Eking out a living from gym

Friday January 14 2022
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Rex during one of his gym ­ fitness sessions with a client. PHOTO | ANDREW I. KAZIBWE


Gym has gradually become part of Rwandans lifestyle, with many entrepreneurs investing in it as a business due to growing demand to remain fit.

The Health Hub, a fitness Centre located in Gikondo, just a few meters from Merez Petrol Station where I find Rex.

Time is 1:17 pm, and he has taken a break from sessions to relax his muscles and nerves.

“Most are on a lunch break,” he said.

“Workout time for most is early morning, while others book evenings sessions,” he added.

However, his spirits have beed dumpned by recent strict Covi-19 rules that a­ffected gyms to contain spread of new virus variants.


According to him, gym training and fitness coaching is a profession which has gradually started fading out.

When the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, it a­ ected Rex’s education as he was pursuing his Agri-Business course at the University of Lay Adventist of Kigali (UNILAK). “I was in my second year, and the lockdown indeed a­ ected my plans,” he recalled.

But what seemed like a dimming dream for most fitness coaches was rather a ray of opportunity to Rex, as it is when the business picked.

This further paved the way for Rex to concentrate on the gym fitness work out programme, which he had embarked on a few months before the Covid-19 outbreak, “gyms were still open, so I started on a personal body fi tness workout programme,” he added.

“I had started posting some video clips and photos for my workouts, and people showed appreciation,” he states.

Due to interest people have expressed towards the sessions on social media, Rex has been psyched up to professionalise his session to the satisfaction of his clients.

“My online fitness classes began with two of my friends who had gone to US, and had already for sessions,” he explained.

By then a total lockdown had been enforced, and Rex only had the virtual medium as a tool for o­ffering fitness training, “It was a professional experience for me since it involved research and an earning too,” he said.

The two clients increased to five, something he took pride in and became a dependable source of income for him.

Born 23 years ago in Huye District of Rwanda’s Southern province, after accomplishing his secondary where Basketball was his focus, his interest shifted to body fitness.

“I had a few pieces of equipment at home, but most online sessions focus on bodyweight exercises, with not much need for equipment,” he explained.

And even as gym remained closed due to the pandemic restrictions, Rex grew his services to in-home as a personal trainer, alongside growing his online presence with the help of social media.

“Workouts require time, commitment and sacrifice to achieve results,” he concluded.