Thursday, 12 May 2016

AZONTOTWINS :KEEPING FIT THE AFRICAN WAY


What do you do when what you've searched for far and wide appears right in front of you? In my case, being a sharp naija chic, I got proactive. When I learnt they organised fitness trainings for expatriates, corporate bodies and even held presidential suite dances. Omo, I became more committed to keeping fit. Like really, who wouldn't make fitness a priority with two well-toned, very single, very African young men as instructors? Ihe a na-acho
n'uke elu no n'uke ala. Your girl thought she was there to whine her waist but after an hour and thirty minutes in their company, my body talk true. These guys meant business and I knew I had to have them. At the end of our "danxercise", I went over to take a few pictures and we got talking. They were doing well for themselves and were inching their way to stardom, Africa just had to meet her own. How do I help the process? I wondered and that was when it clicked. I requested an interview session with them and they obliged me. Enjoy!!!

CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELVES GENTLEMEN?
I am Mesharck Tawiah (Ramzy) and my brother is Shadrack Tawiah (Shady). We are professsional dancers and fitness instructors popularly known as the "azontotwins".

THE BOTH OF YOU ARE QUITE IDENTICAL. WHAT ARE PROFESSIONAL DANCERS DOING IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY?
Actually we are trying to bring more fun into the fitness industry. You know in Africa, to get a person to the gym is quite difficult. You have to bring them something entertaining and different so that's how we came up with the "Afrozonto fitness". We aim to introduce this into West Africa then Africa as a whole. We also dance as a form of charity.

THE TERM "AFROZONTO" HAS BEEN TOSSED ABOUT A BIT THIS MORNING. WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Afrozonto is coined from two words, afro/african and azonto. It's a blend of african and international elements of music. In a session, we have a dance mix of afrobeat, african, hiphop, francophone(the togolese dance) and salsa.

IT SEEMS YOU LEFT OUT THE SALSA TODAY.
Yes we did. We wanted to get on the vibe with the group and now we know your strategic way of dancing, we ll be doing the salsa and francophone dance next week.


EARLIER YOU MENTIONED DANCING AS A FORM OF CHARITY. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ON THAT?
Yes. By charity we refer to the kids on the streets who live in slums. Usually when they vacate from school, you find them at refuse dumpsites and this does not help them at all. We actually grew up in such areas and share similar experiences so we want to liberate most of the children there. As such, every last saturday of the month, in collaboration with some media houses like Primevial media we organise a fitness party for them.

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR INTEREST IN DANCE AND SUBSEQUENTLY FITNESS DANCE?
We would say we are naturally talented dancers. Anything we do people talk about it, they like it, they love it so we grew the interest from there. We have a love for dance and so as time went on we became fitness dancers and instructors.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATION AND THE AFROZONTO BRAND.
Hmmm... You know it wasn't always afrozonto. We started out as Azontozumba in 2009 and had zumba instructors from Asia, America, Canada, Zimbabwe and other countries, some we see, others we follow on social media. Along the way our concept changed. This was largely because zumba is not african and we wanted something african so that our brothers and those around the world who want to feel our continent can do so through dancing. As a result, we deceided to rebrand to Afrozonto in early 2015.

ZUMBA IS GAINING TIDAL POPULARITY IN AFRICA AND THERE ARE LOTS OF VIDEOS ON THE INTERNET. DO YOU HAVE SUCH VIDEOS?
Formerly as Azontozumba fitness we had quite a number of videos on the internet but due to the transition taking place we had to take them down. Currently though we are working on the Afrozonto brand and our videos ll be online soon.

WITH REGARDS TO MISSION STATEMENTS, WHAT WOULD YOURS BE?
Our mission is to strengthen Africa to keep fit through dance. We realised that Africa is a major stakeholder in junk food consumption and obesity is becoming a problem so we want to liberate our people.

