Nelson Mukasa is an expert in mass sports and the main sports instructor for the bi-monthly Kigali Car Free Day, a sports mass gathering initiated in 2014, bringing together about 6000 participants of different ages from Kigali City.
The 35-year-old is a graduate in Sports Management from Burawayo Sports College in Harare, Zimbabwe, and is a trainer at Health and Fitness Centre, a fitness centre which currently operates every day at the Mirror Hotel Remera,
Mukasa is regarded as one of the top fitness coaches in the country after winning the Best Sports Mentor award in East Africa in 2016 and also winning the accolade at national the national level in 2017.
He spoke to Sunday Magazine’s Eddie Nsabimana, about his professional experience and his journey to becoming Rwanda’s top fitness coach.
You have established yourself as one of the best fitness trainers in Rwanda. How can you describe your journey to this success?
My journey is built around three things. One is education, which gives me confidence to practice what I studied, the other is focus and vision of what I am doing and, lastly, to keep the hard work so I can deliver more and more. But I also have more to offer in the journey ahead as we keep working with stakeholders.
You are now a reference health and fitness trainer. What do you attribute such an achievement?
When the Ministry of Sports recommends you to share knowledge at different institutions it is not something that comes out of the blue.
We have a government that supports sports very much, you see government officials joining the people to exercise, that is a big motivation.
The 35 year-old fitness trainer gives instructions at the Kigali Car Free Day, a bi-monthly mass sport event. / Courtesy
The fact that I get recommended to hold seminars on the importance of mass sports is because people have seen that I have something to share and that I have that knowledge.
I am not ignoring other coaches’ knowledge in mass sport. It is just because those who recommend me see that I have advanced knowledge to share, professionalism and the quality of what I do.
All this is attributed to the fact that I do it with professionalism, focus of what I do, and putting what I studied well in practice.
How do you manage to train more than a thousand people during the Kigali Car Free Day?
Actually, we are so far hosting over 5000 Kigali Car Free Day participants. So, for me, sports mentorship is something I have done for 15 years.
So, I am always comfortable on stage no matter the number of people I am training. When I am coaching over 5000 participants, I feel like I’m doing it for five people and instead need more groups to train because it makes me feel more motivated and in an enjoyable mood.
Mukasa has won the Sports mentor of the year award both on national and regional level. / Courtesy
Music helps a lot to manage the mass public because it keeps the whole in the same rhythm.
Where do you get fitness tips to use during training sessions?
I used the workout styles that I studied at school. I know like 100 workout styles that I use during different sports training sessions. I can use at least 70 walking out styles in one session.
What package can you provide during a fitness session?
It may depend on the doctor’s advice. That’s why people who come for fitness sessions are advised to meet doctors because it helps the coach decide the fitness package to give them. The package goes with one’s health situation.
My package includes stretches, steps exercises, aerobics sessions, Taebo (a favourite kick box technique by American film actor Billy Blanks) to fix bones and abdominals.
How often should a person exercise to stay fit?
Exercising at least three or four times a week. Going below three times, you are putting yourself in the red zone (dangerous to your health).
Going beyond four times a week is also a risk to your health because some parts of the body may be affected and make the body tired
Do you also advise people on what kind of diet to have to remain health?
Nutrition is also part of my study package. So, when you need some advice about the best diet you can take, I can either talk to you after the exercise or send you the nutrition programme that best fits you on email for those who have time to read.