Kindly introduce yourself to us.
I am Brenda Anzeze, Founder of Brenda’s Diaspora Consulting which was started in September, 2018 when I relocated back from Dallas. I am also an international powerlifter currently representing Kenya as a strongwoman athlete. I also provide a platform to support local body builders and strong athletes. Last year I was placed 6th at Kenya’s Strongest Women competition and was declared Mombasa’s 3rd strongest woman.
So Brenda, how did you get to be where you are today? What was the motivation?
I always wanted to be skinny all my life and started body building but discovered it wasn’t my path. So I started lifting heavy objects and discovered that my big thighs did wonders. They could lift over 180kgs. So I stuck with the Strong Woman athletes.
Many people struggle with being overweight and do not want to talk about it. How did you get to the stage where you accepted yourself as you are?
I tried dropping so much weight and yes, I lost but I gained it back and realized that I love food. So when I started doing Strong Woman sports, it allowed me to eat as much, but of course healthy. At the same time bulk up some muscles for my sport. We just have to figure out what we want. If you want to be skinny, go for it but work hard and be happy with yourself. If you want to stay thick, as long as you are happy then keep working towards your goals while keeping fit.
I have accepted that I can never be skinny and love the icing on the cake. So I make sure I get better at what I do while staying big.
So what entails healthy eating, especially if you are a foodie?
My breakfast involves nduma (yams) with boiled eggs and vegetables, sometimes oatmeal with eggs and vegetables. Lunch includes a whole tilapia with vegetables while, dinner involves proteins and vegetables. When I train for heavy muscles, I eat carbohydrates for lunch. During competitions, I eat carbohydrates up to 5 times a day with my meals.
Have you at any point in your life and this career had critics on your heavy weight? And how have you overcome?
Of course, I am 117 kgs. In my Strong Woman world, that is sexy weight because it means that I can get a gold medal easily in a competition if I train hard. Some people will not accept you but you do what makes you feel good. I am in a sport where I completely feel comfortable with my space. It allows me to be who I really am.
On criticism, I overcame this issue by talking about it all the time. About my desires. People have accepted me the way I am. Image is a big topic but it really is how you perceive the world.
Your sport is generally hardcore for a woman. How do you manage this? Do you have a recovery plan after such a lift?
First of all, my rule when I lift is, I live after a lift. The lift comes first before my life. However, I condition myself for heavy lifting and my body feels normal afterwards. However, I eat fish for recovery. Post workout meals play a huge role in recovery. In addition, plenty of water and rest is needed.
What involves your daily routine?
On off-seasons, I train 4 to 5 times a week. When I wake up, the first thing I think about is the gym; whether my day is busy or not. I make sure I create time in the morning or later. I have strong athlete training on Mondays usually where I target my best personal best records every week to show progress. The other days I hit other muscles for strength. Every week, I look for new records.
It is passion that drives my sport. Everything I lift is all in my mind. My body and mind must connect. I learnt that with squats. Thus, I lift heavier when my mind is set to. Your body gives up way after your mind.
So mental preparation is usually important too? And how do you prepare yourself psychologically to lift heavy weights?
Mental preparation has to do with everything. Let me start by saying that some days I fail in my lifts. So I am not able to lift 160 or 180 kg deadlifts every time I go to the gym. It all comes down to my rest, attitude, meal plans and focus. When my mind is set to hit my personal records, trust me, I work hard and attain. I look at the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember how much I love this sport and how much I want to win. That is my drive.
Always focus on your goal and work towards it. Every time you wake up, remind and ask yourself, how bad do I want this?
So what next for you, this year?
This year, I am training for the Middle East Strongest Woman competition and I would love to hit gold, so training started in December. This year also I am supporting a couple of body building shows. I am partnering with Ironfit classics, Mr. Kenya 2018 and Njeri to produce talent from Kenya and hopefully help them taste the international grounds. Our first show is in June and finals in November. In March, we are also supporting Mr. Kamukunji Talent Search to help the less fortunate and talented athletes as well win and go further internationally. The pie is big for everyone. I am also supporting the Strongman/woman platforms here in Africa.
Most of us have an obsession with the hour glass figure? Thus, some of us are engaging in activities such as plastic surgery to get the `Figure 8′. How can we remove this obsession?
First of all, I used to be a body builder and I never attained a six pack. If you want to obsess about getting one then step on the scale and hit the gym harder. For some people, it is all genetics. No need for all those surgeries because most people go back to their form. We need to remember that we can never change but we can morph. We morph to skinny and back. So you are better off getting a sustainable lifestyle with the gym.
What is your parting shot?
If you have a passion, go for it and never let anyone stop you. As for training, find what excites you and work on it to meet your goals.