Who is Azekhumhe Omoh?
Azekhumhe Omoh was the first home based athlete to be profiled on garagegymlife.net. Since our conversation, he’s gone on to bigger and better things, but has never lost sight of his hardcore, backyard gym roots! Find out his story in our original interview.
Azekhumhe, thank you for taking the time to let us know about the West African bodybuilding scene. We see the motivating videos of you guys training but there’s very little background information on African bodybuilding. I know that the readers are eager to find out about you guys so let’s dive in!
How long have you been training? Where did you get your start?
I have been training for 5yrs now. I started at home then it was just one little cement dumbbell I had.
Where is your gym located? Is it at your home or a friend’s house?
The gym is located at my house.
Did you all build your equipment or did you get someone to make it?
We built most of the equipment ourselves with a well measured amount of sand, cement and gravel for the weights but we have to make a sketch and provide the resources needed for the metal equipment like the Squat rack, T-bar and the Squat bar.
Which piece of equipment was your favorite to make?
The dumbbells; it is one of the most important equipment in the gym and also one of the hardest to make locally. But no matter the size I am building, I always pay full attention to every detail when I am building it; from shaping to casting and installing it all has to be accurate.
Cement dumbbells are pretty hardcore! In the West, we’re pretty insulated from the problems of the rest of the world. Even I, as an immigrant from West Africa have only vague memories of what it was like in my birth country. Bodybuilding is hard enough when you’ve got all the resources we have, I can’t imagine how it is for you guys. So tell me, what’s your biggest challenge?
Growing up and surviving in this part of the world is a very, very big challenge with the whole political and economic thing going on, only the rich one’s and the strong one’s like me and my fellow garage gym brothers and sisters all around the world will survive. My biggest challenge is not having money to buy good food to eat. As a fitness person or weight trainer your body needs a lot of good nutrition to help repair the muscle after training, but getting money to buy the necessary food and supplement we need is a very big challenge. Countless times we have trained on empty stomach without food not even a little biscuit. But still God’s grace and the passion for what we love kept seeing us through and helping us push pass each day.
I hear what you’re saying but I see the awesome videos of the physiques that you guys are building in Ghana, Nigeria and other parts of Africa. West African bodybuilders are making a lot of progress despite limited resources. What is the secret to making progress despite your obstacles?
For me, the secret is the ability of being able to see the great opportunity we have in every moment of each day we live against all odds. Knowing that the sorrow and the pains we feel now will only last for the night, but joy must surely come in the morning.
Let’s go back to nutrition. We’ve been reading a lot in the past few years about the health benefits of red palm oil which is used in West African cooking. When you are able to get food, which of the traditional African foods play the biggest role in helping maintain your physique?
Beans with bread or grinded cassava, white rice with palm oil stew, vegetable soup with ground cassava, fried beans with bread then fried eggs with bread.
In the West, our problem isn’t lack of food but too much intake of bad foods. When you’re limited nutritionally, it’s got to be tempting to eat anything you can get but are there any foods you absolutely have to avoid?
The ones with too many starch and fat.
Where do you get most of your training information?
I do a lot of research and I watch videos that have to do with fitness training in general.
Who inspires you?
My inspiration comes from people doing things that other people says they can’t do no matter how hard they try.
How do you stay motivated to train?
Each time I look at the way we are living trying to survive with no money, nobody to help you, no friends just me my family and the gym I feel my blood pumping and my spirit rejoicing knowing that each time I bench, squat, dead lift or curl I get one little step closer to saving my family and all my brothers in the same struggle in one way or the other.
Do you and other West African bodybuilders ever get together to train?
No, but I hope so in future.
Azekhumhe have you done any competitions?
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about starting a gym in their home?
Let absolutely nothing discourage you! The beginning may be tough, but when you are able to resist negative ideas, then the sky is just the beginning. If you really love it then go for it no matter what!
How can people follow your training or get in touch with you?
They can follow me on:
- Instagram: @oazekhumhe
- Twitter: @azekhumheo
- Like my Facebook page: Normal sucks
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for answering my questions. Your story is pretty inspiring to me and I’m sure that others who read it will be inspired as well. It’s easy for us in the West to get wrapped up in our personal problems which is why it’s so awesome to read about someone who’s facing their struggles head on every day. God bless you Brother and keep pushing forward!
With much love from Africa Thanks Bro.
Since this interview, Azekhumhe has been sponsored by I Will Strength Apparel, a manufacturer of inspirational apparel founded by Metholamus San who fled an oppressive regime in his native Cambodia to start a new life in the United States. We believe that this was a great match for Azekhumhe and we are proud of him! Support these guys and Azekhumhe by visiting www.iwillstrength.com