Fionah Mbogo: Depression Drove Me Into Fitness Craze, I Have Never Looked Back

Fionah Mbogo, a fitness enthusiast. PHOTO: UGC

Like many people, I must admit that I keep aspiring to adopt some fitness plan. I make resolutions every year to start keeping fit, but I never keep any. My attempts to stay fit have not been very successful. On most occasions, they are sporadic and occasional.

Sometimes I feel like going out of my way, but I have failed. Many times. Probably, the case of the spirit willing, but the body is weak! And I only have one reason for this. Indiscipline.

It explains why I was fascinated by Fionah Mbogo’s meticulous discipline when it comes to fitness. I have watched her videos and photos over time and was quite mesmerized by her effortlessly achieving this goal. But behind all the ease was a determination with an exciting twist. I spoke to the Monitoring and Evaluation specialist on her journey of fitness.

CG: What inspired you to be a fitness enthusiast?

FM: Well, I grew up in a family that embraced being active because I remember growing up, my dad would go play squash, and I had to go swimming or sport. My dad is the sporty one, while my mum is the nutrition guru, so being raised in such a home, I embraced the fit life.

In 2014 is when I got serious about it. This was after I underwent depression, and fitness was my solution. When I say fitness, it is not only the workout but also the incorporation of yoga and meditation. This was when I learnt that emotional and mental well-being were vital aspects, and from then, I became obsessed with personal growth. I kept on going, and seven years later, here I am!

Fionah Mbogo in action at the Easy Fit Gym in Roysambu, Nairobi. PHOTO: UGC

CG: How has your experience been?

FM: For lack of better words, It has been a beautiful pain. I had to learn and unlearn so many things about what fitness entailed. Earlier on, I thought it was the physical aspect that comes to play, but the mental aspect plays a huge role too. I have had days when I wanted to quit, but my mantra was, “Think of how amazing you will feel when you’re done.” That’s what kept me going. Of course, I loved the changes that happened to me physically as I lost so much weight, but later on, I got obsessed with it. My eating habits were unhealthy as I labelled foods as healthy or unhealthy, but over the years, I learnt that the mental and emotional aspect plays a huge role in having a healthy lifestyle.

What I like most is the yoga aspect. It’s just calming and makes you feel like you’re reborn, more like a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and I feel grounded

 I had to take it one day at a time. Whether I have bad days where I overindulge in too much junk or miss a workout, I no longer beat myself up. The new mantra is you can always pick yourself up because consistency matters, and honestly, I am seeing better results now.

I have had days when I wanted to quit, but my mantra was, “Think of how amazing you will feel when you’re done.” Fionah Mbogo

CG: What were your targets when you began? Have you achieved them?

FM: My target at first was weight loss, which I did achieve in the first two months, but then I wanted more. At first, I mostly did cardio and high-intensity workouts, but later I got into strength training, but yoga has been a constant.

Fionah outdoors. Reducing her weight was the immediate target, but it has now become a way of life. PHOTO: UGC

CG: What level in your fitness regime are you now?

FM: Currently, I am at the advanced level, but definitely, it’s not all-rounded because there are specific exercises I am good at compared to others. It is a learning process.

It has shaped my life in terms of being disciplined, patient, taking action and self-introspection because now I understand myself and my body more.

CG: What did those close to you say when you began this journey?

FM: Most were impressed with my lost weight because that was the selling point.  I also got some negative comments here and there, but the funny thing was some of those very people came for advice, but I am glad that my family and friends are supportive of this journey, so they embraced it.

CG: What are the key lessons you have learnt along this journey?

FM: The major one is you must act because no one will ever do it for you. Secondly, do what works for you, celebrate small and significant achievements, and set new ones. Lastly, focus more on mental strength and its benefits.

CG: What does one need to do to keep fit?

FM: Set big and small goals, plus have a commitment contract with yourself. If you lack discipline, have an accountability partner. But you really have to want it. Analyze your bad habits and see how you can substitute them with healthier ones to keep you on track with your goals.

Huge misconceptions abound. Some people think you must drop all your fun things and foods to be fit, which equates to a boring life. This is where balance comes into play.

When starting, most people look for quick fixes like fad diets or overexercising. One must start small to know how their body responds and what works for them.

DOING IT RIGHT: Fionah in the gym. PHOTO: UGC.

CG: What do people say whenever they see you in your acrobatics?

Most find it fascinating and would want to try it. Of course, you don’t miss one or two sexist comments, but most people take it positively and are intrigued.

CG: Does exercise alone do the magic?

FM: Nutrition comes first. The 80/20 rule plays a huge role as it’s said you can’t outrun a bad diet as it helps to re-compose your body. Just don’t overdo it. You can still enjoy your cake once or twice a week and focus on a balanced diet the rest of the days. I always swear to practice mindful eating.

CG: What next for you?

FM: I am currently focusing on building lean muscles, taking my yoga to a higher notch and concerning my meditation, I primarily practise emotional intelligence, but this is more related to my mental and emotional health, which somehow transgresses to my physical well-being.

Editor’s Note: Now that you are here, kindly let us know your thoughts on this article. You can like, share and comment. If you have any story ideas, you would like covered here, get in touch through info@chiimbirugimode.

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