Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fitness Around the World

B & P Gym in Kumasi
I've been living in Ghana over the last year so I've had to work with my clients back home over the internet. I've not been as busy with training as I'd like to be so I was grateful for a new opportunity that recently came up. We just moved to a different home in Kumasi and shortly after doing so, a new gym opened up in one of the nearby neighboring buildings. I was excited to be near a gym again even though I still can't do much upper body work due to my shoulder injuries. It is called B & P Gym and I was impressed with the facility.

While running on the treadmill there recently, I met a trainer and the owner of they gym. When they found out I was a personal trainer they started asking me questions. At the end of our conversation I offered to teach some brief classes for their clients and they took me up on it.

It has been fun to share fitness with people here. I did a class last week and one this morning. I've learned that some aspects about fitness are the same here but other things feel quite different.

The Differences:

Gyms are not as plentiful here and memberships can be cost prohibitive. Aside from the money issue, many people are so busy working morning to night that they don't even consider exercising. Generally speaking, people here are active and do more walking than most Americans but I've seen fewer people out exercising than back home. I've gotten many strange looks from people while I am out running and I'm sure they are just wondering why I'd be running if I didn't have to. There are no road races to run here either. Soccer is the only organized sport to speak of.

The food challenges are a little different here. Fast food and junk food are not available to the extent they are back home. More people cook from scratch here but their food choices are more limited to what is grown locally. They are not spoiled by having a Costco or Walmart when they go shopping. There are some supermarkets and malls here but they are much more expensive so most people get their food at small food stands or the large outdoor central market.

When talking to people about the importance of rest and recovery I told that that getting enough sleep makes a big difference. When I asked if they got 8 hours of sleep each night most of them laughed and said much less than that.

The Similarities:

Many of the questions they asked were similar to what I hear back home. They asked if it is possible to spot reduce fat from problem areas. I was the bearer of bad news and let them know that the last place the fat comes off of is typically the problem areas they are concerned with and that nutrition is the key, not just doing 300 sit ups per day.

Several of the gym patrons wanted to know what supplements they should take. I pointed out that they should only be worried about supplements once they are eating right, working out regularly, and getting sufficient rest. Even then I told them that they had to be careful since so many supplements are not even proven effective. I've seen miracle pills being sold at the mall that claim to cure everything. There is no FDA here looking over people's shoulder or making them substantiate claims.

As usual, the guys want to know how to get bigger muscles and the women want to know what exercises will help them slim down the fastest. The women here also expressed some concerns about getting bulky if they lift weights.

People here want to improve their health, take better care of themselves, and feel better. I applauded their efforts in coming out to a gym on a rainy Saturday morning and encouraged them to keep it up and stay consistent.

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