Anyone who follows today’s top models on social media is likely to be familiar with Michael Olajide, Jr. Hardly a day goes by without the likes of Adriana Lima posting an Instagram picture taken while working out at the former top-ranked middleweight boxing champion’s fitness studio, Aerospace.
We caught up with the famed trainer, who recently released his first book Sleekify!, to find out why so many of the world’s most attractive women swear by his workout.
theFashionSpot: What do you think it is about boxing, which in most people’s minds is a very type-A male practice, that appeals to so many top models?
Michael Olajide, Jr.: I think it appeals to them because the results it produces are incredible. Also, preparing the body is a very Spartan undertaking and boxing epitomizes that fight. It’s truly as much mental as it is physical. The workout challenges the mind, but it’s also fun — it often doesn’t feel like you’re working out because you immerse yourself in it. That said, it can be very hard, especially for those that have never worked out before. It takes a very particular type of individual to stick with this exercise, so yes, we see a lot of girls come through for the experience — some leave, some stay. I think this is the first generation of models that really work out. And by work out, I mean they work out like athletes. They treat their bodies like the investments they are. It’s a healthy message that models are sending out to the world that has a positive effect on those that follow their lead. Many of the models that train with me trust the workout because Adriana Lima, Iman and Linda Evangelista gave it their blessing — that’s a blue ribbon alone!
tFS: Why is boxing so intertwined with jumping rope?
MO: The jump rope is an amazing tool that allows clarity and focus, while being an incredible conditioning tool that teaches your body to work in one unit. It also teaches you timing. There is no other fitness tool that can burn the amount of calories and sleekify the body the way the jump rope can. It’s truly amazing.
tFS: What are the jumping rope basics? Where do you suggest someone who has never done it begin?
MO: First, make sure the rope is the correct length; when you step on the middle of the rope with both your feet, the top of the handles should sit under the armpits. Always remember the following:
- One turn, one jump.
- Your heels should never touch the ground; stay on the balls of your feet.
- Don’t jump longer than the length of a song initially.
- Put your pride to the side and keep trying.
tFS: When you first meet a new model who has never boxed before, where do you begin?
MO: Everyone has their own level of basic coordination and aerobic capacity/muscle endurance. Having been a fighter for many years, I think I’ve become quite adept at sensing strengths and weaknesses. I sense them in the girls I train. I give them “tests” of sorts as we’re working out and as they pass them, we’re able to step up to a new challenge. I do have to say that, for the most part, when they do come to me, they have a basic understanding of what’s going to be asked of them, so I give them a few specialized sculpting exercises, like basic jump rope, shadow boxing drills, ab exercises and focus mitt work. It’s really well-rounded.
tFS: So many of your clients travel a lot. How do you help them stay in shape when you’re not physically with them?
MO: It’s my job to give each client the ability to work out on their own. By the time we’ve worked together a number of times, they have “recalibrated” their bodies to adapt to a certain type of workout, so I provide shadowboxing and jump rope drills they can do anywhere. Adriana Lima, Emanuela de Paula, Doutzen Kroes, Constance Jablonski, Zuzana Gregorova —they’re all incredible at jumping rope.
tFS: For people looking to make a real change in their body, whether it be gaining muscle or losing weight, how much time at minimum do you recommend they workout?
MO: In order to effectively change the body, you really need to make a lifestyle change. It’s not only about how you work out, but how you eat, how you rest…it takes incredible discipline. I really admire that discipline in the girls I work with. If you aren’t going forward, you’re going backward. Making a change to your body is such a particular undertaking and not every body responds the same way. Find out what feels right to you.
tFS: Speaking of lifestyle, do you get involved in your clients’ diets?
MO: Nutrition is such a specialized field. There are the basics that can help everyone (i.e. calories in versus calories out), but when you start getting down to food allergies and how the body responds to certain foods, I think it’s best to leave it to the pros. Having said that, I think the basics will work for most people looking to improve their physical selves.
tFS: Can you take us through a typical week food-wise for you?
MO: I tend to treat food as fuel. I eat at times that are most advantageous to my energy output. Monday to Friday I usually eat in the afternoon and then in the evening, which is late, around 10:00 p.m. It helps get me through my morning schedule because I don’t eat breakfast. My meals tend to be pretty balanced. Saturday I have a veggie or fruit smoothie around 2:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m. Sunday is my “whatever goes” day.
tFS: What would we find if we looked inside your gym bag?
tFS: There are so many boxing and jump rose-based classes out now, why do you think yours has risen to the top?
MO: Thank you for the compliment! I have worked with incredibly gifted and intelligent clients that say they have benefited immensely from our work together. When you have that type of endorsement, that allows you to go toe-to-toe with any workout. I have a methodology that I know is very different from any other boxing and/or fitness program. It’s tried and true. I can identify with what my clients are going through and they want a high-energy, creative and challenging workout. To be able to give them all that, but also teach them real boxing that won’t embarrass them, is number one for me. I gained a level of knowledge and experience as a professional fighter that no one else can touch. We were the first ones to introduce boxing for fitness, almost 25 years ago now. Most of my clients were still in elementary school or not even born when this program started!
tFS: Can you tell us a little bit about what readers can expect from your book?
MO: I am very proud of Sleekify! because I think it sets the readers’ mind to a new kind of workout, whether they want to change their body or just feel good. The book is basically my training methods down on paper, so you can do some of the unique exercises I have my clients do to get their bodies performance ready. It’s cutting edge and systematically teaches you the maneuvers to get your sleekest body ever. I am even more excited about our new workout site that will teach people the Aero-method of boxing; it can go anywhere in the world with you. All you need is your rope and smartphone and you’ll get into your most killer shape ever — bring your resolve.