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Tizi Talks with Soni Adriance

· Interviews

You are one workout away from a good mood.

Dear Reader,

Did you know that science has proved fitness to be a key factor in improving mental resilience as a result of the release of endorphins? These are the happy hormones released in your body after working out. According to Health Line, the word endorphin comes from putting together the words “endogenous,” meaning from within the body, and “morphine,” which is an opiate pain reliever. In other words, endorphins got their name because they are natural pain relievers. They trigger a positive feeling in the body which can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. Welcome to episode thirty of Tizi Talks with Soni Adriance. You are in for a treat!

Soni is an Urban Ambassador with Carlsberg Kenya working with Carlsberg and Tuborg in Nairobi. Her insatiable passion for food led her to start a vibrant blog called Soni Side Up which focuses on discovering the booming restaurant and bar scene in Nairobi and occasionally abroad. (You must check it out) Soni is also a crossfit enthusiast and recently successfully completed the MURPH challenge. We are still in awe! You know we had to feature her on this series because her fitness journey is one we can learn and draw inspiration from.

TIZI: How old are you?

SA: I am 26

TIZI: How long have you been working out?

SA: I've been working out since October of 2017. If I'm being entirely honest, before October 2017, the last time I had worked out was probably sometime in 2011 for about 6 months.

TIZI: What made you start?

SA: In October 2017, I experienced what I can only describe as an emotional breakdown. I was really upset/in a rut for a few days and couldn't figure out the root cause. Nothing particularly dramatic had happened; mostly a lot of small stressors that led me to a breaking point. I went to see a therapist who asked me some basic questions about my daily routine; how much I was sleeping, whether I eat three meals a day, how my finances were, my exercise routine, etc.

...When I admitted to not being active in 6 years, she suggested I start doing something -- anything -- to get lightly active again. Exercise can have tremendous effects on your mental and emotional wellbeing. The following week I signed up for a gym membership and started doing classes. Since then I started experiencing the various benefits of staying healthy and now I'm 8 months in to a somewhat steady fitness routine.

TIZI: Do you feel like it has made a difference in your life?

SA: Yes! I mean, outside of the obvious health benefits, I also find that exercising gives me energy throughout the day since I workout in the morning before I start my day. I also think it generally improves my mood and it's really rewarding to see my mobility, strength and endurance improve.

TIZI: Can you please take us through your daily fitness routine on a weekday? And the weekend?

SA: My fitness routine varies: usually, I'll do 3 days a week of Crossfit-like training, two days a week of HIIT training and one day of yoga or some strength training on my own depending on how my body feels. I'll usually have a rest day on Sunday.

TIZI: Do you find it difficult to include your workout in your daily routine?

SA: When I started I certainly did, as a matter of fact it was probably the biggest hindrance (or at least that's what I told myself) to getting started. Now, I wake up significantly earlier (around 5 a.m) to start my day but after a couple of weeks of waking up early, my body adjusted and now I'm naturally an early riser.

TIZI: Do you have a cheat meal? If yes, what is it? :)

SA: No, I don't really do 'cheat meals'. Food is my passion, I live to eat. I also don't think restrictive eating is for me, I don't really 'believe' in the idea of cheat days for myself. I find it means I'll end up binging and eating worse than I usually would if I just let myself eat something indulgent once in a while. Without getting into it too much, I also think sometimes societal pressure and standards can make people (particularly young women) fear food, and I always want to focus on having a positive relationship with food.

...All of that being said, I try to make sure I eat a balanced diet: lots of fruits, veggies, protein, carbs etc. (you know, the usual stuff) and if I feel like eating a pizza or having dessert, I do it. Life is short and my metabolism won't be this high forever.

TIZI: What keeps you motivated?

SA: Hard to say... I keep waiting for the day I give up my exercise routine as I so often have in the past. Oddly enough, that nagging feeling that one day I might give up motivates me to keep going because I've begun to really enjoy my new lifestyle a lot. My peers help keep me motivated too, I've made some good friends at the gym who want to be active together on weekends and it always helps to have a buddy who will check in on you and make sure you get your butt out of bed to do something active. Lastly, I think my body is at a point where it craves the exertion. I find if I don't workout for a while I start to feel sluggish and I don't get that endorphin kick that improves my mood and that keeps me coming back to exercise.

TIZI: What can you advise people who want to start their fitness journey?

SA: I hate when people say 'just start' but it's so true. If you're like me and feel like you never have time in your day due to your busy schedule, make time. If it's important to you, you can/will make the time. Also, start small and remember any form of getting your body moving counts! Whether that's dance (outside of a nightclub at 2a.m lol), yoga, sports, a bike ride, a walk -- anything.

...Listen to your body and even start with 30 minutes of light exercise to ease into it. If you're a night person, instead of watching TV for an hour at night, switch on a YouTube channel and try an easy-to-follow yoga routine from channels like Alo Yoga or Purple Valley Ashtanga. If you're a morning person, go for a light run before you start your day or depending on the distance, make time to walk to the office, it'll be hard to get up that early the first few times but remember - once you're up, half the battle is done and your body will quickly adjust to the new routine.

Photocredits: Brian Koome

Venue: Alpha Fit

Yours in wellness,

@tizitalks

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