How lifestyle coach Klaudia Kaliisa turned a personal challenge into a career
The illusion that we do not have enough qualification to chase our dreams has denied the world of great inventions, businesses and innovations and robbed millions of people of their greatness. Klaudia Kaliisa epitomizes the kind of boldness we need to live fruitful, empowered and empowering lives. This 29-year-old transformed a personal experience into a passion that has changed people’s lives. Kaliisa wears many hats as an entrepreneur, trainer, life, health; fitness and nutrition coach who helps individuals and companies reach and exceed their goals both professionally and personally. She co-founded WeFood, a Ugandan brand providing healthy and homemade snacks.
How did you become a lifestyle and health coach?
After I graduated from university I worked in corporate companies where I felt like my life was just passing me by. During my studies, I went for an internship to Greece where I gained eight kilogrammes in three months. I returned home looking like a different person; my clothes wouldn’t fit, I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror and it made me feel so insecure. I started working out and eating healthy and my life changed completely. I became stronger, not just physically but also mentally. I started feeling good about myself, so confident that I could do so much more in my life. I always say that fitness and working out give you a nice looking body but this is just a side effect. The most important thing is that they make you feel so much more powerful, strong, beautiful and confident. I was consumed by how great I felt and I wanted everyone, especially fellow women to experience that freedom. And that is what inspired me to quit my full-time job to work full-time as a lifestyle, health and wellness coach.
How long have you been coaching?
I have been working as a fitness, health and nutrition coach for more than six years now. I started doing it part time alongside my day job. Four years ago, I decided to go all in because I had more clients than I could effectively handle while doing another job. With more time, I was able to organise regular health and wellness workshops while working with more than 15 companies to guide and help their employees to maximize their potential.
What fascinating truth have you discovered so far?
What I find fascinating is how a human body changes throughout the years, under the different influences of food, lack or excess of physical activity, pregnancy, stress, age etc. And how well it responds to discipline, determination and commitment.
Why do you think you have been able to help so many people?
There are many people looking for genuine solutions. After trying different diets without success, they look for someone who will guide them, educate them and empower them to manage their own lives.
What skills do you need to work as a coach?
Well, apart from equipping yourself with as much knowledge about fitness, health and nutrition as possible, you really need to have a deep interest in people and being an extrovert makes it much easier. You end up working with so many different people every single day that you need to be open, ready to talk and reach out to people.
You also need to be good listener, because every case, every person you work with is different and you have to customise and adjust your tools and plans to who you are working with at the time.
Do you have any advice for people interested in this career?
Learn everything there is to learn because you will need it, but find a way to work with it, your own way. Don’t try copying what others do; you have to be authentic so people can trust you.
Do you think Ugandans understand what healthy eating is?
There is minimal awareness about it. Although there are signs here and there about the need for healthy eating, it will take a while to take root. In other countries you can see things are changing, schools and companies offer healthier meals for lunch while here children get popcorn and Gorrilos at school as snacks. Many people do not know what healthy eating is, they try the different magic pills and shortcuts to lose weight without knowing this may either harm their health or won’t give them long-term effects. I feel like there are not that many sources of information tailored to the Ugandan market, so people also don’t have an option where to learn from all these things. We have got some work to do here but it only excites me. I have therefore released an e-book in which I describe the very basics on eating healthy and what our bodies need in relation to food. My e-book is called ‘’Skip the diet, just eat healthy. All you need to know about Ugandan food.’’ Can be purchased on my website www.klaudiakaliisa.com
Yes, of course. Like doing any other job you get burned out doing the same thing every day. That is why I had to branch out to work with different people, companies and expand more into life and health coaching to have a bit of diverse work. And this way I can also help more people. When you are in this field, people also tend to think that you never eat anything unhealthy and you work out all the time, which is not true. At the end of the day I am a human being just like you and I like me a glass of wine or some chocolate every now and then.
What or who are your influences?
First of all I am motivated by seeing change in women’s lives. I grew up seeing my mother, grandmother being dependent on their husbands, like many other women in Poland and in Uganda too, I believe. I want to see a transformation in their lives, I want to see them being independent, loving their bodies and who they are. My biggest inspiration is Ewa Chodakowska, who is a fitness coach in Poland. She has changed thousands of women’s lives in Poland throughout the last 10 years and I admire her for her hard work every single day.
Are you living the life of your childhood dreams?
Of course not! We all have many dreams when we are young that change as we grow up. As a child I had dreams of being a journalist, flight attendant and a CEO of a company in New York. I never imagined I would move from Poland to Denmark and then to Uganda.
I was never into sports and loved my sweets as a child, but I strongly believe in the universe planning your life and if something was meant to be, then it was meant to be. I love my life and I love where I am today and I look forward to seeing what is next.
I always knew that employment wasn’t for me and that one day I will be either self-employed or will have a business running, I now have both. I have worked hard to achieve what I have right now. Listening to lots of podcasts, audiobook, reading and meditating has really helped to get my goals straight, help me focus and work towards my goals.
One thing I will also recommend to anyone who wants to start a business or start a journey of self-employment is surrounding yourself with like-minded people, joining all sorts of networking events and just choosing your circle right. Such people will uplift, support and motivate you to reach higher.
What is your life philosophy?
What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
What is your daily routine like?
My days differ depending on my work schedule but let me share my lock down routine. I wake up at 7 am, do my yoga for 20-30 minutes, meditate for 10-20 minutes, take a cold shower and have my cup of black coffee, and then breakfast. Then I spend the day working in my office until lunch time and that’s when I take a break. During my lunch break I like to do a short meditation or read a book for 30 minutes before going back to work. I do my workouts or walks in the later afternoon when my brain can’t focus any more. In the evenings I try to relax either by reading, having dinner with my husband or maybe watching something. But that’s again just my newest routine during the lock down!
My favourite books
The 10x rule by Grant Cardone
What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Take Control of your life by Mel Robbins