Fete Finder Feature: SoFete Fitness
Fete Finder is happy to introduce our monthly series, “Fete Finder Feature”, which showcases individuals that keep the soca scene alive. This series will shine a light on the heart of the soca scene around the world and acquaint new and old soca lovers to artists, DJs, promoters and businesses that are committed to sharing the Caribbean culture, one fete at a time.
And our very first Fete Finder Feature is SoFete Fitness! These ladies are sharing their advice on how fellow “feterans” can start getting fit for carnival, in addition to information on their amazing fitness program.
Fit for Carnival with SoFete Fitness
SoFete launched in 2018 after Sami’s unbelievable experience at Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. Seeing the revelers enjoy pure freedom, while exuding a level of confidence that dismissed all doubt, insecurity and fear was breathtaking. Society has shaped our minds to completely disregard reality, and shame those of us who look different. God made us all different so as a member of the SoFete famalay, we embrace your whole being and help you become a healthier you. The desire to bottle up the joy and level of confidence that manifests on di road and treasure it forever is how we became SoFete!
As trainers (Sami and Asia) with over 10 years of experience in fitness, socaholics, and fete chasers, we decided to give the fitness world a taste of carnival. We use a NASM OPT approach by using integrated training centered around a carnival experience. The SoFete training app provides optional meal plans and customized online training plans that provide you with a taste of the carnival experience. From pop up soca fit classes, to understanding the culture, Jouvert morning and preparing you for Mas.
What exactly is SoFete Fitness?
SoFete is a carnival-inspired fitness program that prepares women for the road.
What is SoFete’s long-term goal or mission?
We want to impact women. We want to create a better version of you. That’s our mission. Society has torn women down. You see there’s so much comparing going on. You’ve got to get the right angle, you’ve got to look this way, you have to have the right lighting, it’s filters and everything. And whether this insecurity comes from when you were younger or older, or whatever the case may be, you can’t have insecurities on the road. You’re going to be in that costume. I’m going to need your confidence to be up. So that’s basically where our mission and vision is. We want to touch the lives of women, empower them to overcome the stereotypes and insecurities.
On that vein of helping women create a better version of themselves, let’s talk about improving their physical health. It’s the beginning of 2020 and carnivals have already kicked off in countries like St. Kitts but most folks are doing their last-minute workouts and diets to get ready for Trinidad Carnival. How much time does a person need to get fit for carnival?
I would say six months. Give me six months and I can get your ready. I can get you fit. I’m not talking about the physical. You can get physically fit in six months, it just depends on your body and where you’re starting from. But if you want to get ready for carnival I would say six months. You could do it in possibly three or four but you’d really be pushing it. It’s more so the stamina that you need when you go to carnival and it depends on what you plan on doing. If you only have like two parties you’re going to and you’re just going to be on the road being pretty you don’t need to work out too much. But if you don’t want to waste your money and you’re thinking “I’ve got to do Machel Monday, Kes Tuesday, A.M.Beach, and these other fetes, you’re going to need about six months to get your body ready for what you’re getting ready to put in it. Cause it’s not just being on the road, it’s all those back-to-back parties. Especially if you come to carnival with us we are Team No Sleep. We keep going and going and going. You’re not going to be able to keep up if you don’t prepare yourself.
What are some of the biggest mistakes fitness newbies make?
Sammi: Not changing their diet. Not warming up and not trusting the process. Those are some of the biggest ones.
Asia: Missing numerous workouts. You may have a workout plan for five days a week. You can’t just do one and expect to see results. That’s the biggest mistake they make. Trying to get them into a habit regimen is challenging. You cannot miss a workout, especially in the first month. I need this to become a mindset. It’s not just for carnival. It’s a lifestyle. It takes 21 days to make a habit. I’m a firm believer in that. Keep going hard in those first 30 days and it becomes like second nature. Once you start skipping workouts it becomes hard to kick that habit. Consistency in those first 30 days is everything.
What is the biggest mistake you can make as a carnival newbie?
Buying a costume that’s too small. Folks will say “I’m going to lose X amount of pounds.” No, ma’am, I need you to pick your current size. And just not having the endurance. Underestimating what carnival is. Also not asking for or finding help with finding lodging, transportation, how they should dress, etc., especially if they’ve never been. Oh one more, expecting that you will get an American-type of breakfast.
