From activists and fitness experts to trendsetters and DIY gurus, SunglassWarehouse.com is honored to highlight the biggest noisemakers around. Whether inspiring others, making waves in their industry, or living life to the fullest, we’ve got All Eyes On people making a BIG impact. Take a look at our latest spotlight below, and be sure to check back every month for more interviews in this star series.
Our first All Eyes On spotlight is ever-inspiring fitness enthusiast Kodjo of Kodjoworkout.com. From circuit training workouts to healthy eating and weight loss goals, Kodjo has killer tips and exercise routines to keep us all in shape — and motivated 27/4. Get to know Kodjo’s workout inspiration (even his go-to music), and grab advice on how to get his healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Can you please tell us a little more about yourself, your family, and your hobbies?
Kodjo: I am 33 years old (though most people give me less). I live in the Big Apple (NYC) with my wife and have an older brother who lives in France. I am from Togo (a small French-speaking country in West Africa), where my parents still live. Though I work in finance at a hedge fund, I am passionate about blogging on the topic of healthy living, healthy eating, and exercising. In fact, I manage my own health blog Kodjoworkout.com, as you see on the cover photo. I also love to get up in nature as much as possible (camping, beach etc), as I find it relaxing and recharging.
What piqued your interest in fitness, and how did you get started working out?
Kodjo: I wasn’t always passionate about exercising. Growing up in Africa, I always took for granted that my meals were prepared at home and were mostly from organic ingredients (as they were sourced from local farms that used zero chemicals and no GMOs). However, when I moved to the US (in 2001), my eating habits drastically changed. I started dining out almost on a daily basis, especially in my days of investment banking. Wall Street didn’t give me a lot of down time. I used to work on average 16-18 hours a day, so my sloppy eating habits began to take a toll on me. Suffice to say that it began to show relatively quickly.
Thankfully I had a wakeup call. In the winter of 2006, I went back home to visit my parents, and to my surprise, everyone I encountered (including my dad and mom) told me that I was getting big. Mind you I was (only) 175 lbs at 5’6″. The point is, I wasn’t necessarily overweight. However, rather than brushing off their remarks, I realized that if I continued on that path, I risked becoming obese. So that’s when I seriously began to exercise and eat healthier.
How did you start your site, and what do you hope people get out of it?
Kodjo: I started Kodjoworkout.com as a way to reach a wider audience than simply my friends and family. I figured I already had several videos of my workouts on YouTube, so I wanted to start adding more content to those videos and explain them further. Blogging offered me that platform.
Additionally, I wanted to share my views on so many different health-related issues (not necessarily through YouTube videos). Those views had to be written down; again, blogging was the appropriate medium, so I took it upon myself to build the blog. I had no idea how to do that, so I went to the bookstore and purchased four different books (one on WordPress, another on the topic of Cascading Style Sheets, one on SEO, and the fourth one on how to rank on Google). Little did I know I would have so much fun learning new things! But I did, and Kodjoworkout.com turned out to be the offspring of that newly-acquired knowledge.
I hope that my blog will grow from the current 2,000 daily visits to something significantly larger, and offer a repository of problem solving on most healthy living issues out there.
What’s your favorite circuit to do for a beach-ready body?
Kodjo: I love a combination of cardio, strength-training, and bodyweight workout routine that is done in interval style. The following video will give you a great idea of a beach-ready workout circuit:
Describe a typical daily eating and workout routine in the life of Kodjo.
Kodjo: Wake up at 5:30 am, go through my emails, and check out the stock market. Then I get ready to head to the gym. When I’m doing bodyweight workouts, I do it right at home (we have a gym upstairs). On my weight-training days, I jog to the gym (15 minutes away) and do a series of full body workouts that includes dumbbell curls, pull-ups, bench presses, etc. I do no more than 40 minutes of exercising, 5 to 6 times weekly. I NEVER skip my breakfast (most important meal of the day).
During the weekday, I make a vegetable smoothie that I take with me to work and drink it around mid-morning. I then eat lunch around 12 – 12:30 pm, a snack of cashews, almonds, and/or peanuts around 4 pm, and dinner around 7 pm. Meanwhile, I always stay hydrated by drinking lots (and lots) of water throughout the day.
Keeping up with a regular workout routine is hard work, and we love that your routines are geared towards “home workouts for busy people.” What’s your advice for those struggling with time and motivation?
Kodjo: It’s not really advice, but rather a call for action that goes something like this. We eat every day, we go to work every day, we shower every day, we brush our teeth every day. Why can’t we find time to work out most days? Why should we avoid doing the very thing that would keep us healthy, fit, alert, and extend our longevity? So my call for action is: let’s ditch the excuses, and commit around 30 minutes, 5 days a week to exercising. Note that 30 minutes is less than 2% of your day! Bottom line, I’m not asking much.
Now, turning to the advice: to help you with your motivation, there are certain things you can do, such as finding a workout partner that you can exercise with. Below is a good partner exercise!
Another tip: make sure you get your workout done very early in the morning, before your day gets started. I remember how hard it used to be to exercise in the evenings because I was either too tired after work, had other projects going on, a dinner to attend, or (fill in the blank).
Where do you draw inspiration from for your workouts and to stay motivated?
Kodjo: I usually think about it this way: Do I want to live the last days of my life painfully (at a hospital) or peacefully at home? Do I want to spend my hard-earned money on medications or on my (future) kids’ education? Do I want to spend my days walking around on my own or on bed rest? Well, the answer to each of those questions offers me ALL the motivation I need. It’s not that difficult to stay motivated once you answer those questions.
You have a section on your site about healthy eating, which is an important part to any workout regimen. What are your favorite summer superfoods and dishes? And what is secret indulgence?
Kodjo: I love quinoa (which has been replacing my rice lately). I’m also a fan of kale and turmeric. I was hoping you wouldn’t ask about my secret indulgence, but that would be my occasional Long Island Iced Teas that I drink socially.
Favorite songs to workout to?
Kodjo: 50 Cent – In Da Club, Dr. Dre – Still Dre, Flo Rida – Right Round, Eminem – Lose Yourself … just to name a few.
We are a sunglass store, and you may find yourself out for a nice jog. Are there any sunglasses that you would suggest from Sunglass Warehouse?
Kodjo: I’m a big fan of the aviator and retro square style sunglasses. Without hesitation, I would suggest these: