The #MyMarchMaddness Inspire Series – Wunmi Idowu

Ms. Wunmi Idowu
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No we are not blood related, but Wunmi has always been like a big sister to me. When I was in university dancing with Wunmi was one of things that kept me relatively active during those years when I wasn’t very health conscious.

What I admire most about this lovely lady is that she has ALWAYS taken her health and fitness seriouly- before and after children. As the Founder and Director of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Wunmi is using what she loves most – dancing – as a platform to empower and encourage other women to a healthier lifestyle.

For #MyMarchMaddness, I asked Wunmi a few questions about her fitness journey and here’s what she had to say…

Q: What does Fitness mean to you?
A: To me, fitness is more than just eating less and sweating more. It’s more than just exercising; it’s finding the willpower and the endurance to get up and elevate your heart rate on a daily basis. Fitness is focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t. It is ultimately about how we go about maximizing our potential as human beings by maintaining a healthy weight for our age, gender and body type. What we do with our bodies, how we feed ourselves, and how we process stress in our lives are all things we can control. 

Q: When did you begin living a healthier lifestyle and what inspired you to do so?
A: I was a 100 Meter and 4×100 Meter relay sprinter during junior/high school and competed in several track and field meets including the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA) provincial championships. At the same time, I was an African dancer and choreographer which was a unique and fun way to burn thousands of calories per day. It was after having my first child that I noticed huge changes in my body which prompted me to return to my passion for African dancing. I founded Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre in 2006 to perpetuate the purity of the cultural values and principles of African dance and teach dance classes to improve body tone, flexibility, fitness and vascular health. African dancing has helped me strengthened my bones and muscles, and improve my posture and balance. The movements from African dancing embraces strong and vital techniques with dynamic resistance to the rhythm of the music.

Q: What is your biggest struggle/constraint (if any) to maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
A: I had days when I over ate, but I didn’t give up. I just admitted my faults and improved on what challenged me. I try not to make any room for excuses and creatively handle my cravings. I used portion control and stuck to clean foods. It was very important for me to adapt to a nutrition plan that could help me create a lifestyle change. Meal prep is my saving grace! It’s kept me on track! It is a mindset that you have to overcome. You can do all things through Christ, who gives you strength! Surround yourself with people who want the same goals and can give you positive feedback. Consistency is the key.

Q: What is your favorite type of exercise?
A: Everything! I workout 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day that is including my weekly African dance dynamics class. I also engage in cardio, strength training, and stretching! All my workouts are done from home. I also love taking power walks and using the stairs where ever possible to help raise my fitness and energy levels.

Q: One piece of advice you’d offer to someone that’s feeling discouraged on their fitness journey?
A: My advice to anyone wanting to lose weight is to start somewhere and do what you can, even if it isn’t much. Stay focused on the end goal. You don’t have to see the entire staircase before you take a step. Journal both your food and workout routine on the My Fitness Pal app. This is how you will begin to understand how your body responds to eating clean and exercising.
Take before and after pictures every 30 days. Whenever your get discouraged, look back at the photos and they will motivate you with a progress report to keep going. Also, never compare yourself to others. You want this to be a lifestyle change. I got tired of not being able to wear the cloths that I wanted. You want to feel better and look better. If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it and succeeding at it! You have to fight and say “Enough is enough.”
Remember that this is a very personal journey, there are no one size fits all programs. Set realistic goals and plan ahead. Also, stay encouraged because sustainable weight loss is not a sprint, it’s more like a marathon. Slow and steady wins the race.

Q: What body part (if any) would you change?
A: I wouldn’t change any body part because my worth is not dependent on my appearance. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;.