What are some of the physical challenges people might expect to experience during carnival?
Your feet are going to hurt. You’re going to be tired, you’re going to be sleepy. You’re going to lose some of your costume jewelry LOL. You’re going to need stamina and endurance to make it through. Buy your shoes now and break them in.
If I sign up as a client what should I expect to hear, see, do, as part of the SoFete fitness training program?
We have an app-based program, and typically when people reach out to us they’re looking for a program to get personal training. For personal training, they have to have the app so I can communicate with you, do my measurements, things like that. For people that we have in Trinidad, Jamaica, California, places like that they are strictly “app clients.” So they receive personalized workouts for them to do when they need to do them. They receive a set schedule, a strict diet plan with macros, calories, and things of that nature. Our clients that are in the DMV area have the luxury of having personal one-on-one time. It’s optional, but I do tell them I’d prefer to train them one-on-one versus them just using the app because I can get more out of you if I’m training you.
So with that, if I am training someone, everybody’s goals are different so workouts will range from high-intensity workouts to low-impact workouts. Sometimes I’m going to bring you in there and I’m going to make you dance. And it also depends on what phase of the program you’re in that determines what type of exercise you’re going to do. If you’re in our “Tuesday Mas” program then you’re going to have to learn how to wine. If you’re in our “Fetes” program, that’s the cardio program, you’ll be doing HIIT (high-intensity interval training) most of the time, so there’s not a lot of rest days because that’s our shredding program, where we’re trying to get you to where you need to be.
For those who don’t know about carnival, this is an awesome program because, when you go to Carnival if you decide to play mas you have to pick a band…well SoFete is your band. So we send you information as if they were going to Trinidad carnival or whatever other carnival. So now you have to pick your costume, frontline or backline. Frontline is no-holds-barred, it’s raw. Just like in carnival with a frontline costume you get your feathers, your bells and whistles included, the same concept goes with our frontline program for SoFete. You pick frontline that means you better be ready, you’re not missing any of your workouts, stick to your diet plan, I didn’t see you record your meals for the day what’s going on, you missed that workout you have to make sure you get it in later. You’re recording your journey, you’re doing weekly check-ins, you’re sending your pictures, you’re doing weigh-ins and measurements.
If you choose backline, you’ll still get the same things but we aren’t going to pressure you for it. Our backline clients tend to get more of our attention because they tend to fall back. So we start out like that and we explain the differences between them. Then when it gets time for them to actually start picking their real costumes for Trinidad carnival they’re familiar with the terminology.
Then we have our SoFete “Cooler Fetes” program. Everyone enters that it just depends on what you’re working on. If you’re burning then you go into our “burn” program, if you want a bigger booty you go into our “bumpas” section. And we just break it down. Each phase is broken down. After the fetes you have J’ouvert, which is our “Oil, Paint and Water” party, that means you’re down and dirty. It’s more so Crossfit type of stuff. Sometimes we have random boot camps or dance pop-ups. And we’ll say we’re doing J’ouvert morning so you’re out here at zero-dark-thirty hour getting paint thrown on you and you’re tired, and you’re running and jumping and doing burpees in the street. We make it fun so they can understand what to expect.
Some of our members know all about it. They don’t need our help, but some folks are brand new to this. So it really helps them understand what they’re getting ready to go into because don’t think that you’re going to carnival and you’ve never worked out for it and you’re just going to put on a costume cause you won’t make it. You have to know what you’re doing. You’re physically, mentally and emotionally ready.
What are your favorite exercises to do?
Asia: I like arm stuff now. I was that girl in gym class hanging on the rope or the bar and the gym teacher would be like, “just pull yourself up.” My friends would try to push my legs up to help me. I never had any upper body strength. So now that I’ve gotten older I kind of into the whole arm thing because I don’t want to be that kind of person.
Sammi: I love squats. Moreso for me because your legs and your butt are the biggest muscles in your body. So if I can attack that then I’m attacking something. For my clients, I love giving them interval types of workouts because I’m trying to get their endurance up. I can get more out of them with interval workouts and HIIT than making them run four miles on a treadmill.
Can you provide a few examples of exercises folks can do anywhere?
Who are you all playing with for Trinidad Carnival?
Paparazzi in the Charade section!!