There is a theory out there that says we only use 10% of our brain function and capacity, and the same could be said of our physical bodies. Today I got to sit down with Andria (pronounced On-draya) Vagana from Yo Fitness – she is someone who uses upward of 90% of her physical capacity and potential. While most of us have one ab to speak of, the hope of more abs is now within reach…
How did you get into the world of fitness?
‘I started in 1998, I have worked in the fitness industry on and off for the last 15 years and as a teenager I was always at the gym so I thought that I might as well get a job doing this, so I studied and ventured into the world of fitness. It’s been a massive part of my life. I did try a few years in the corporate world and running my own business but I always came back to fitness. I realized it’s my passion, it’s what I love doing. I was in the UK with my husband for eight years, we had our family there and it gave me incredible opportunities that you wouldn’t get anywhere else in the fitness world.’
Yo Fitness is your own home-grown business here on the Peninsula, what was the catalyst to start Yo Fitness?
‘I thought I would stick to what I know, what I love and what I’m good at. There were no fitness groups here and I still had young children. Originally I started with Yo Mama bootcamps for local women nearly five years ago, there were four or five of us with some equipment that I’d found at garage sales. It grew from there, we now cater to men and women and we do have a few men in our classes although I do notice that commitment tends to waiver with the guys. I’m not sure whether it’s because they may feel a bit intimidated with a woman leading.’
‘We do have lots of men take part in special classes where we encourage everyone to bring someone along and they get to see what their friends or partners do and participate, we also have siblings train together. Our youngest person is 16 years old and our oldest person is nearly 60 so there is a huge age range. We also train our 2 teenage boys Te Atatu Rugby League U14 open team, which is a real treat for them and they love the challenge and variation of training.’
Have you always lived in West Auckland?
‘Born and raised in Massey, I went to Rutherford College and Te Atatu Peninsula became a second home for me. We bought our section here in 1999, built our home but 6 weeks later, then with 2 children and 1 on the way, we moved to the UK for Joes Rugby League career. We returned from the UK after 8 years with our 4 children, moved back to the Peninsula and really love living here.’
Tell me about the Yo Fitness vision and mission. (Vision – building a healthier, fitter and stronger community. Mission – to stand STRONG before ‘the dawn’ … Te Atatu = the dawn)
‘I really wanted to target PI and Maori National Health standard stats. I wanted to try and change that originally and then the focus became to create a hub in the community for health and fitness because the two go hand in hand. In the future I would love to see us in a bigger venue still offering indoor and outdoor classes and reaching out into our community. My clients have had varying health issues, from depression to remission from cancer to quite frightening personal circumstances and I have seen them transform and come out of their shell doing things they didn’t think possible and taking part in events. The social aspect is really important, there has to be fun and there has to be social interaction.’
‘For me, it’s like a second family. It’s infectious, you never know what someone’s day or week has been like when they turn up for a session, but at the end of it they are better able to go back into those situations. You can’t get that by taking a pill, we have a holistic approach at Yo Fitness.’
‘I would love to do an equivalent of ‘The Biggest Loser’ on the Peninsula but there’s a lot involved with doing that so that’s something for the future. We did the Amazing Race at Pt Chev beach a while ago and are planning to do that on the Peninsula in September, so much fun. So watch out for a bunch of crazy people running around in groups with children in tow, doing weird stuff, taking pics around the hood and collecting bizarre bits and pieces. Your community spirit may be called upon!’
What do you normally have for breakfast?
‘I train in the morning and then have a shake which usually has coconut water, clean protein, good green stuff, home made yoghurt and sometimes banana. Then later on I’ll have a couple of boiled eggs and a piece of fruit as a second breakfast’.
Where do you get your coffee?
Only at Fuze. Go local, support local! I love supporting our local community here on the Peninsula, I would rather buy a birthday gift from Abundance Art than go to the Warehouse. We have so much on offer and it can only exist and grow if we are all a part of it. Although sorry Fuze, when I’m in a rush and there’s no parking, the drive through is awesome too and if I’m filling up at Z their coffee is pretty good and the service is awesome!’
What would you say to the person who hasn’t had much physical activity over the years and is wanting to get back into fitness gradually. Would Yo Fitness break them?
‘What have you got to lose? Give it a go. All the classes are suitable for all fitness levels. You have to start somewhere – everyone that’s at the classes have had a freak out moment. When you sign up I keep in contact by email, text or phone to connect with you before you start your first class to establish a bit of a rapport. I promise to take good care of you and I am close by on your first sessions. I always give you permission to stop and rest, I’m not interested in breaking people but rather giving them a challenge. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain – everyone has started at the same point, it’s scary but do it.’
‘I actually started training with another group as a participant rather than a trainer just to keep myself in touch with what it’s like to join a group and I was nervous, but it was good for me to be outside of my comfort zone. I got injured three times in the first two weeks of joining this other group and that was also a good experience for me to keep me aware of what it’s like to train with an injury or after an injury as many of my clients do.’
What do you do to relax?
‘Yoga, I really enjoy yoga. I enjoy a glass of wine with friends, I’m very social and I love spending time with family, I’m one of five children so there’s always family to catch up with. I like movies and relaxing, even though I don’t relax enough. I love reading and researching.’
‘Yesterday 51 of us (some members and their friends and family) went along and took part in the Tough Guy & Gal challenge up at the Equestrian centre in Woodhill. Nerves were high for some, but people got out of their comfort zone, pushed their mental & physical boundaries and had a whole lot of dirty fun in the mud! The 6km Muddy Obstacle course was a first for many, but after our post event catch up at Fuze, I have a feeling it was just the beginning … watch this space, it could be you in the team 2015. Never say never!!’
There is so much to cover in the world of fitness that we decided to make do an interview with Andria every six weeks! Looking forward to it!
If you want to check out Andria’s website and get in contact, click here