Having completed a first degree in Mechanical Engineering and a second in Geology and then having a brief stint in the Nigerian military, Obaji Otareh believes in hitting his goals and surpassing all limitations. He is the fourth of five children and is building a brand that helps ladies love their bodies more, even after childbirth.
But how did he become a certified personal trainer that helps people across Lagos to achieve their fitness dreams and women to stay fit during pregnancy?
So how did you get into fitness and personal training?
“Well, at first It was just something I did to pass time and because I wanted to prove my sisters and their friends wrong I "soaked" myself into this, even though I didn't know where it would take me. When I moved to Lagos however, I took fitness more seriously and now I am continuously striving to improve my skills and get better at what I do. So next up for me is to become a name to be reckoned with locally and internationally.”
What’s your take on health and healthcare in Nigeria?
“Hmm for my health, I think I have a good immune system as I rarely fall ill. I would say I have great health. Thank God. But personally, I have always been worried about potable water in Nigeria as in my opinion it is one of the easiest ways to get infections.
Infections are at such a high rate in Nigeria due to the level of hygiene common in areas. People need to be educated and act in ways that reduce transmission of communicable diseases. When you’re down with an infection, cells in your body work together to fight against it but people can also do more to reduce the rate of infections here in Nigeria.
“Eat as clean as possible. Avoid giving your organs too much work for example eating heavy at night or loading yourself with loads of cholesterol, fatty foods or excess alcohol. Drink tons of water, eat your veggies and never neglect fruits. Try to sleep or better still I'd say rest because sleeping doesn't necessarily mean you are resting.”
So when did you start taking fitness seriously?
“A couple of years ago a close friend of mine lost her mom due to complications of diabetes and the simple thing she negleted was the fact that she was asked to exercise regularly and live an active lifestyle. I saw how devastated she was afterwards and she blamed herself over and over again because thought she could have tried harder to make her mom do what the doctors recommended to increase the likelihood of her mother being alive today. So precisely in October 2015 after I came to Lagos, I unleashed "me" and now here we are. “
"I love hard rock and heavy metal; you could say maybe that’s because of my Geology background. (Get it? Haha) So my workouts are mostly lifting as heavy as my joints permit. I threw out my right shoulder six or seven years ago and sometimes I feel it when I workout but then listening to hard rock just gives me that mental energy boost that makes it feel like child's play."
I rarely do cardio but if I must, then I spin or have boxing sessions. My diet is quite good so I don’t need to do as much cardio to burn excess calories.
Tell us more about your specialty.
“Right now I’m at this place where all my attention is geared towards making ladies look as smashing and powerful as possible. If I may use the word, I like to help in getting ladies to "slay". Especially pregnant and post partum ladies who may have lost their preferred figure and believe that the "baby pooch" is a given for motherhood. I can make all that go away with specific routines that are unbelievably easy to do. So easy in fact that some clients sometimes ask at the end "is that all?"
What are your top 7 work out tips?
• Be realistic and honest about your rest periods. Tell yourself how long each rest period is supposed to be and try to stick to it.
• Do supersets. This consists of two or more exercises done in a row without a break.
• Get serious about your diet. The stricter you are with your diet the less cardio you'd need to do. Trust me.
• Keep yourself hydrated all through your routines. I don’t mean drowning yourself in fluids but just enough to keep your water levels reasonable.
• Set weekly goals.
• Get energized. Whether it is food or drink, or a supplement, a pre workout drink, it'd help you feel energized throughout your session.
• Again I’ve got to reiterate - Rest. Allow time for recovery, at least 48 hours for a muscle group that was trained.
What do you do for fun?
I lift, but lately I don’t mind unwinding with a couple of minutes on a video game console, especially when I am struggling to find sleep. Linkin' Park, Alter Bridge, Kill switch engage (rock bands) have all contributed their quota. I also take part in a community program with The Freedom Foundation, run by This Present House.
Whatever you’re doing keep pressing. It may seem ordinary but all you have to do is add a little "extra" no matter how little that "extra" is, it automatically becomes extra ordinary. Aspire. Dream. Never give up.
Obaji is a fitness, diet and overall wellness consultant and coaches spin classes, boxing and HIIT. He identifies himself as the Diastis Recti terminator and is a CPR/AED certified member with AHA fitness.
Contact Obaji to eliminate your baby pouch and get (back) into shape during or after pregnancy on his instagram page - @shredandtone