Azja Pryor NDiaye is a mother of 2, a nutrition and fitness specialist, currently residing in Southern California. She is passionate about saving lives through fighting obesity and preventable diseases and empowering mothers around the world through fitness, with her Fit Mommy Program. Ze-Africanews has met her.
Ze-Africanews.com : You are a sportswoman, one can even say that sport is one of your reasons for living? Explain to us?
Azja Pryor NDiaye : Believe it or not, growing up I never played a sport in my life. It wasn’t until 4 years ago I completely changed my lifestyle, from someone who was living very unhealthy and hated to workout, to someone who turned fitness into a true love. At that time I was suffering from arthritis, an autoimmune disease that affected my joints and was very painful at times. Making the decision to live a healthier lifestyle was my way of taking control of my quality of life. I knew that I didn’t want to be dependent on prescription drugs and doctors to live a normal, pain-free life. Shortly after my decision, I was introduced to a worldwide nutrition company called Herbalife and plugged into an incredible community of inspiring people, who were into fitness and nutrition. I became even more motivated. I wanted to challenge myself to be the best I could be physically, mentally and emotionally. This was the birth of my passion for nutrition and fitness, 4 years ago.
“My philosophy in life is to live a life by choice, not chance. God gave us all the power of choice, so it’s time for us to stop giving our power away.”
You practice yoga daily, what are the benefits of this exercise?
I began practicing yoga just over 2 years ago. I started with Bikram yoga, which is a 90-minute hot yoga class. This form of yoga is very intense and not only challenges you physically, but mentally. The heated room is beneficial, as you sweat a lot! The sweat is releasing toxins from your body and the heated room allows you to go deeper into your stretches. I fell in love with this form of yoga as I saw improvements in the areas of increased flexibility, as well as improvement with my joints that had been previously affected by arthritis. Once I became pregnant, I had to put a hold on taking my hot yoga classes, as it is unsafe for pregnant women. During my pregnancy I started doing prenatal yoga, which was far different from Bikram yoga. Physically it was much less intense, and pretty mild. However, yoga is the practice of calming the fluctuating mind. So mentally when I allow my mind to be calm and quiet, and I am in tune with my body, the benefits are just as great as performing the most physically intense forms of yoga. I’ve just recently returned to My Bikram yoga classes and a daily yoga practice after giving birth to my daughter.
You are an expert in mental and physical health, what is it?
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “health is wealth,” then know that these are words I live by. What good is having all the money in the world and poor health? There is no enjoyment in being sick and unhealthy. I believe that people should educate themselves on how to live their absolute best life, Mentally, physically and emotionally. A lot of people are misinformed and may think they’re making healthy choices, but they’re not. Knowledge is power. If someone needs help with living a healthy lifestyle, then that’s where I come in. I give people the information needed to make healthy choices in their nutrition and fitness goals.
During your pregnancy, you were a very sporty woman as before your pregnancy how did you live these moments of happiness? What did the sport bring to you in these moments of intimacy with your baby?
I was already really active prior to becoming pregnant. Each week I was hiking, doing yoga, kick boxing classes, workouts on the stairs and at home workouts. So when I learned I was pregnant, I got the approval from my doctor to continue my physical activity. During my pregnancy I continued just about all of my workouts, except kick boxing, until I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. Staying active was the one of the best things I could’ve done for myself during pregnancy. I had a wonderful and happy pregnancy. I also documented my journey, so I can share it with my daughter when she’s old enough. Today my daughter is 4 months old and she’s healthy, strong and super active!
Now, just 4 months since you gave birth to your little princess, how do you live being a mom a second time being a dynamic and very sporty woman?
I was working from home pretty much up until I gave birth to my daughter and immediately after. Part of my job is to motivate my clients to workout, without excuses, and stay on top of their eating. I too have to live by that example. So having a baby just 4 months ago, I knew that I would need to balance becoming a mom for a 2nd time, the demands of a newborn baby and my workouts, when I was approved to do so by my doctor. I have so many women say that during my pregnancy and after that I’ve inspired them to stop making excuses and workout. And I love that! My passion is in helping people live the healthiest life possible. I’m not perfect by any means, but I try my best to workout whenever I can. Most of the times with my daughter and sometimes without.
What is the “Train Like a Pro Contest” concept?
One month ago I was asked to compete in a contest by a popular franchise called Massage Envy. The contest is called Train Like a Pro contest, and there are 12 competitors, including myself who are everyday athletes, all competing to win the prize. Each competitor has set an individual goal for themselves and is working towards that goal each week. Massage Envy now offers a new service in their establishments called Total Stretch. Each week I go into Massage Envy for my Total Stretch session, as I work towards my goal. My goal is to master a difficult yoga pose called the King Pigeon pose. It’s a total hip opener! With the support of my followers I’ve made it to the second round of the contest. But I need people’s votes everyday, as one competitor is eliminated from the competition each week. My goal is to not only win the competition, but show other moms (and dads) what’s possible when we challenge ourselves.
What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy in life is to live a life by choice, not chance. God gave us all the power of choice, so it’s time for us to stop giving our power away.
Do you think the family is important? Why ?
Family is incredibly important to me. God first and family second. My family is my reason for wanting to be the best in whatever I do. I want to be around to see my children live happy and incredible lives. I’d never want to be a burden on my children to have to take care of me. I always tell my kids that I want to be hiking the mountains with them and my grandchildren when I’m 80 years old! My fiancé, Chérif, is a true blessing in my life. He’s not just my spouse, but my partner in life. Together we are constructing a wonderful life where we are happy and fulfilled and able to travel the world inspiring others.
What advice would you give to a woman who wishes to follow the same path as you?
Any woman who looks to me as an inspiration and wishes to follow a similar path, I’d make sure she knows that no two journeys are the same. God has placed us on earth with unique purpose. I am powerful in my own unique way, as you are powerful and unique on your own. My journey is to help people live healthier lives and inform them on how to beat preventable diseases through good nutrition and exercise. To be a true messenger of a healthy lifestyle, one must live this lifestyle in the most authentic way. I see many popular people on social media who are faking it or taking shortcuts through surgeries and then making it seem like they’ve reached goals the natural way. This is not being honest and setting unrealistic expectations and images for the people who don’t know. Being authentic and a little bit vulnerable with your followers makes you more relatable, and therefore someone they can trust.
Do you have a message to launch?
I hope that my message to the world is how I live my life. Life is all about choices. To every choice there’s a consequence. We all have the choice to take control of our lives. While there are many things in life that we have no control over, there are many more things that we do have control over. We can control whAt we put in our mouth. We can control what we don’t put in our mouth. If we know that certain diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes run in our families, we know that we have to work 10 times as hard to prevent it, rather than just accepting it and doing nothing about it. Again no two people’s journeys will be the same, but we can feel great that we are doing our absolute best.
Yoga session on the beach
To support her work and her passion, here is the link to vote for Azja Pryor everyday : “Train Like a Pro Contest”