Olabisi Akinola (Osborne) was born in Ekiti State, where he had his first degree in Business Administration from the University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Shortly after, he started working with the State Government and later rose to the the position of Assistant Executive Officer (AEO). He later left Government work to pursue his professional career as a bodybuilder and certified fitness trainer.
In 2013, he got an offer from a University in North Cyprus to Study Business Management MBA.
Ekiti State-born bodybuilder has won several bodybuilding competitions across Europe and America and also trains several people from across the world on body fitness, narrated in this interview how he started bodybuilder and personal trainer in Nigeria before he traveled abroad to further his education.
How did you become a Personal Trainer and Professional Bodybuilder?
Becoming a Professional Bodybuilder was all about passion and a very long story. I started training in 2000, not in a proper gym with all the equipments as it is now. Then I have no access to any commercial gyms so I made my own gym equipments of miixed cement in a container and I got different car irons and made my own bench. In fact, I still have pictures of some of the equipments even though I gave them out to some friends but I still see them.
When I got to Cyprus in 2013, my first day in the University, I remembered vividly my first question was, where is the gym please? The University has a small gym with necessary equipments and it was my first time of having access to gym machines. The same week I got to the country, i paid for 3 months membership and I was going to the gym twice a day. And before the expiration of my gym membership, I found another gym with more equipments, I registered there again and then to another gym, which was the biggest in the country. By then my passion for fitness and healthy lifestyle increased and my knowledge about it developed year after year.
In 2016, I decided to turn my passion into a full time career/profession and took the professional course of Certified Personal Training.
What were you doing before you ventured into Personal Trainer and Professional Bodybuilding business?
Like I said earlier, before I left Nigeria, I was working with a the State Government until the day I travelled abroad. Infact, I applied for a study leave to travel abroad . I worked 9 years and some months if not 10 years .
Will you say this profession is lucrative ?
Well, It varies and depends on the association you are competing in. But the industry is doing well. Body builders may not always get good earning but the moment you lift the trophy on the podium, you feel like the most profitable human in the world. This is an incredible feeling and very important to any body builder. But I can say I am very happy with my job.
As a graduate of Business Management MBA, you could have got a well paid collar job both home and abroad, why did you decide to go into Personal training and bodybuilding business?
It is not about getting or having a white collar job or getting a well paid job. Whatever I have or achieved today are all from my professions. it is about doing what you love, what you have passion for and what you enjoying doing. I am very happy with my job by changing people’s life. I’m more wealthy seeing the people I have helped to achieve there fitness goal, healthy lifestyle and other areas of their lives .
You said you have participated in five competitions with four different Bodybuilding Organisations, what was the experience like and what were your positions at the end of the competitions?
Yes, I have participated in five Bodybuilding Competitions since 2017 and before I tell you what the experience is like, I will tell you the places, my first 2 Bodybuilding Competitions was 2017 North Cyprus Bodybuilding Federation and I came first place Men’s Physique Category.
In 2018, I also competed United Kingdom International Federation of Body Builders(IFBB) and I came first place in my Category Men’s Physique of many athletes from around the world and I competed in another competition same 2018 World Amateur Body Building Association( WABBA) I came first place and also got the overall, which I got a Pro Card.
In 2019, I competed in Las Vegas Nevada United States World Physique Championship (WPC) I came 1st place and overall winner and won the money prize. Been on the podium with other great athletes/ bodybuilders around the world has been great and it would always be. Meeting other successful Pro Body builders is a great thing. Making friends you share same passion with is one of the best feeling ever.
In Nigeria, some bodybuilders are struggling to survive compare to their counterparts in advanced countries, what do you think could be causing a setback for these Nigerian bodybuilders?
I think the main cause of that is not having a standard gym machines/equipment . And most people do not see a bodybuilder in Nigeria as a serious-minded people or a part time as career to chose and also it depends on how each persons presents themselves.
But in European countries and America, the body building sectors are more recognised as well as the athletes, whether you a pro or not yet one, they are given more value than other countries and of course gives the industry more success. Just of recent I heard about Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation of Nigeria (ABBFN) but I haven’t seen any of their athletes coming to Europe or other countries to represent them.
What is the effect of this COVID-19 pandemic in the personal training and bodybuilding industry, now that there are lock downs everywhere and almost everybody are scared to go out?
The pandemic has a negative effect on every nation on earth as well individual life and businesses. Before the lockdown, in the fitness industry we have an online coaching, which most of business owners have been using. But It has not been as it used to be, just as it is with all other sectors. It is just like life has stopped for us with the closure of the gyms, which are the backbone of the body building sector. But I still have my online clients and still getting on. I hope we get rid of this disease as soon as possible and our life return to normal. I can’t wait to step into new successes.
Since you are into this profession, what have been your challenges and how did you overcome them?
I would say my main challenge was when I first started, and most of my clients weren’t speaking English, which made it a bit hard for me not to be able to communicate in a language I don’t speak but then it left me with no other choice than to learn and speak the language and that was a plus for me now.
Another challenge is that before having a body like iron, it is necessary to have a psychology like iron because it is not easy to find a place in the industry in Europe and America.
You must spend a lot of time in the gym everyday to stay this fit, how much time do you spend in the gym everyday and how do you manage to be consistent in it?
It is not by how much time you spend in the gym. I’ve seen a lot of people staying hours in the gym, but doing what? It’s either hours on their phone or gossiping with other gym members. What is more important than the time we spend in the gym is to know what we are doing there. A very effective 30 minutes program is always more effective than a 2 hours of a messy program. It’s a lifestyle and consistency plays a major role.
Do you take some substance to have a body like this or it’s just natural?
Having a body like this is not all with substances, and when you say substance it may have so many definitions. What you eat is very important. I eat my normal daily calorie and know macro and micro nutrients and I do take necessary supplements to support. But not a steroid, if that’s what you mean.
So, how do you maintain your diet routine?
My diet routine changes, it depends on the season, what I mean is off or competition season, and i might even change during this periods. You know, I set my own routine according to the needs of my body and how I feel. Okay, let me say that my diet is personalised because I listen to my body and respond accordingly.