Tizi Talks With Bernard Ndong
Being fit is a journey and not a destination; it demands a lot of sacrifice, discipline, passion and dedication.
I was running a few minutes late when I was on my way to meet Bernard Ndong at Smart Gym for the photoshoot. Mbagathi Highway can really inconvenience you. Luckily I found him in the middle of his workout with endorphins oozing through his smile and I apologized vehemently for making him wait; but on a positive note, he ended up doing an additional workout which is always a win, right?! May I also add that he is such a gentleman.
If you are not aware, Bernard is currently a sports anchor and reporter working with Citizen Television Kenya. He also does consultancy work for social media influencing, TV production and translation. Ironically, unlike most media personalities, he doesn't host functions as an MC because he is quite self-conscious in front of large crowds (which is odd right?) Despite his good looks and great physique, he is very humble and opened up to me about his fitness journey.
At 34 years old, Bernard definitely passes for someone in his early twenties. He started working out in class 8 back in 1998 by doing sit ups and later in high school, he would incorporate equipment but he explained that this did not spur any noticeable growth and was still relatively small.
In University, his body responded to the weight training remarkably; he said he must have been a late bloomer. After being consistent in the gym for about 2 years he stopped all together for 3 years before resuming once again in October 2017.
Since he had been active all through school, he needed to find a way to incorporate his active lifestyle into his crazy work schedule. He decided to resume working out in the gym early in the morning because the evening program was difficult as he would leave the office at 9:00 p.m. As a result of staying active, it helped him foster self- discipline and the physical benefits kept him motivated. He also said that he rarely gets sick as a result of embracing a wholesome lifestyle.
My physique has been lean for a while and I fit into clothes much better. You get a certain high when you wake up early in the morning, do a proper work-out and then hit the showers.
He follows a four day training schedule where he targets his lower body on Monday using free weights and machines; Tuesday he focuses on chest and shoulders; Thursday is dedicated to back muscles and Friday is for metabolic exercises. Like most people, Bernard also struggles to find time in his busy routine to work out but specifically, waking up early in the morning.
His alarm rings at 4:45 am so that he makes it to the gym by 5:10 am to workout until 7:00 am; thereafter making his way to the office. He was honest about how sometimes his energy levels are low, feels too sleep deprived to hit the gym and conveniently ignores his alarm but still tries to make up for it somehow. Thankfully, his trainer incessantly calls him when he fails to show up; we all need such a trainer right? His work involves a lot of travel which disrupts his program and is forced to adapt.
With regards to cheat meals, Bernard spilled the beans on having a sweet tooth and his love for chocolate, blueberry, and carrot flavored muffins. He also enjoys pizza once in a while and McVites Hobnobs remains his guilty pleasure. His motivation to embrace a healthy lifestyle stems from his appreciation of good health being a form of wealth. On the days he doesn't feel like working out, he looks at his physique in the mirror which gives him the impetus to continue because he sees the results of all the hard work.
I realized that we have such sedentary lifestyles; I don’t want to be caught up in it. It’s flirting with danger as far as one’s health is concerned.
As we concluded the shoot, I opted to join him as he was wrapping up with an intense abdominal routine workout led by his trainer Chisanga followed by a really good stretch session.
We all know the importance of making time after your workout to stretch out your muscles and spread out any accumulated lactic acid. We started with a few simple moves and in my honest opinion, Bernard is pretty flexible!
If you are looking to start your fitness journey, here is his advice to you:- "The end justifies the means. Ask yourself, what do I want to achieve? Then work towards it. Being fit is a journey and not a destination; it demands a lot of sacrifice, discipline, passion and dedication. It’s going to be hard but when you see the results and you feel healthier and look better you will realize it was all worth it. It also becomes addictive. My two cents, pay that gym membership and start, if you don’t have the means, start jogging, engage in a vigorous physical activity, consistently while using the right technique. Oh that’s another important point, in the gym you might find a lot of know-it-alls just focus on doing an exercise that's within your limits and adopting the right techniques. If someone can bench press 100kg don’t rush to try it, with proper training you can lift even 110kg. Bottom line, get out of the comfort zone now!"
My biggest take from talking to Bernard is that he strongly believes in working out for the long term benefits. Although it feels great knowing that you can fit into clothes you couldn't previously fit in, working out and eating healthy should be part of your lifestyle because everything we feel and everything we do relates to our well being. I hope you remain consistent in your fitness journey and always remember that it doesn't get easier, you get stronger.
Loise Machira, Founder of Tizi Talks
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Photography: Brian Koome, Strikingly
Location: Smart Gym, Junction Mall
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Loise Machira: Zoe Leggings (Top & Leggings), Nike (Sneakers)
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