Mother, Lawyer, Model
Welcome back to episode four of Tizi Talks with Lisa Wasonga; a Lawyer by profession and currently the Manager in the Advisory Business Restructuring Services line at PWC in Nairobi. Yes you read it correctly! On top of slaying her career game, Lisa is also a mother. She has modeled for True Love, and last year, she even featured as cover girl for Healthy Woman (post- partum)! Yes ladies, she is the definition of the ultimate bounce back queen. You can check out the behind the scenes for her photoshoot here and if you need motivation to get back into shape, you can follow her on instagram at @kenyabella (stalk away and feel encouraged to hit the gym, or join an outdoor fitness class). She exudes confidence, beauty, humility and such class.
Due to her love for fitness, she plans to start a podcast called Flex and the City in which she will co-host with her friend Clarice Wilson. The motive behind the podcast is to remind society that strong is feminine and beautiful. For the longest time, both of them would be confused for trainers because of their strong physiques and it became apparent that their ability to balance work, family and fitness wasn't typical.
They felt the need to create a platform where they can inspire women to love themselves no matter their shape, to pursue health, to not fear strength and to realize that you can indeed have it all. Lisa and her co- host are still regular women, working through finding love, balancing raising a child, and they still succumb to chocolate cake and wine cravings! Look out for their podcast coming soon by following their instagram page here. You can understand my excitement when she shared her fitness journey with me! This is what she had to say.....
TIZI: How long have you been working out?
LW: I've always been into sports. College saw me take a hiatus from fitness but I regained it in my final year. I started pilates and yoga and some weight training during law school, which led to a brief stint of teaching pilates for a year or so. I'd say I became relatively consistent during law school (2007-2009), and commenced crossfit about 6 months post-partum (2014).
TIZI: What made you start?
LW: As I said, I was very into sports in high school, so it's always been a part of my life. It's always been the same reasons: health and wellness. That is, peace of both mind and body. CrossFit added a third dimension to this - strength. I had my son via Caesarian Section and all I heard was "say goodbye to your body and abs and a flat belly and strength". I took the challenge. I was fortunate enough to emerge from my CS experience feeling strong and ready to take on motherhood. Motherhood in itself, brought about its own awareness of strength, one I had never experienced before and that is very hard to explain. Moms know what I mean. I felt I could take on anything! Yes the vain part of me wanted my fit physique back for aesthetic reasons, but another part, a more self-aware part, wanted more. And so CrossFit, something that had intimidated me for a long time prior, became the stone against which I sharpened myself. Once I saw the progression of strength and the emergence of things I never knew my body could do, I was hooked! And the rest, as they say, is history.
TIZI: Do you feel like it has made a difference in your life? If yes, how so?
LW: CrossFit has definitely made a difference in my life. As I said, strength was an unexpected but a very welcome component. But more than anything, it has forced me to learn to love my body. It was easier to have a more conventional frame, despite it being less functional and healthy. CrossFit and lifting has given me strength and musculature that is relatively atypical of what is expected of women, particularly in this society. So, as much as I loved the new things my body could do, I also had to learn to love the new body itself. And it is true what they say - how you love yourself is how you teach others to love you. Typical opinions towards fitness and aesthetics have changed. That's not to say it has been all smooth sailing. There are still some days I come across an old 'skinny pic' of myself and wonder what it would be like to look like that again, or to be able to wear sleeveless dresses to work and not get comments on the size of my arms. But I try to focus on the abilities my physique has brought with it, and that list is far longer than what my old physique gave me.
......."As a mother, I am a constant example to my son. Parenthood makes you realise that nearly everything you do and say is suddenly now consumed by a tiny, precious, impressionable audience. It changes you for the better pretty quick. I wanted to not only be an example of hard work in the sense of what I do for a living, but also in the discipline I apply to a healthy body and mind. My son therefore frequently accompanies me to workouts whether at home or at CrossFit or yoga. And I Thank CrossFit for providing an environment conducive to that."
TIZI: Can you please take me through your routine on a weekday? And the weekend?
LW: Weekdays are largely routine: I wake up just before 5am, help prepare my son's clothes and food for school, get ready for work, then spend about an hour with him once he wakes before he goes to school. I drive to work and try to do what I get paid to do to very well, then brave the traffic and race to make it to the gym on time. I get in my 1 hour of training which consists mostly of CrossFit, but sometimes varied with cardio days, HIIT, or mobility. I rest either on Tuesdays or Fridays.
Baby fever anyone?
......"Weekends are often busier than weekdays - I drop off my son for swim class in the morning then proceed to the gym. After a workout I usually spend some time socializing or going to lunch with friends. Errands and grocery shopping usually follow, then an early evening at home with the family. Sundays a similar early start, where I may do some of my prep for cooking my meals for the week, then proceed to the gym, usually with my son in tow. If I'm feeling heroic and my son is sufficiently entertained, I may manage two workouts on Sundays. After that it's back home for meal prep and some quality time and wind down for the upcoming week."
Lisa and her Co- Host, Clarice Wilson
TIZI: Do you find it difficult to include fitness in your daily routine?
LW: There was a time I did. But then it became such a core part of my life and one that I enjoy that it is simply habit, like brushing my teeth or eating. So much so that my body and mind both operate less optimally if circumstances force me to miss many workout sessions. Enemies of progress such as Nairobi traffic and excessive workload I would say are the only factors that make it difficult sometimes. :)
TIZI: What keeps you motivated?
LW: God. My son. My health. My progress. Habit.
TIZI: What can you advise people who want to start their fitness journey?
LW: Just start. Don't think of it as a journey. Each second you spend doing something good for your body and mind is a journey begun and concluded. Focus on putting everything you have in you into that moment and on maintaining your health rather than aesthetics or lofty goals. The results will come.
With the challenges that come with balancing being a mum, her fitness goals and a thriving career, Lisa shows us that you can still have it all! She highlights the benefits of crossfit, a workout which she previously feared, became the stone against which sharpened her. (I love that). I hope her fitness story inspires you to invest time for working out and to pick a workout that challenges you because you know what they say....
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