There is a tremendous amount of loss and tension in our world right now, and it is taking a toll on our health. However, there’s also a ton of opportunity and inspiration at our fingertips. A place to find some inspiration is in a spin class taught by fitness and racial justice advocate Tunde Oyeneyin. She is using her platform on Peloton to get thousands of bodies and minds in shape.
As a long-time fitness expert, Oyeneyin has witnessed firsthand the lack of diversity in industries including health & wellness and fitness. She’s fighting hard to change that. In her weekly “Speak Up” Peloton class, Oyeneyin pairs powerful quotes from black Peloton employees with a creative mix of songs that highlight both the successes and struggles for people of color.
Her fitness philosophy is where we can all learn. “You have to take care of the inside with the same level of tenacity that you care of the outside,” she tells Nutritious Life. “It’s easier to focus on the outside because that’s the part everyone sees. But, when you can focus on the inside first, that part will radiate outward.”
Oyeneyin takes the time to talk to Nutritious Life sharing what causes her stress, a simple way to find calm, and an at-home workout using everyday items to get you moving.
How have things changed for you since COVID-19 hit? Things have changed drastically for me as I think they have for most of us. The biggest challenge has been trying to find a sense of normalcy in times that aren’t normal. I’ve allowed myself the freedom to move with my feelings versus trying to move through them. I’ve allowed myself to experience all of my emotions, and since then, I’ve been able to develop a routine that works for me.
What are some of your tips to stay focused…especially now? I focus on planning out my day to the best of my ability and I try to stick to that plan. Now that we’re all working from home, it’s so easy to allow the day to get away from us; but being as regimented as possible seems to work for me. It’s only fair to mention that I don’t have kids, so I tip my hat to those who are doing double duty.
Do you prefer to work out in the morning or evening? Morning. I like to get it done so it doesn’t feel like my workout is looming over me. I also find that I stick to a cleaner diet if I start my day with a sweat.
How often do you exercise, and what’s your workout of choice? 5 to 6 times a week. That includes an active recovery day; for example, taking my dog on an extra-long walk or something like restorative yoga. I love the bike. I’ve been a fan of cycling long before I was an instructor. I also do strength and conditioning work, and I love bodyweight workouts that push me to the max.
How do you motivate yourself (and your clients) to work out? I believe that your mind is your strongest muscle. It’s a phrase I say on repeat in my classes. We focus on training our body, and we focus on strengthening our legs and sculpting our arms. I think it’s important that we bring that same type of training to the way we think. During a workout, we’re often talking to ourselves. Even now as you read this article, you’re probably talking to yourself. I focus on reminding the rider and myself to silence and shut out the negative voices in our heads.
Can you share a workout that we can try at home with little to no equipment? You can find an amazing arm circuit and follow right along with me here. I recommend light weights of 1 to 5 pounds. If you don’t have weights, wine bottles or water jugs will do the trick!
If you had to name your healthy diet, what would you call it? Why? I would call my diet “sometimes.” Sometimes I eat healthy and sometimes I don’t; but, I always focus on eating foods that fuel me. Sometimes that fuel shows itself as energy, like eating healthy, and sometimes that fuel shows itself as me enjoying the day as it comes, like indulging in not so healthy meals.
Has it been hard to stay on track with your nutrition while in quarantine? Yes, absolutely! I find myself at my refrigerator without remembering how I got there. I’ve had to account for the fact that I’m a bit more sedentary now than I was prior to COVID. I’ve focused on increasing my water intake to keep me hydrated and to keep me from over-snacking.
What’s your go-to breakfast? Overnight oats or avocado toast.
Your go-to workday lunch? A huge salad with grilled chicken. I throw in sweet potato fries on the side from time to time.
What’s the one food you always have in your fridge? Eggs and hot sauce!
What do you eat before and after a workout? Before a workout, I’ll usually have a protein bar and a banana. After that, I’ll usually have grilled chicken or shrimp with brown rice and a salad.
Your favorite food indulgence? A burger, a milkshake, and a beer…all three in the same sitting! Just keeping it real.
Other than water, what do you sip regularly? Kombucha and BCAA’s, short for branched-chain amino acids.
What causes you stress? When it feels like everything is piling up at once, stress ensues. When it feels overwhelming, I focus on my breath and log into the Peloton Digital app. I allow myself 5 to 10 minutes to move through a guided meditation. I promise that’s not a plug, it’s just the truth!
How do you pamper yourself when you need it? I pamper myself by lighting a candle and doing absolutely nothing. The older I get, the more I value peace and quiet.
How do you express and spread love? I express love by showing up for people when they need me. I try to always make myself available for the life moments that really matter.
What is your evening routine to wind down at the end of the day? A candle, a hot bath, and a glass of something sparkling.
(photo credit: Peloton)