The term WAG (wife and girlfriend of footballers) isn’t one that is popularly used in Nigerian media or as a household term. Unlike in the UK and other western countries, the lives of wives and partners of footballers holds less interest compared to their husbands activities on the field for most Nigerians. As most professional Nigerian footballers live abroad, they’re often lumped up with other WAGS in their countries of abode (most notably in England). One of those based in the UK is Amara Kanu, wife of former Nigerian national captain, and Premiership footballer Kanu Nwankwo.
A qualified Architect and certified mentor, who’s also just completed a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship Management, the 30 year old mum of 3 can also now add book author to one of her growing list of accomplishments, after the recent launch of her health and fitness book ’Healthy Living With Amara Kanu’. The 30 year old has spent the last few years building a successful career in interior design; one wonders why she’s made the leap to healthy fitness? She says she felt inspired to document all the tips and strategies she employed to manage her husband’s health in the hope that it would inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle, no matter what stage of health they’re in.
While sharing her tips online, she quickly found out there were other women like her – women working full time, managing their homes and family, all seeking a healthy lifestyle. So she began her health and wellbeing group- AK Healthy, where she mentors other women looking to live a more healthy and meaningful life. “It’s more of a lifestyle really, than just exercising,” she says. “My clients start their day with AK healthy in the morning. I’m responsible for waking a group of women up every day, and then we meditate for 30 minutes. You have to look after yourself and your own mind first before you can look after others.” As women, we’re busy making a home, a career, and living busy lives, so it’s really important for us to look after ourselves. You can’t take yourself for granted because when you invest in yourself everybody around you will benefit.”
Her marriage to the Kanu at a very young age has been a whirlwind of sorts. She credits this for making her ‘grow’ and ‘blossom’. “That really was the beginning of my journey. I got married really young at the age of 18, I didn’t know the depth of what I was getting myself into. Not long after our wedding, we moved to the UK and then I had my first son 9 months afterwards. I mean, I was just a young girl from Jos, who’d been suddenly thrown into the limelight and this fast paced world married to a professional footballer.”
“My healthy living journey actually began about 10 years ago, but after my husband had open heart surgery in 2014 and I nursed him back to health, I knew I had to document everything I had done to get us to that stage.” She said she convinced Kanu to “get his heart checked out as I could physically hear his heartbeat.” Thanks to her intuition, Kanu, who’s now retired, was flown to the US for corrective heart surgery in good time and has made a full recovery since. Would she say she saved his life? “I would say I helped to detect the condition early, and that could potentially have saved his life because lifestyle choices really matter and going into surgery, if you’re not fit and healthy, this may affect the outcome of the surgery or even the decision to operate at all.”
She says sheer discipline and practicing mindfulness techniques got her through what was a very difficult time for the family. “I’m very good at managing stress, hence why I’ve written ‘Healthy Living with Amara Kanu’.
With chapters on ‘Discipline’, ‘Self-love’, ‘Dieting’ and meditation, the book is packed with tips from what to eat to how to ‘snap back’ after child birth and how to remain positive throughout your journey. There’s also a daily step by step visual exercise guide readers can tear out for exercise inspiration.
What makes this book special is the personal tone that Amara brings to each chapter. From tips on how to be disciplined, and positive affirmation; she walks you through each step to getting a healthier, fitter you as a partner- rather than just a teacher. The book is also beautifully designed and well thought out as she draws lessons from her own past experiences to show the reader nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it.
“I’m really happy I was able to express myself in this book. I hope it helps people see the bigger picture, and be thankful for what you have. I’ve gone through a lot of incubated growth process and now I’m ready to blossom.”
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