Blog - Engage Africa Foundation

Home / Blog / Personal trainer and Zumba instructor, Ihuoma Nwigwe, on life in the healthy lane

Personal trainer and Zumba instructor, Ihuoma Nwigwe, on life in the healthy lane

Ihuoma Nwigwe went from an incredible weight loss to unstoppable! She is a Nigerian-American certified personal trainer and Zumba instructor. In this interview with the Hitting Home Series, Ihuoma dishes on her favourite workouts and favourite healthy Nigerian meals (she also does meal preparations for clients). Enjoy: 

Please tell us a little about yourself

My name is Ihuoma Nwigwe. I am from Imo State but also a citizen of the United States. My hobbies are the obvious, working out or anything that involves spending time in the gym. I love outdoor activities as well such as hiking and mountain climbing, although you can't really do that here in Lagos.

Funny enough, I cannot swim, amidst everything else that I can do, so working on that.

What motivated you to become a fitness trainer?

My motivation and love for fitness started at a very young age. My mom was a Physical Education teacher while my dad played professional lawn tennis for Total. My siblings and I grew up with sports, played tennis and ran track. When I moved back to the US, I continued playing tennis in college and also track and field, mostly Sprints (100 meters, 200 meters and relays). After college, I relaxed a bit and added a lot of weight, I believe my heaviest was a US size 16 and at that point I realized I wasn't healthy so I returned to my training and nutrition and dropped to a US dress size 8. From that moment onwards I never looked back and continued in this journey. Now a US certified Personal Trainer and STRONG by Zumba Instructor. 

The make-up of a person's diet is said to be the most important aspect of keeping fit. Can you recommend some healthy, Nigerian meals to our readers?

Firstly, preparation is key for any meal and portion control as well. Some healthy Nigerian meals:

1. Okra Soup and Oatmeal flour (very little red oil).

2. Vegetable soup and Oatmeal flour.

3. Grilled yam or yam porridge with little red oil. Make sure portion is controlled.

4. Brown rice and stew (use olive oil to prepare stew and limit salt).

5. Jollof brown beans with little red oil. Feel free to use fresh tomatoes in place of red oil.

What are your top three favourite work-outs? Please give a brief and detailed explanation of each.

1. HIIT (High Intensity) - Aerobic classes and STRONG by Zumba classes. I like HIIT workouts because you continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours post workout. Recovery time is quick as well.

2. Strength Training: Exercises involving some level of weight lifting. This helps to keep the body toned. Loosing weight is one thing but make sure to also keep that body tight.

3. Boxing or Punching bag - It’s a very good workout because it targets the whole body, especially your upper body and arms. It tones the arms very well.

Have you ever received feedback on how your services have somewhat relieved, a person living with a non-communicable disease (diabetes, hypertension etc)? If yes, please share the nature of the feedback as well as the specific nature of the service(s) that you offered.

Yes. I trained a lady who has a family history of hypertension. She attended my aerobics classes and personally trained with me. Her lifestyle changed totally. She felt less stressed. I also started her on a meal plan which caused her to lose weight and became healthier generally.

How can people connect with you?

Instagram : @ihuoma_selfitness  

Facebook: Ihuoma Nwigwe

Twitter: @ihu_selfitness 


STRONG by Zumba class locations:

Bodyline Gym in Ikoyi, Saturdays 8:30am.

UPBEAT in Lekki Phase 1, Tuesdays and Thursdays 7pm.

Thank you, Ihuoma!


To donate to our health promotion, research and advocacy efforts to stop the growing epidemic of chronic diseases on the African continent, click here.

About the Author

Chiamaka Mogo is the Hitting Home Series Manager at Engage Africa Foundation. She is a public policy scholar and President/Founder of the Initiative for Inclusive Dialogue in Nigeria:


Our mission is to create narratives and inspire action that can put health and wellbeing at the center of Africa's development.

  Newsletter Subscription
  Contact Us
  Engage Africa Foundation
Business Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM