Exercise is for everyone, not only the rich – Vicky Dancer

Mrs Victory Chinenye Akingbade, popularly known as Vicky Dancer, is a professional and certified dance/ aerobics instructor, wellness and lifestyle coach. She is the lead Instructor at STAYFITWITHVICKY in this interview with Travellers Magazine. She hails from Ohiakwu Local Government in Ebonyi State. She is a graduate of the University of Benin where she studied theatre art and majored in dancing.

Her career as a fitness instructor started when she went for training at Hit Life Fit Academy in Accra, Ghana. She said she has always wanted to do something that has to do with energy. In primary school, she was the lead dancer in the cultural group. While in her secondary school, she was one of the best footballers, winning many trophies for her school which made her late father thinks she would be a footballer.

What made her to choose dance as a lifestyle was the fact that she loves health and wants to see everyone in good health and happy. “It is health that is the real wealth and happiness. As a professional, I can tell you that prioritising your health is beneficial. I feel so pained seeing many women who jeopardised their health and give excuses why they can not engage in any exercise,” she stated.

She said: “As a child of God, being in the fitness industry has never made me forget my background. God has been the source of my existence and strength, so I go back to Him always. It is clearly stated in the Bible that bodily exercise is profitable. So you see that my work is scriptural.”

She disclosed that women have always been saddled with a lot of responsibilities such as catering for the home, businesses or careers but would forget to take care of themselves.

Akingbade stated that walking is different from walking. While some walk to exercise and stay healthy, some walk due to lack of transport fare or to save them from spending frivolously.

 She said she heard from God to add fitness to her dance career.

“After I got married in 2012, I heard it rightly, it was a scenario that sees me discussing with God, He wants me to do more, so I kept asking Him what He wants me to do until I got a clear response from Him that I should venture into fitness with my dancing.”

This changed her life as she was used to dancing on stage with artistes in shows, putting on skimpy clothes and dancing to any kind of song.

In her career as a dancer, she has worked with a lot of artists home and abroad, the old and new generation ranging from the late Sunny Okosuns, late Fatai Rolling Dollar, Stella Monye, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bigiano, late Kefee (Branama), Mike Abdul, Monique amongst others.

“Nowadays I do not know most of the songs, even those who I have worked with, I do not know their songs anymore. I now deal with songs that are inspirational and pleasing to the ears with good lyrics. it does not have to be a gospel song.

To her, aerobics is the mother of all exercises as it is fun and very effective.

“In aerobics, you are able to attain more. The fun, music and motivation will push you to achieve more. So I had to go train for it since this is what God wants me to do. Fitness for me is doing what God wants me to do. There is peace in doing things in the way of God.” She said.

One of the challenges she faced as a fitness instructor is getting an average person to live a fit life. “Someone selling pepper will tell you she trekkes to Mile 12 to buy pepper and does not need any exercise again or somebody hawking thinks she does not need exercise. Some even say exercise is for those who have eating well and not they who are looking for what to eat. It is because these people do not understand.”

She said due to Covid-19 and compulsory compliance to safety measures, physical meetings has been limited because of everyone has to be careful, she does virtual classes/ workouts with her clients.

“One of my challenges is trying to pass the message across to every sphere of life that fitness is not for the rich alone, it is for everybody. Before one could convince market women to stay fit it is hard. I am grateful to God for connecting me with great dignitaries, top government officials, quality companies and many others. God is taking me places,” she said.

Akingbade disclosed that in 20 years, she has been able to register her business; Just Dance Entertainment which birthed ‘Stay fit with Vicky. ‘ She started organising a dance concert; Pump In More Praise (P.I.M.P) yearly in Lagos. With support of some media houses where they recorded over 5,000 people in attendance. It is a dance programme to educate, encourage, empower the youths to do great things for themselves and the society.

“Many youths are talented but deluded, they need the light to see their purpose in life.  So, my dance event is way to give platform to upcoming dancers /artistes to showcase their God given potentials.

“A lot of our youths are lost, some have gone out of their purpose. You see youths doing things that are detrimental to their lives and you wonder what got them there. Some will say they once worked in a church or was a choir member before but the church was not paying, so they have to move on. I use my dance programme to bring them back to God. That thing that the devil wants to use in taking the youths out, let us use it to bring them back to God and not just bringing them back but to retain them.“ She explained.

The philanthropic part of Vicky Dancer is giving to the widows, less privileged, people living with disabilities since she moved with her family to Adiyan-Agbado community, Ogun State.

According to her: “I believe in social responsibility. I love it. Some times, you see me on social media seeking for support to help people in Agbado-Adiyan and because I need to be accountable, I get back on social media to show the things I did with the support or money I got. During COVID-19 pandemic, STAYFITWITHVICKY with the support of people gave food items to over 400 families in Agbado-Adiyan.

“Honestly, Covid-19 hits so hard and it exposed a lot of secrets. Some people did not have food to eat, and it hit them so hard.”

Recently, she organised a two day skills acquisition and empowerment programme for women (both widows and married). Attendees were empowered with the products they were all trained in and widows in business were empowered with N20,000 to support their various businesses.

Vicky Dancer has helped many people to achieve a better version of themselves.

She said: “I am not giving you what is unrealistic in fitness. I am talking about your total wellness you have to be your better self. For someone who wants to shed some weight must be calories deficit. It  means that you have to burn out more than what you take in.”

She urges Nigerians, especially young ladies to stay focus on whatever they are doing, while they also staying truthful and loyal to their career.

“There is no better you anywhere, the only thing that can stop you is you. Do not allow people’s opinions to bring you down. Be real and unpretentious. I am never a pretentious person. This is me.

“I said recently that you lose 10 kg does not make you a fitness instructor. Nowadays, we are beginning to have fitness instructors, dance instructors. That you were able to eat and it worked for you does not mean it will work for another person. Be trained in it and also know that whatever you are prescribing or giving to people is what you know about.”

Some of her awards include; Best Dancer of The Year (Exclusive Impact Award), Positive Influencer Award (Niola Cancer Care Foundation Award, in the presence of representative of Lagos State First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-olu and Niger State First Lady, Dr Aminat Abubakar Bello), Most Outstanding Dancer of The Year (City Pride Achievers Award), Most Outstanding Fitness Coach of The Year (CMC, USA), Dancer of The Year (Classic African Merit Award) among others.

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