Tizi Talks With Gabriella Waugh
by Loise Machira
Welcome back to our interview series where we share fitness journeys of people we admire with the hopes of inspiring you to keep you going. We strongly believe that we can always learn something from anyone who has been able to break through the mental grit that fitness requires. Majority of people who want to start working out often struggle with the motivation to start and the consistency to keep going.
Gabriella Waugh is a consultant at Intermedia Development Consultants (iDC); an organisation that offers consultancy services to clients such as the UN and other development agencies. She is currently a consultant on an assignment for UNDP Somalia where they are running third party monitoring of all their projects in Somalia; but she would much rather be a gym owner. She is a huge fitness enthusiast and even shares some of her favorite workouts on social media. You are guaranteed of getting a nudge to hit the gym if you stumble on her growing account.
TIZI: How old are you?
TIZI: How long have you been working out?
GW: I first joined the gym in 2013; anything I did before that definitely did not count as working out! Pre-2013, there was no consistency at all.
TIZI: What made you start?
GW: My fiancé is your typical sporty man. Captain of all the sports teams in school, running marathons for fun, you know the type. And when we first met, I was the total opposite. Never went to P.E, ate and drank whatever I wanted, smoked like a chimney, and relied on my fast metabolism to look healthy (although I was far from it). Now, you know how it is when you start a new relationship, I wanted him to love me!
...So I toned down the party girl, and took an interest in his hobbies. He introduced me to the gym, where I was so nervous and uninformed; I spent the first 6 months just jogging on the treadmill. But eventually my competitive side took over and I wanted to be as good as those around me. And then I started seeing results, and well that was it.
My addiction for smoking was exchanged for an addiction to gains.
TIZI: Do you feel like it has made a difference in your life?
GW: Definitely. First of all, working out made me clean up my act. I now take such good care of my body, and really think about what I eat and drink. It motivated me to stop smoking, as I found it to be such a glaring contradiction to what I wanted to achieve. Secondly, working out has changed my body. I’ve gained muscle and definition, and lost unwanted fat (although I also lost my boobs!) This change in physical appearance makes me so proud. My muscles show hard work.
...Thirdly, and this is the most important difference, is that it has given me a whole circle of friends I never would have had. I have met so many amazing people, online and offline, which I never would have had otherwise. And as an expat who moved away from all my friends and family, the gift of friendship and a social life is priceless.
TIZI: Can you please take us through your fitness routine on the weekday and weekend?
GW: My weekday routine is always planned out on Sunday evening, and doesn’t usually change. Mondays will be my glute and quad day, also known as squat day! Tuesday is an upper body session – as my upper body is quite developed, I only want one session per week. Wednesday is where I go out of my comfort zone and take one of the classes at Alpha Fit.
...On Thursdays I go to a friends place to do sprints on her treadmill (as Alpha is lacking machines), I love sprints and couldn’t live without them. Friday’s are my glute and hamstring day, or otherwise known as deadlift day! The weekend is free-styled. I often travel, so I usually have to make sure everything is done during the week, but if I have the weekend free, I will go for a run, or have a “play” session at Alpha where I mess around with all the fun equipment they have such as the ropes or sleds. Oh, and abdominal exercises are usually thrown in somewhere when I remember!
TIZI: Do you find it difficult to include your workout into your daily routine?
GW: I work from 9 am to 5 pm; so the time I have free to workout is either before or after work. After a while of working out in the evenings, then rushing home to cook dinner and go to bed, we decided that maybe mornings were worth a shot. This way our evenings would be free for chill time. Initially, getting up at 5 was a complete nightmare, and to be honest, with these cold mornings it still is! However, it is something you adjust to, and my internal clock will now always make sure I’m in bed by 9.30 and up early. I could never not workout; therefore I always overcome the struggle to get out of bed, because you know that afterwards you are going to feel great.
TIZI: Do you have a cheat meal? If yes, what is it?
GW: Haha well, currently I seem to be having cheat weekends. Which I do not recommend to anyone looking to lose weight! But as we travel a lot, and I have little self-control, the past few weekends have been very reckless. My go to cheat foods are always carb based – pizza, crisps, vegetable burgers, chips, and pasta.
TIZI: What keeps you motivated?
GW: Motivation, I believe, can come from a healthy place and a bad place. On one hand I am motivated by a desire to reach goals, to be a better version of myself, to look and feel as good as I possibly can. My exercise routine is something I enjoy; therefore I look forward to it. Knowing what I am going to do, why I am doing it and the results I will get from it, all really help me be inspired each day.
...I am also motivated by fear of being left behind, of letting myself down, and of putting on weight. This fear means sometimes I am motivated to workout when I probably shouldn’t, when I’m tired or injured for instance. So trying to navigate that can be difficult. If anything, I have to find the motivation not to go to the gym. I think everyone should assess what motivates them, and decide if they are working out for the right or wrong reasons.
TIZI: What can you advise people who want to start their fitness journey?
GW: My biggest recommendation for anyone is to educate yourself. The amount of information on working out and diets is astounding. And can be a little overwhelming for someone new. But, if you start watching YouTube tutorials and looking at fitness or health related websites, then a) you will start to learn what it is you want to get from fitness, b) you will start to realise how you can get to where you want, and c) you will enjoy the whole process of working out more, because you will understand it.
Don’t just blindly copy someone else. Don’t just do what your class or personal trainer tells you. Take the time to learn about your body, and what exercise and a healthy diet can do for it.
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