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  • Taofique Folarin / Q&A

    28th August 2018

    28th August 2018

    By Shivraj Bassi

    Taofique has worked professionally on stage and television for over 15 years. His experience as a dancer and actor led him into the world of fitness. Now working as a personal trainer, coach, founder of Sweat & Smile and trainer at numerous studios including our partners BLOK and Sweat It, we sat down with the man himself to find out more about his journey towards holistic health.

    “My philosophy as a trainer places emphasis on strengthening both the body and mind. Fitness is more than just striving for exterior perfection but should focus on total well-being from the ground up, inside and out. I believe in education through movement, and that fitness should be inclusive and accessible for all, achievable yet challenging. Taking that first step is always the hardest but with good support and a healthy mindset the possibilities are limitless.” – Taofique

    What’s your hustle?

    Sweat and Smile – I want everyone to know that fitness should be a celebration of our minds and bodies. With a focus on community and fun to combat mental health, I plan to take the Sweat and Smile concept to schools to highlight the benefits of exercise for our physical and mental health, with a focus on children who shy away from physical activity.

    What does #liveinnermost mean to you?

    A lot of what we see on our exterior is a direct reflection of what is going on inside. So when we nurture our inner selves through good nutrition and look after our bodies, we shine brightly on the outside.

    Favourite Innermost products, and why?

    The Health Protein. I love this blend. I have a very busy schedule in between classes and it can be hard to get all my meals in when I teach back-to-back. Grabbing a shake ensures I’m hitting my calorie intake for the day and have enough fuel to coach my sessions. On top of this, I get ingredients that help my body repair and a good detox, so it’s a win-win. 

    The Energy Booster. This pre-workout product is everything. Some days I can coach up to as many as eight sessions in one day, on top of private sessions. This product not only tastes so good but gives me that extra kick before I hit a session in the gym. I always feel fully energised when I drink The Fit Plus before a session and I can aways give it that extra bit more on my sprints.

    Favourite inspirational quote/words?

    Either you think you can or you think you can’t. Either way, you’re right

    Favourite healthy meal?

    My favourite meal of the day (and the most important) is breakfast. I love porridge oats with coconut milk , topped with goji berries, bananas and almond butter. It’s a killer way to start the day.

    Most physically challenging thing you’ve done?

    I was a contestant on the BBC Show “Special forces: Ultimate Hell Week”. After a gruelling selection process against some of the UK’s fittest from different backgrounds and disciplines, I was selected and then subjected to an ultimate endurance challenge and pushed beyond my mental and physical limits by battle-hardened veterans from the world’s toughest special forces.

    Based on the special forces’ selection methods, every 48 hours we were put through a set of challenges, each one more difficult than the last. For instance, the first day, on under four hours' sleep, we were awoken with four hours of PT amidst continuous cold water hosing and full body submerging. Then without food, we headed off for a trek across the Brecon Beacons with fully packed burgeons and soaked clothes. Then the real fun began with log carries, everlasting rifle holds, removing a Land Rover from a mud pit and training in the freezing cold sea. You get the gist.

    Best travelling tip you’ve picked up?

    Always trust your intuition and let that guide you. When we are able to hone in and listen to our inner voice, we’re always guided to the right the place.

    Who or what motivates you?

    My mother motivated me when I was growing up. I watched how hard she worked as a single mother and she did a great job raising myself and my sister. I would say she now inspires me, and I am motivated by myself. I see myself as my biggest competition. If I achieve something, I want to surpass it the next time so I’m always striving to be better tomorrow than I am today.

    Best advice you’ve ever received?

    To always be authentic and be yourself, because everyone else is already taken and the world needs a you.

    Best vacation ever?

    My trip to Jamaica with my family last April. I felt instantly relaxed as soon as I landed. We travelled around the island stopping off at beachfront villas along the way. I love that you can just just live off the land with fresh tropical fruit and vegetables at your disposal, and fresh line caught fish ready to be grilled. It’s so easy to eat and live healthily out there, and the Jamaican laid back approach has elements we can all learn from. In London, it’s very easy to get stressed and forget to take those moments out to appreciate the joy of life.

    Latest obsession?

    The brand new Technogym skill run runners that they have at Sweat It London. The training possibilities on these machines are endless, with speeds up to 30kph, gradients from -3% to 25 %, sled and parachute mode. You can perform running sessions and resistance workouts on the one piece of equipment. I have so much fun designing my sessions for clients as well as beasting myself on them.

    Number one reason for taking care of your body?

    It’s our duty to look after our bodies to the best of our abilities, so we can live a long and healthy life. I also have future aspirations to be a father and I want to give myself the best chance to be there for my family for as long as possible and for that I need to be healthy.

    Favourite place to eat?

    I recently discovered, By Chloe in Covent Garden and it has quickly become a favourite. The food is great especially their salads; wholesome, plant-based food that fuels and energises without compromising flavour. They have made vegan food accessible and they are extremely eco friendly. Choosing from their animal-free tasty menu you actively contribute towards lowering the worlds carbon footprint and help to preserve our planets water supply.

    To see and hear more from Toafique, head to his Instagram pages (@taofiquefolarinand @folarinfitness).

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In the end, the most important step is letting go; it's so important to accept and then move forward, otherwise we let things that we've done in the past continue to hold us back in the future. Is there anything that disrupts your peace and how do you manage it? I’m a person who doesn't necessarily enjoy change. So any small thing that happens in my day could completely derail how I'm feeling and that's something I'm definitely working on. But as I mentioned, it's a process. It's not going to happen overnight. The way I deal with this is not over-committing, organising, scheduling and planning things, but also respecting that things change and that's okay. In addition to this, I've also been going to therapy for a few years and I think that's been really important for me as well. Therapy is typically seen as something just for people who are deeply suffering with their mental health but, I think that therapy can be for everyone. 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Beautiful you’ve been open and honest with people then you can move forward knowing you don’t regret how you’ve handled the situation. View this post on Instagram A post shared by B r i n 🌱 (@brindarcey) Do you feel like your nutrition is important in being in that good headspace? Absolutely. I think that nutrition is incredibly important. There’s a massive connection between your physical and mental health so eating a balanced diet is really important. I don't believe in restricting certain food groups, because I think this can actually disrupt your peace. However, I think by listening to your body and viewing nutrition as fuel rather than something to be labelled good or bad, you can make nutrition benefit your peace. For example, for me eating protein is really important because I'm vegetarian. I find it easiest to do this by using a vegan protein, so it’s about finding ways to make nutrition work for you. 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