Friday, April 19, 2024

Evy’s about wukups, workouts


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EVY BENTHAM is upset he cannot wukup. Well, to his full potential that is.

He is recovering from knee surgery from an injury received six years ago on Kadooment Day.

In March he got the steel rod removed from his right leg in an operation that was just as painful as the first one to try to correct the injured leg. He is now rehabilitating that leg.

“I like to wuk up bad, bad, bad. I like to get on stink, stink, stink, stink, stink. Now I can only get on one bad and ‘bout two stinks”, he said, making us both burst out in laughter.

On August 2, 2010, Evy and two females were hit by a vehicle. He was dragged several metres. His left leg was broken and he sustained cuts and bruises.

Evy is the founder and face of Wuk-Up Workout. His branded truck can be seen all over the island and workout gear has been branded.

The name Wuk Up Man was given to him in 2005.

“I was a regular in a fete and could be found with my shirt off and wukking up terrible. Actually the name stuck when a song Wuk Up Man came out and I used to do bad,” he explained.

He is also called the WukUp Workout Boss. That is from his venture, the dance-based Caribbean phenom named Wukup Workout.

Everad “Evy” Bentham is an American Council on Exercise certified health coach and American College of Sports Medicine certified exercise specialist.

evy-bentham2-072416“I love Crop Over. It pains me that I have to be on the sideline, but I have to look after my knee.”

Evy started Wuk Up Workout in 2007 because of his love of Crop Over.

“It was inspired by Caribbean dance as well as music and our way of expression . . . . It is the indigenous expression of Bajans in particular and the Caribbean in general.”

Wuk Up Workout is a bonafide company and brand. It became a company in 2012, registered with Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property office. Since then it has been thriving.

“It is our own fitness programme, developed by Bajans. The programme is group exercise. The choreography is fun and easy to do. I have a team that has a dance background so they help me with that.”

Evy said the dances are unique to “what we do here, [Barbados] – wukking up”.

The classes are mostly cardio and last at least an hour. They are easy enough for anyone to participate in and soca music is the driving beat.

“The intensity can range from low to high and the party class is a high intensity one, energetic.”

Evy says he is a hard taskmaster and sometimes “when the spirit moves me” the classes go until he feels like stopping.

He reveals there is a love-hate relationship between himself and his clients because of that.

“They really don’t want me to stop, even though I can hear them begging. I know they want me to push them,” he said, laughing.

But not everyone can wuk up. And Evy is happy to teach them.

There is a Wuk-Up One-On-One class.

“We teach the fundamentals of wukking up. There are some who are not as comfortable or confident wukking up in public. We teach how to actually wuk-up . . . how to move your waist.”

The scientific way was also explained.

“Clinically speaking wukking up is the circumduction of the lumbar pelvic region. That movement of the pelvis and the hips – that sway side to side, front and back and in a circular motion – we do those motions to show them that so they can feel it and improve their ability to move.

Evy says it is a skill.

“We all are not innately born with it. Everyone cannot wuk up. It can be taught in the same manner that Latin American countries teach salsa and other dances.”

Evy also teaches you how to jook and go down, how to wuk up anticlockwise and defensive wukking up techniques.

That last one had me stumped.

“Yes, you need how to learn how to make sure the men who want to wuk up aggressively on you don’t have you falling flat on your face,” he said, sounding serious.

“You have to learn how to have a strong stance and brace, ground yourself and have balance.”

Evy has carried his Wuk Up workout and other fitness routines to different events around the island.

He wants to go regionally with the brand also.

This time of the year though with Crop Over starting from May and ending in August, Evy says the classes are full.

While happy for the numbers, it is a sore point for him.

“As a fitness professional and trainer first I want people to think of fitness and exercise as an everyday thing. Not just pick this specific time of the year to try to look and feel good.”

“Fitness should be a lifestyle, not for a season. You need it to enjoy a fuller life. Life is an active event, you don’t want to sit on the side as a spectator and watch life pass you by. If you are fit you can better enjoy it.”

He says vanity is what drives people to the gym during this period – women who want to look good in a bikini and shorts, men who want to party with their shirts off for the pictures and social media.

Evy has been with Surfside Fitness Centre since 2003. He knows the make-up of the body and the theory of fitness since he is certified. He moved from teaching people sign language to teaching them about fitness, a transition he called a natural progression.

“I tell people every day that I don’t see this a job. I enjoy meeting new people. I enjoy helping people to feel and look better.

Evy is proud of people who couldn’t run for five minutes and one now running a 5K. He says it takes mental discipline and strength to work out three to five days a week.

“I work seven days a week. I sleep for about 5 hours the most. Fitness is integrated into me. If a day goes by and I don’t exercise I feel horrible.”

Evy uses himself as a role model for his clients.

“How can I tell them to do more when I don’t? How can I push them and don’t push myself? I know what is good for my clients so I push them. When I tell them it is cardio day I know why I am doing cardio. It is not just about getting rid of the fat around their belly. I care about them.”

Evy is extremely proud of client Sherry who wanted to be able to walk up the ten flights of stairs at her workplace without losing her breath.

She has crossed that hurdle.

“I am so proud of her. It wasn’t about vanity. She has to climb those stairs for work. She did it with one go and wasn’t out of breath. It was meaningful for her and for me.”

Back to that injured leg.

Evy showed me the scars. The knee is still swollen. He said he had to come to terms with the second surgery, saying it was better this time around.

“Back then I was quite traumatised. I got through it with support of family and friends and clients.

My physiotherapist is also hugely instrumental in getting my leg back to strength.

“Now it is no longer broken. So I had the steel removed. It wasn’t as challenging to recover as previously. I was able to go back to a working capacity, but it is still painful to exercise.”

To counter messing up his progress Evy takes active breaks.

“Day to day it is something I have to be careful with. I have to temper down my activities and even my classes.”

Evy says Crop Over is “his thing” and his personality makes him go “out to all and not half”.

The music is nudging him [he is loving the bashment and party songs this year] but he will be watching Kadooment from the sidelines.

But meet him on the road next year.


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