Meet Sandra Okeke, Nigeria’s fitness influencer
Sandra Okeke is one of Nigeria’s top fitness influencers and health and wellness coach. Popularly known as Sofit, Okeke has developed into a powerhouse in the fitness industry.
At the age of 22, she launched her fitness brand, Sofit, which has today, gathered nearly a million social media followers.
Okeke has helped thousands of women all around the world on their transformative journeys. According to the Nigerian native, fitness challenged her mentally and she fell in love with it. Through her love for fitness, she successfully established a formidable fitness brand
Sharing a bit of her motivational story and giving a workout tips that helped her achieve her physique, Okeke stated: “I never thought I would be doing what I am doing today. Since I was about six years old, I just wanted to be a fashion illustrator.
“I was always drawing clothes and sewing clothes for my Barbie dolls. I never played any sports growing up so fitness wasn’t something I explored. And living in Nigeria, fitness wasn’t even something you saw females doing.
“My fitness journey started when I went to the gym with a group of friends randomly. And I didn’t go there to work out. I just went to hang. There, I picked up a few weights. I struggled but it challenged me mentally and I loved that. That is what really made me fall in love with it.”
Adding: “It was never about looking a certain way or achieving a fitness goal. It helped me mentally. And it was a hobby at the start, a good distraction from everything that was going on around me. Quickly, it became a form of therapy. But never did I imagine that it would become what it is today in terms of my business and career.”
On if she has struggled with living in Nigeria and being a muscular female, she noted: “I wouldn’t say I have struggled. People respect me and what I do. If for anything, people are motivated and inspired and I have pioneered a lot in the industry.
“However, some people can be very judgmental without actually understanding what you do and why you do it. There is still that stereotype surrounding women who lift weights being tagged “masculine” and it is not just Nigeria; it is everywhere.
“I do get a few remarks from people that sometimes aren’t too nice but I never let that get to me. My muscles are still very feminine and I love how I look and I wouldn’t ever change that for anyone.
“For every bad comment, there are hundred positive ones. Muscle is very feminine. One day, they will catch on”, Okeke stated.
Speaking about how she has remained consistent, she informed that it was all about passion and.
“When you love what you do, you don’t need motivation to do it. You just get up and go because that is your source of joy. That is what fitness is for me. I absolutely love what I do and as such, I don’t struggle with being consistent.
“Of course, I don’t wake up every day feeling great, no one does but that is where discipline kicks in. The biggest mistake most women make on their fitness journey is focusing on the end result rather than the journey that gets them there.
“For instance, when you are so obsessed with how long it will take you to lose 30 pounds, you forget to enjoy the process and understand that it is a lifestyle and not a bus stop.”
Okeke added that when it comes to her journey on achieving her desired physique, consistency in nutrition and workout regimen were very instrumental.
She said: “Be consistent with your nutrition and your workout regimen. Consistency is often times, overlooked. That is what sets you apart from everyone else. Longevity. It is natural to give up when the going gets tough but slow progress towards a specific goal is better than diving in headfirst to nothing.
“When it comes to your workouts, do not over complicate your training. There is so much misinformation out there about fitness and so much aesthetically pleasing workouts on social media that are honestly pointless. Stick to the basic movements and get a workout program. This can help start you off on the right path.”
For her nutrition advice for people trying to get in shape, she said: “The typical Nigerian idea of weight loss is eating once a day, drinking slim tea or just cutting out large food groups like carbs from your diet. But these are myths. If your diet is too strict or if you are starving yourself, that is not sustainable and will only get you so far.
“Don’t have a super strict diet, it is not realistic. You can eat the foods you like in moderation and make sure you are getting enough protein and vegetables. I also recommend that people get a good meal plan for better guidance. My meal plans are very affordable and can be adapted any time.”
On where she is planning to take her fitness brand, she disclosed that she definitely has big plans to dominate the fitness industry and build her empire.
“I know a lot of people think that I am just trying to be big on social media. Yes, that is part of it but I have plans I am not ready to share yet but the goal is to do what has never been done before. It is not just about creating opportunities for myself but for other people. I want other people who are coming into the fitness space to have access to opportunities that I didn’t have early on”, Okeke noted.