercise we can especially do with them. I have a client who has a back injury, and for such clients, I treat them with so much care because in case of anything, they’ll never walk again. So there are some physio exercises we do that improve their overall wellness,” he says.

Prince currently has two pregnant clients. He says it’s important for pregnant women to work out until the last day. He recommends they do leg, back and arm exercises to avoid lower back pains.

And after how long should a mother go back to the gym after giving birth?

“If a mother gives birth naturally, she can start working out after two or three months. Some even do a month. But for one who has undergone Caesarean section, I won’t accept you if you’re less than six months. You should have stayed six months plus to avoid endangering the body. One must heal properly first.”

Nowadays, many people, especially celebs, undergo liposuction and gastric bypass to get that coveted shape, but Prince is not for the idea.

“There are some people who want the pain of the blade and those who want the pain of sweat. It depends with what you want, but what I’d advise is go for long term,” he says.

“Fitness is not a seasonal thing. Let it be more of a lifestyle, such that after achieving your goals, you stop. You should be motivated by Gabriel Union, Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron, Zuckerberg. They are rich and have embraced fitness as a lifestyle. It’s very important to take fitness as a lifestyle.”

 

IMPORTANCE OF DIET

The fitness coach says diet is a major challenge to most people working out because they don’t stick to proper meal plans. “I guide my clients on what to eat and not to. If you follow the diet, in the long run, you achieve your goals,” he says.

“Also, you should know that diet without exercise is zero work.”

Prince is not against detox, but he advises people to “stick to it because if you stop, you’ll start gaining weight again. It works if you do it properly”.

He advises combining diet and weight training because it will tone your body and make it firm. This will help the cellulite and stretch marks disappear. Proper diet and training will give you the best results, he says.

Prince says carbs are important and one shouldn’t exclude them in their diet but control their portions. Some instructors warn trainers from eating carbs or a heavy meal past a certain time, but Prince says it’s not right.

“If your body doesn’t get enough food, it goes into catabolism. The best thing is portion control,” he says.

Talking about the difference between supplements and steroids, he says it’s just food but in a different way. Supplements are very good and give you proteins or vitamins; they’re there to boost you, while steroids have adverse side-effects; they are more of a growth hormone.

The fitness coach says trainers go through several problems, among them women seducing them. “Being a male trainer isn’t easy. Women throw themselves at you but as for me, I don’t cross the line,” he says.

Responding to claims that gym instructors are promiscuous, he says it’s somehow true. “It depends with an individual, though there are some cases where trainers go overboard. But if you know who you are and what you want and where you want to go, then you won’t involve yourself with your clients. This field is very sensitive and if you mess, it can spoil your career,” he says.

He urges his fellow trainers not to mix business with pleasure.

 

WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY

Recently, Governor Mike Sonko shared photos of himself, saying he was going to hit the gym to lose kitambi.

Prince says it all starts in the mind. His advice to the city boss is, “Look for a good trainer. Even me, I can train you to achieve your goals, but I need to understand your time first. Because for you to see the results, we need to put in effort, which is training and diet. You can start with simple exercises, such as jogging.”

His general advice to anyone on a weight loss journey is, “When you’re hungry take water and also do the same a few minutes before you eat because you’ll eat less. Also, eat lots of citrus fruits, such as pineapples, because they contain bromelain, which aids in weight loss.”

Prince says it’s important for companies to have team building because it helps improves employees’ productivity. 

Body shaming is rampant on social media. The fitness coach’s word to those bullied is, “Don’t take it as a problem. Take it as a challenge that you and you alone can achieve. Accept the challenge and take the right measures. What matters is how you view yourself.”

He advises anyone who wants to start working out to do a background check before allowing someone to train them.

“There are several quacks out here. A good coach should know your objective first and know if you are suffering from any disease or have or had an injury. If you get a back coach, you might end up spending more treating injuries because of acquiring cheap services. Let him or her explain to you every exercise before you start working out.”

He concludes by saying, “To those who can’t afford to go to the gym, money is not the reason why you shouldn’t keep fit. There are some exercises you can still do at home to lose weight. Same applies to those who travel a lot but don’t get gyms to work out in. Push-ups, sit-ups, and squats work.”