· Interviews

Tizi Talks With Derek Bbanga

by Loise Machira

Every philosopher, prophet or successful person in history has at some point addressed the question of health and it's unanimous; it matters.

Dear Reader,

For some reason, we have a good feeling about this last stretch of 2018 and yes, the glowing medallion in the sky confirms it all! Did you manage to watch the 45th Berlin Marathon where our very own Eliud Kipchoge broke the world record finishing 42 km the race within 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds? We were also well represented in the women's race where Gladys Cherono crossed the finish line first in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 11 seconds.

As Kenyans, words cannot describe how proud we are to have been represented so well! We love stories that illustrate the benefits of self development and our feature is a great example of what it means to be deliberate about investing in your health. Welcome back to episode thirty six of Tizi Talks with Derek Bbanga; CEO of Public Image Africa.

On top of being a fitness enthusiast, Derek works with professionals to help them leverage the power of soft skills to increase their earning potential, connect better with clients and be seen as visible not miserable. He calls these strategic communications tools as they can influence perceptions of technical skills, talents and performance in other areas. He also enjoys being a keynote speaker, corporate host and conference moderator. We got to know him a little better and this is what he had to say...

TIZI: How old are you?

DB: 46 years young.

TIZI: How long have you been working out?

DB: I first stepped into a gym after I graduated from college but it's really the last ten years that I have been consistent, strategic and purposeful with my workouts.

TIZI: What made you start?

DB: True story, in my pre-gym days a girl commented that my body looked like the alien ET - skinny arms with a large abdomen. As you can imagine my confidence took a direct hit. I vowed never to be verbally humiliated like that ever again regarding my physique and I signed up for my first gym class the very next day.

TIZI: Do you feel like it has made a difference in your life? If yes, how so?

DB: It definitely has. When I first started working out, it was all about trying to crush every workout and hit a personal best every time; now my workouts are smarter and more targeted. I think my physicality has had a positive impact on my mentality and the great energetic flow I get through hitting the gym makes me more productive at work. The functional strength and movement I get has prevented me from experiencing common injuries and improved my posture.

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

DB: I train the entire body every workout. I find this is best for maintaining overall lean body mass which is important as you get older. I'll start with some dynamic stretching for flexibility and then push-ups, pull-ups and chin-ups to get the blood flowing. There's something I learnt called training along the lines of movement. So I'll do upper body pressing movements then upper body pulling movements. Then I'll work the lower body with pressing movements and then pulling movements. All exercises are done with moderate to high reps using free weights, machines and my body weight. I'll finish up with some HIIT sprints. I'll rinse and repeat this workout on the weekend as well.

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

DB: Not at all. For me it's about starting every day productively with a winning habit. A morning workout is a winning habit. It creates a foundation on which I can build other winning habits throughout the rest of my day.

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

DB: I have managed to eat healthy over many years, so I don't necessarily need a cheat meal or a cheat day. If I want to have a pizza or some ice-cream at any time, I can have it because I pretty much have been eating in a fairly ideal manner for such a long time that my body will not change dramatically even if I was to gorge on fast food for an entire weekend! Obviously I don't, but I want to feel free to have a piece of fried chicken whenever I want.

TIZI: Do you take any supplements?

DB: Every morning I down a multi vitamin pill (it has all the essential vitamins and nutrients), a fish oil supplement pill (which has omega-3 fatty acids for heart and blood health), a shot of apple cider vinegar (ACV helps control blood sugar and lower cholesterol). And I'll take whey protein powder after every workout.

TIZI: What keeps you motivated?

DB: You want to know something interesting? Every philosopher, prophet or successful person in history has at some point addressed the question of health and it's unanimous; it matters! There's all the motivation I need.

TIZI: What would you advice someone who wants to start their fitness journey?

DB: Here is a hard truth. Gravity is taking over our lives. Every part of our body is slowly being pulled down or pulled loose by gravity - tissues, joints, skin etc. The only thing that holds everything up is muscle (which is also affected). Muscle supports pretty much every function of the body from the immune system to brain function. Loss of muscle (lean quality muscle mass) is what destroys the body. Your quality of life can begin to rapidly decline if you do not exercise, lift weights and move your body to increase and maintain muscle mass.

What We Are Watching This Week

What We Are Listening To This Week

Yours in Wellness,



Chief Online Editor: Loise Machira

Photography: Brian Koome

Location: United Kenya Club

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