CLIENTS ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF EVERY ENTERPRISE. WHO HAVE YOU WORKED WITH?
Our clients are mostly expatriates and corporate organizations. We have worked with the Canadian embassy, the Israel high commission, kids on the streets and YALI West Africa amongst others. YALI is our biggest project so far because it brings together countries in the region under one roof thereby widening our impact.
We also perform at weddings and gives choreography lessons to couples, groomsmen and bridesmaids.

WHAT DOES FITNESS MEAN TO YOU AS INDIVIDUALS?
Shadrack: Fitness is a program for a certain target but should also be a lifestyle maintainable over a lifetime. For me after training I feel good and I would love to give that to my neighbour.
Mesharck: Fitness is life. It's not only about working out but a combination of eating right and working out. By eating right I refer to organic foods and not inorganic foods. Also eating on time, at the right and doing the necessary.

EATING ON TIME, AT THE RIGHT TIME AND DOING THE NECESSARY SEEMS A WHOLE LOT. CAN YOU SIMPLIFY THE DIETARY ASPECT OF FITNESS FOR US?
One can have about fifteen small and balanced meals a day. For breakfast, I usually advice my clients to skip milk early in the mornings unless it's skimmed milk. I encourage starting the day with raw food because the body has been idle over a long time and you need to reactivate it with fruits and vegetables, possibly oats. So here it is:
6am-7am: Salads/Fruit mix.
10am-11am: Any healthy food combination for the long day ahead
1-2pm: Lunch
5pm-6pm: Soups with fish, leafy stew, here we have kontombri
Hunger pangs after 6pm: Smoothies
We generally advice more of raw food and less cooked meals. This is because in Africa, we cook our meals a lot and denature the nutrients in the process.

THERE'S A FITNESS MEME ABOUT EATING LIKE A KING IN THE MORNING, A PRINCE IN THE AFTERNOON AND A PAUPER AT NIGHT. DO YOU THINK THERE'S SOME TRUTH TO THAT?
Really, one shouldn't be abusive with food. It's not about eating plenty but eating right so we emphasize quality over quantity with each meal. Like we said earlier, multiple balanced small meals over the course of the day.

SHADRACK: LET ME ASK A QUESTION. HOW WAS THE WORKOUT FOR YOU?
Oh!!! It was energetic. It was fast. It was exhilarating. In fact I feel really good and I'm sure once I have a shower I ll be feeling at my optimum to embrace the day.

MESHARCK: ARE THERE ANY WORDS YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE US WITH AS WE COME TO THE END OF THIS SESSION?
Fitness is a program but should also be a lifestyle. Obesity may run in your family but don't give up, you can manage it by eating right and keeping fit.

SO HOW CAN OUR INTERESTED READERS GET IN CONTACT WITH YOU?
Our aerobics class is at Branch gym at Spintex located at Printex junction
Our social media handles are:
Facebook : azontotwins gh/uk
Twitter : @azontotwins
Instagram : azontotwinsghint
Gmail : twinscityfitness@gmail.com
Mobile number :+233545345722/+233540602848

THANK YOU VERY MUCH GENTLEMEN. I APPRECIATE THE TIME SPENT WITH YOU AND HOPE NIGERIA WILL BE THE FIRST ON YOUR LIST AS AFROZONTO REACHES OUT TO THE REST OF AFRICA.

I go dey shoki for my God ooo, azonto for my God ooo... 🎵🎵🎵(this song evokes bittersweet memories of our danxercise sessions at GIMPA)...Oh well!!! To my readers, I hope we all got something from the session with the Azontotwins (I sure did). After almost eight years in the fitness journey, I can assure you that fitness really is a lifestyle for a lifetime. It doesn't get easier; there are times when you just give up, times when you let yourself loose on food particularly junk, times when you feel discouraged because the scales are not even moving, times when...but in all, stay steadfast and dauntless, trusting that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step and you will eventually get there. Like Nelly Agbogu says, it will all end in praise and as always, Dr Ib has your back.
Do Stay Healthy And Live Well With Dr Ib.
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