Kapiri Tiaiti and Liz Angina Hewett are different people from who they were a year ago.
The duo, who decided to undertake TMC Gym’s eight-week life-transforming fitness challenge Zuu last October have lost a combined weight of 50kg, what has drastically changed their lives for the better.
For Angina Hewett, it’s a shy and quiet woman she remembers, a woman who was afraid to join the gym and train alongside strangers.
“For the first time being at Zuu, I was shy” she says. “I was quiet I didn’t want to be around them. To me it was hard because I watched clips of the training and said to my cousin, I can’t do it.”
After a little encouragement from her family, she signed up to register to the Tupapa-based gym and in an epic turn of events, Angina-Hewett – who says she hadn’t played sport in 15 years – lost a whopping 22.26 kg and won the challenge.
Now she’s back again alongside gym buddy Kapiri Taiaiti and her newfound gym “family” for her second challenge.
“The first couple of days it was hard for me, it was the first time I had done something like this in my life.”
“Doing training with the family, it really keeps me on and gives me strength with people calling around me and voicing out so it makes you finish things together.”
It’s a journey the duo are doing side by side. Tiaiti, who started Zuu two years ago after being the biggest she had ever been, has taken on the challenges as markers to be better every year.
“Back then I was 95kg and I couldn’t believe that I let myself get to that. That 95kg, hello! Is nearly 100!” she exclaims.
“Ever since I’ve joined, I’ve done every class ever since up until today and I’ve dropped down to 65kg over the two years. I’m still going and just when I think I’ve reached it, I get the motivation to keep going and keep your body going into that fit mode and not giving up.”
Now the two are on a mission to change their lifestyle for the better.
Tiaiti says: “What really inspires me about Zuu, you don’t know what the moves will be, you don’t what the class is going to be about, you don’t know if it’s going to be cardio today and it just gets thrown at you and you get into it.”
They are just two of 110 members that have signed up to this year’s Zuu challenged led by TMC gym coach Maiti Phareily Samson. After introducing the courses four years ago, Samson says it’s become a growing trend on Rarotonga.
“A lot of people think that the challenges are a fast-fix,” he muses. “For me the challenge is about empowering our people or giving our people the knowledge to know what they should and shouldn’t do with their health. What they should eat, what they shouldn’t eat, and what they should eat more of and what they should eat less of.”
As part of the challenge members must complete three or more Zuu sessions a week and are provided with full meal plans with 24-hour online support.
In the process, Tiaiti hopes to lose more body fat and more muscle while Angina-Hewett hopes to lose more weight and gain a healthier lifestyle. But they both share the same inspiration: to set examples for their family, communities and their people.
“My encouragement is you have to take that first step” says Tiaiti.
“If you want to change, you got to make the change, you’ve got to decide to do the change. So many will come and testify about themselves and their experience but for you if you are no healthy and you know, you’ve got to make a mentality change.”