"I’m surrounded by great people who push me to work harder."
Isn't it absolutely crazy that we are only left with one week to the end of April? Time flies but the good news is that you are the pilot and in charge of what you do with it. Welcome back to episode twenty five of Tizi Talks with Clarice Wilson. She is a policy adviser on environment with the United Nations and has also adopted the Kenyan habit of having a 'side hustle' where she owns a company that produces natural, shea butter- based products.
Clarice is also a fitness enthusiast and has partnered with Lisa Wasonga to create a podcast called "Flex and the City" where they'll be talking about fitness as a lifestyle. Fitness as a lifestyle is an important conversation we need to have as Kenyans because it has the power to unlock our potential and positively change our perspectives on life. Make sure to look out for their podcast.
Clarice and Lisa
I am so excited to have her on this segment! We got to chatting and even managed to sneak in a photo shoot while she was in her cross-fit class. Here is what she had to say...
TIZI: How old are you?
CW: I turned 40 at the beginning of April (eep!)
TIZI: How long have you been working out?
CW: For as long as I can remember. Since class two when I told my mum that I wanted to quit piano lessons for athletics (though now I do wish I found a way to stick with the piano lessons).
TIZI: What made you start?
CW: At that age I just enjoyed being in competitive teams and always got a thrill out of making the A team or being team captain. My older sister read a book called “fit for life” when I was a teenager and set about revolutionizing the household. She even managed to convert our mother. There was much less fufu and palm oil drenched stews and more fruit and pan-fried stuff.
TIZI: Can you please take me through your daily fitness routine on a weekday? And the weekend?
CW: I typically workout 5-7 times a week. Two years ago, I started CrossFit at CrossFit Kwetu in Gigiri. On weekdays I’ll do evening classes. On Saturdays I do a class called Aero Club, which focuses on skills and conditioning, followed by Olympic Weightlifting. On Sundays I typically go to StrongFit, which is a strength training class. I’ll occasionally schedule a skills-based class with a specific coach to work on a weakness, like gymnastics movements. This sounds like a lot! But the weekend classes are things I do for fun and don’t feel like its a workout that I have to grit my teeth through.
TIZI: Do you find it difficult to include your workout in your daily routine?
CW: No, because I don’t compromise. If someone asks for a meeting that will conflict with my exercise routine, I reschedule it. I set clear boundaries and make it known that you actually don’t want to be around me if I haven’t worked out in a while.
Back day anyone?
TIZI: Do you feel like it has made a difference in your life? If yes, how so?
CW: Absolutely, unequivocally. I always say that exercise is my therapy and it keeps me sane. If a few days go by without some sort of physical activity, I begin to feel sluggish and despondent. I need those endorphins! People will constantly say to me, “wow, you’re so disciplined.” I don’t see it that way at all, working out is part of my well-being. It’s how I relieve stress. It also keeps me healthy and enables me to maintain a fairly stable weight. I’m never going to cut sweets, cake in particular, out of my life and I want to be able to indulge occasionally without seeing an expansion in my waistline. While I say it’s not about discipline for me, there’s also an aspect of building exercise into my lifestyle as part of my routine that keeps me focused and constantly striving to improve that translates to all parts of my life.
TIZI: What keeps you motivated?
CW: Learning different things. There are lots of movements I haven’t mastered. There’s nothing like beating a personal best or learning to do something you couldn’t do before. For example, it’s taken me over a year to be able to string together double unders (making the jump rope pass under you twice with each jump). This was a massive frustration for me, and still is, I have the rope burns to prove it. But every time I manage to knock out a decent set, it’s an accomplishment. I’m also motivated by other people who can do things that I can’t and have something to teach me. I have an excellent weight lifting coach. Winnie Okoth, who pushes me to be a better Olympic Weightlifter. And I’m surrounded by great people who push me to work harder.
TIZI: What can you advise people who want to start their fitness journey?
CW: Just start. Don’t make excuses. You only have 5 minutes? Fine, go for a walk or pick a 5-minute push-up and squat routine from the internet. People often say to me I don’t have time, or I’m not fit enough to join you. It doesn’t matter what level of fitness you’re at or if you can only find a few minutes in the day to exercise, start where you are and build from there.
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