Global Peloton cycling and strength instructor, Tunde Oyeneyin, has had a rather surprising relationship with fitness over the years.
From struggling with her weight growing up, Oyeneyin became a celebrity makeup artist, before she found her calling in fitness.
Now the Nike Athlete, motivational speaker, and New York Times Bestselling author has a knack for teaching others to feel empowered and strong.
Here, she joins 9Honey Coach's series 5 Fitness Questions.
1. We're always being promised "the secret" to getting and staying healthy. What's yours?
I was an overweight kid growing up, I was made fun of and teased and bullied for my size. When I originally started my "wellness journey", I started because I wanted people to see me differently. And for so long, as I started to lose the weight I said to myself, 'Oh, well, everybody's being nice to me. And I have all these friends'.
I used to not laugh in public because I felt like if I laugh, people would see me. And if they saw me, they'd see my size. So I did everything to hide myself. And as I began to lose the weight, I finally started revealing who I was.
It took me many years to question that thought. I finally started allowing people to see who I always was. So I realised it was less to do with them accepting me and more about me accepting myself. And so to answer your question, the secret is to do to it for yourself.
You have to your 'why'. It has to be rooted and connected in you. So for me, I show up because I love feeling strong in my body. My size wavers, sometimes I'm heavier and sometimes I'm lighter. But for me, it's less about that. I show up because I know that when I do, I'm going to feel good in myself.
2. What's something you know now about health (be it training, eating or general wellbeing) you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself five or 10 years ago?
I remember when I was growing up, I tried out for every single sport and I never made the cut. Ironically, now I work for the number one connected fitness company in the world and I'm a Nike athlete. But I remember I think it was high school, I'd finally made the 'track and field' team (but in the US everyone makes it technically). But it turns out that I was really good at shot put and discus.
And my coach who I'd had for years, who had been so disappointed in me because my brothers were all-stars of the football and basketball team, the coach who looked at me like I was the runt in the family, she was so finally proud of me, I finally saw her look at me, like she looked at everybody else.
But, I was heavier. And I remember kids saying that shot put and discus was only for the big girls. And I remember hearing that. And even after finally being good at something, I quit. I dropped out of the team, because I was scared of the way people would see me.
And so if there was anything, I could go back and tell my younger self, care not about the way that people perceive you, because the way that they perceive you is only a reflection of the way that they see themselves. I wish I had understood that.
3. What's your nutrition philosophy?
I would say that I look at food as fuel. Like depending on what I'm going to do for the day, whether that's a workout or a long press day, I fuel my body accordingly. And I try to practice gratitude or rather grace with myself.
I give my body what my body is craving. Now obviously portion comes to mind. But if my body is craving a certain type of protein, whether that's red meat or shrimp, I try to listen to what my body wants.
An example might be if I'm lifting weights, I might carb up versus if I'm going for a long run, I might fuel my body with good fats like olive oil or avocado. And then sometimes if my body says it wants my favourite thing on the planet, a cheeseburger and milkshake, which it is but I give myself the cheeseburger in the milkshake.
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4. What's one area of your own health, fitness or wellbeing you're working to improve? Is there a goal you've set yourself, or a skill you're trying to master?
If I'm not leading a Peloton class in front thousands of people then I'm usually doing some other sport. I think the thing that is consistent in my day to day is my prioritisation to my health and wellness.
My focus this year has been sleep. I've made sleep my priority. So if saying yes to something will then eliminates hours of sleep, I reassess whether that yes is unnecessary. And so in sleeping, truly like prioritising sleep, not only am I just better and have more attention and more focus in what I'm doing, but I just feel more gratitude in everything that I do.
5. What's a small, practical step you'd tell a friend to make if they asked your advice on something they can do to improve their health, starting today?
I practice what I call the 10-minute rule. Oftentimes we try to emulate this idea of what we think fitness or a workout should be.
For example, when you make a decision to get back into fitness and then you give yourself this lofty goal of, 'I'm going to work out five to six times a week, I'm going to lift X amount of weights, I'm going to work out for 60 minutes'. You do that day one, and then you do day two, and then you don't show back up for day three, because it's just too intense.
So on the days that I don't feel like working out I tell myself, you know what, 'I'm just going to do this for 10 minutes'. And I set an alarm or a timer for 10 minutes. After that timer goes off, I decide whether I'm going to stop or continue going.
It takes about 10 minutes for you to say to yourself 'I'm in the mood to do this, or I can do this'. You're basically training yourself to create this habit of just showing up. And there are some days where you set the alarm for 10 minutes and the timer goes off and you say 'yep, I'm not doing this today'. Well, guess what you. still did 10 minutes and 10 minutes is better than zero.
And if you choose to go over then you can build from there. 90 per cent of the time you're going to go over.