At the age of 76, Tole’afoa Segiali’i Tony Heems, is as strong as an ox.
He has a secret to staying fit and healthy – exercise and eating right.
The father of five and owner of Heems Fitness Gym at Vaivase told the Samoa Observer that his wish is for local Samoans to choose a healthy life.
“All my life I had to stay fit and healthy because all the jobs that I had were physical. You have to motivate yourself - that is the key,” he said.
“I want to pass on that knowledge to other people who are around my age and even the younger generation to know that fitness is important and exercising should be part of your life.”
Mr. Heems says exercising is essential to avoid sickness and for the body to function properly as well.
“I started exercising when I was 20 years old and I have never stopped. I exercise three times a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For more than 50 years, this is what I have been doing,” the man from the villages of Iva and Fasito’o-uta said.
Tole’afoa shared his experiences of unhealthy lifestyles these days.
“There is so much obesity in Samoa because there are so many fast foods and we do not control what we eat.
“Everyone has a different diet, if you want to stay slim then eat only greens such as cucumbers, avocados and watercress. You have to know what you are doing.”
He explained: “The muscles in the body are very important it is like a fuse box, it holds all the blood and things like that. Without the muscle, the skeleton cannot function; whatever that is in your system must exercise.
“Not every day, maybe twice, that you would have to exercise and plus you don’t have to come to the gym, you can just sweep the floor or wipe the wall as long as your system sweats.”
He lived in New Zealand for 20 years and returned to Samoa in 1981.
He started his gym the year after.
“I left Samoa when I was 17 and three years later I joined the security force. Working there we were tasked to look after the big artists from overseas such as Elton John.
“We actually get to meet them in person and my first job was the Beatles, I looked after them and then the Rolling Stones.
“I feel like I am still doing the job. This is the reason I am always trying to look after myself, to remain healthy. Everything that I did in New Zealand is the same thing that I am now doing here with the security and the fitness.”
Mr. Heems hopes to set up another center in Savaii.
“Eating healthy and exercising is very important to having a healthy mind as well.
“I want to carry on my job that the Lord has sent me to do, to help local Samoans live a healthy life. I know this is why he called me to return to Samoa.”