By: Brittany Boston
Health and wellness are constantly trending on social media platforms. From fitness fashion attire to diet plans to workout regimens and supplements, it seems we exist in one or two extremes — constantly searching for the “cheat code” to sustainable healthy living. Or, full-time fitness gurus parading our crossfit scars and running club athleisure. It is no secret that obesity is a shame of our society. Americans are dying from gluttonous lifestyles. Access to fast, cheap, and low quality food coupled with strenuous work schedules, foodie and alcohol culture, and stress mean that health and wellness are easily placed on the back burner.
This is especially dangerous in times of political tension because having excess weight affects psychological well-being. Part of what it means to change the world is just waking up and being able to confidently face the day. While overall healthy living may be simplified via tutorials, articles, and step by step instructions, it still takes discipline and structure to fully commit. I sat down with personal trainer and fitness expert Cornelius Yoko to discuss exercise, training, and health tips on a budget for millennial professionals in the DMV.
Hailing from Liberia, Yoko, a former body builder and computer technician, has been training clients full time for 10 years. “I have become successful in doing what I do. Right now I have about 35 clients that I train 7 days a week from 6 am to nearly midnight.” The journey was not easy but Yoko did not give up. He was already accustomed working out twice a day as a body builder, so personal training came naturally. Yoko advocates for natural, steady lifestyle changes as opposed to quick diet regimens or pills. Living in the D.C. metropolitan area there is plenty of traditional, new age gyms, trainers, fitness classes, and seminars to choose from. However, finding the time and money for personal health is not an easy task. I struggle with finding fun and affordable workout options. Additionally, my schedule doesn’t allow me to go to gyms during most business hours. My conversation with Cornelius opened my eyes to the many possibilities I do have.
Yoko knows that not everyone enjoys a routine workout so he tries to incorporate alternative exercises “boxing, kickboxing, weight-lifting, cardio…I try to make it fun”, he said. Cornelius cites the policies of leaders former First Lady Michelle Obama and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for increasing healthy lifestyles. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign combatted childhood obesity and encouraged physical activity and healthy eating. Mayor Bowser’s policy, created in 2016, waived fees for D.C. residents at city owned fitness centers. These policy changes removed some of the barriers towards healthier living.
“Up to 75% of weight loss comes from diet, the rest of it is working out. You can stay home and not move and still be on the way to a healthier life”, Yoko says. Besides changing your diet he suggests working out in groups. Some fun activities include softball, baseball, soccer, and volleyball – D.C. is notorius for intramural sports! He also believes schools can do more for students by introducing workshops on exercising and healthy eating to establish productive health habits early on. Yoko goes on to note the mental health changes that happen when his clients begin to take care of their physical bodies such as increased confidence and stress reduction.
Yoko knows clients keep returning because of his commitment, creativity, and personalized training programs. “I am certified and have been doing this for quite a long time…I design a program based on your needs,” he says. As a trainer he even has a few go to work-outs especially for those on the go: 1. burpees, pushups, and jumping jacks 2. Burpees, push-ups, and squat thrusts, 3.walking plants, and mountain climber rotations, 4. Pushups, renegade rows, and mountain climbers. Taking care of your health is crucial for career advancement. For those of us working in public administration and public policy, working out is essential for us to do our best work. For more information or even to set up your personal training session with Cornelius Yoko please visit: http://www.yokofitness.com/.
Listen to the Interview Here!