Our women in fitness series is a celebration of fly girls doing fly things. Meet Esi – an Executive Assistant and Level 3 PT who’s navigating her 40s one day at a time (and we love to see it).
I’ve always said that fitness isn’t what I do, fitness is who I am! It started at secondary school; if there was a sport to be played, I would play it. Netball, volleyball, hockey, tennis. There wasn’t a sport I hadn’t tried. Where I really started to excel was when I hit the track and fell in love with athletics. I was a natural sprinter, and soon gained a reputation for being the fastest girl in my school. During my uni years, fitness took a little bit of a back seat. I went to the gym but it wasn’t my main priority. Fast forward several years, I started back at the gym more regularly but I was the girl who stuck to the treadmill and the girl who only attended classes. I was inspired by one instructor in particular, a lady named Adjoa. I loved her classes so much, I remember thinking one day “I can do that too”. A year later, I became a fully qualified exercise to music instructor.
My body transformation
Once I gained that qualification I started teaching classes. I was fit but I didn’t feel strong; it wasn’t enough for me. I started to make friends with more people in the gym, then one of the girls who I attended classes with invited me to come and train with her and that is when my love of strength training began. I’ve always been naturally disciplined and self motivated. I went hard with my training. I started to see my body transform. I fell in love with the process and it was at this point I decided I was going to enhance my qualification and become a personal trainer. I’m proud of myself for studying and gaining my qualification while working a full time job. It wasn’t easy but that discipline and motivation kicked in and I qualified in 2014. 2015 is when the real hustle began. I was working full time as a Personal Assistant and also started working as a PT for the Gym Group. Doing both was a struggle; it was exhausting but because fitness was my passion and it didn’t feel like work, I kept on juggling both. My confidence in teaching classes grew. I started to bring my Ghanaian heritage into my classes and soon built a strong network of ladies who would show up without fail. My classes were fully booked every week and I loved it!
A different direction
Then life decided to throw me a curve ball. I’ve never been one to avoid smear tests; I know how important they are. I was not ready for my results to come back as abnormal. I was not ready for the doctor to tell me that I would need to have an operation to remove abnormal cells from my cervix. I was not prepared to be admitted into hospital. But that is exactly what happened. I was told I would make a full recovery and be back to normal after six weeks. When those six weeks came around, I felt completely disconnected from my body. I felt like my strength had disappeared. I wasn’t able to do the things I had previously been able to do and it hit me hard. My physical recovery was definitely more speedy than my mental recovery. I had to rebuild. I went back to the gym and physically struggled to keep up with balancing both jobs. Eventually I had to admit defeat. I left the gym and said goodbye to Personal Training. I was devastated. I continued to train but not at the level I had been used to. Its almost as if I wasn’t the same person.
At the end of 2017, I took a step back from fitness altogether. I didn’t train and disappeared from social media for about 6 months. I don’t know what exactly brought me back, I guess that motivation and discipline never left. I came back with a different goal and a different mindset. I just wanted to be the best version of myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I still loved strength training but yoga had now become a bigger part of my life. It pulled me through a very tough time. I guess you can say my love for fitness saved me. It’s now 2020, and I turned 40 last year. It was such an important milestone for me. I don’t train clients at the moment. My work doesn’t allow me to. Instead what I do is to fulfill my passion for fitness in the best way I can.
Enjoying the journey
I want to fly the flag for black women and for women in their 40s. I want people to know that the fitness industry is not just for the 20 somethings, it’s not too late to start training at this point in your life and that it’s ok to try something and for it to not go according to plan. I spent too long thinking that I had failed. Nothing is ever set in stone. Things can change at any time and you might find me taking on clients and teaching classes once again in the future. But for now, you can see my journey as a 40 year old black woman, working hard and doing what she loves the best way that she can. I have named my journey the 40 Plus agenda. I plan on being fit at 50, 60,70 80 even 90! Feel free to join me on my journey. You can find me on Instagram @esilovesfitness
Esi’s fitness and health tips
People know me for using the hashtag #MOVEYOURBODY - and I love reminding people that it is NEVER too late to start your fitness journeyEsiExecutive Assistant