INTERVIEW Michael Olajide

Adriana Lima's secret weapon

Just one glance at Michael Olajide Jr.’s AEROSPACE studio, and you can already tell this isn’t your average boxing gym: The room is filled only with beautiful, slim women, some professional models and others fashionable New York women who look the part. They glide almost effortlessly through the intense ninety-minute class. “Everybody who comes here has great energy,” Olajide says of his loyal fitness devotees.

Michael Olajide

The British native grew up in Canada and trained with his father from the age of 18 before going on to become a world champion boxer. Nicknamed ‘Silk’ due to the smoothness of his movements, he earned four championship titles and was the top-ranked middleweight contender in the world. But he’s also known for choreographing the fight scenes in Ali, starring Will Smith, and The Black Dahlia, and teaching John Leguizamo to box like a champion in Undefeated, among other work on the big screen.

His unique AERO workouts include AEROBOX®, AEROJUMP®, AEROSCULPT™ and AEROIMPACT™, and use boxing techniques to help clients sculpt their bodies. “Truth be told, AEROSPACE goes beyond boxing to create the ultimate fitness experience,” he says of his innovative approach to fitness. “Using professional athletes’ techniques is the best way to perfect every physical and mental attribute—endurance, dexterity, power, speed and focus. It’s the most efficient, effective and rewarding workout on the planet.”

Olajide is just back from a month in Miami where he trained Adriana Lima for six hours a day to get her already heavenly, albeit post-baby, body ready for Angel status at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “It was a challenge—she wanted to do the show, but she only had five weeks to get back into shape after having her baby.” Lima’s regimen involved “a lot of cardio, a lot of muscle-sculpting, but very fast movement so that it doesn't build the wrong type of body. You can’t build big biceps and big abs and big legs. That’s a great shape, but it’s not the shape that they’re looking for; they want that very slick, sculpted shape,” he explains.

Olajide appreciates a challenge and talks about perseverance with passion. The former pro boxer was forced to put a halt on his career because of an eye injury—hence his signature eye patch—before turning his disability around to launch a new path as celebrity trainer and Aerospace founder. “Convenience is killing us; we can do everything at home—banking, watching a movie, shopping and getting food delivered. We need to move! Cardio, especially, is the best anti-aging weapon there is. Women are smart—they understand boxing even better than most men who just want to punch each other.“

Olajide first trained supermodel Iman before becoming fashionable with the in-crowd, which today includes clients such as Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes and Karolina Kurkova, among a bevy of other beauties. “Boxers have a lot of common with models. Both make their livings from how their bodies perform—they rely on their bodies, they need to maintain a certain weight, and they are constantly being judged.“ Despite the high stakes, Olajide has learned to transform negative energy into motivation. “You can absorb the positive things people say right away, but it takes more time to turn negative words and things that hurt into something good. It just made me work harder.“ His personal mantra can be summed up as “never get tired.” He explains: “When I was in the ring and I felt tired, I’d feel already defeated. That was the worst feeling, so I just won’t have it.”

According to Olajide the secret to staying young and healthy is very simple: cardio, cardio and more cardio. “It’s so important for us. It helps us to heal. It helps with anti-aging. It helps with everything.” He adds, “Jumping rope is one of the best things you can do. Make sure you have something warm on and you’ll get a good sweat. Do it for half an hour every day—you’ll get better at it and you’ll want to do more. We used to do it in boxing to make weight”

Today, Oladjide doesn’t seem to be concerned with making weight. At a diner next to his studio, he’s fueling himself with a grass-fed burger and a milkshake. “I never have breakfast and sometimes I’m less strict with my diet,” he confesses, but adds: “But I never eat food because I’m stressed or emotional, or for any other reason than to fuel my body.” However, since a burger and milkshake diet may not work for the supermodels he trains, Oladjide does have other weight loss advice for his clients. He blames most weight gain on “water retention from sodium. It’s important to watch what you’re drinking,” he says of popular beverages like diet soda. And, of course, you help yourself keep weight off by boxing: “It burns fat and conditions your body without making your body bigger. Boxing compliments the workout. It moves the way the body was meant to move,” he says.

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