Patrick Otieno, also known around here as Pato, has been an RHF trainer since 2009. He oversees our group classes and is an all-around trainer teaching group training, CrossFit and personal training. He also claims that lifting 200 pounds feels like paper.
What's your favorite thing about working at RHF?
My favorite thing about working at RHF is a sense of community—not only community within the gym but also community outside. I’ve gotten to know a lot of my neighbors because they come to workout at the gym.
Tell us a little about how you came to be a trainer.
It’s a long story but to make it short I call it my accidental career. I moved here to go to school and study Waste Water Management. While trying to figure out what people do when they move to the USA, I bumped into RHF and I was thinking this would be a good place to volunteer and just spend some time. I was seeking spiritual guidance at that time and I found out that being a trainer was a spiritual journey for me and something that God was calling me without knowing that this was how God wanted me to serve.
When did you first become interested in health and fitness?
Throughout my life I’ve been active and athletic. I played soccer, I tried basketball but I was too short and I used to run 800 meters, but I’ve always been most interested in playing soccer and running. I have a competitive mind, which doesn’t stop me from that kind of stuff, and I feel like through health and fitness you get to experience the same but you actually get to stay healthy.
What's the craziest thing you've ever done to stay fit?
I was in Kenya and there was a huge sewer cover biogas lid that weighed about 220 or 250 pounds. I bet someone I could actually lift it by myself and move it to the side. Basically I wanted to do a dead lift, which is 200-225 pounds. I think just lifting the lid off a biogas sewer system full of cow dung and all those forms smelled so bad and was pretty crazy.
Confession time: List your top 3 healthy snacks and admit a guilty pleasure.
When I go for a snack I just go for any snack. My favorite is peanut butter and jelly sandwich because I cannot stay away from bread—I can eat a whole loaf of bread by myself. I also like fruits, though they have too much sugar. I think I eat a ton of bananas and banana bread. PCC has healthy banana bread that’s organic.
I get pleasure to get to the end of the week and feel like, “Wow, I’ve earned a whole piece of cake.” I can eat a whole bar of chocolate maybe Friday or Sunday, after working out so hard for five days. Basically I work myself to a point where I feel like “I’m about to die” but when it gets to Friday I can eat cake. I can eat chocolate—one piece on Friday, a bar of chocolate or a whole piece of cake. And I have digestive cookies that I eat one piece a week because it’s kinda like the best thing in life. That and huckleberry yogurt is the best.
Do you have any motivation tips for working out regularly?
Consider it like your regular job as much as it sucks because you’re gonna be sweaty. The great thing about it is if you look at it from the perspective that it’s like you’re regular job and you say, “I’m gonna do this four days a week” because after those four days a week you argue yourself into the fact that it becomes part of your lifestyle saying “I’m gonna be able to do x, y, z better, faster and more efficiently because I sacrificed four days to workout and I consider workout as part of my job every day.” And don’t look forward to getting to the top of Mount Everest, just look forward to getting to the middle of Mount Everest. It’s pretty hard and intense and if you make it to the middle, you’ve actually tried, you’ve made some way, but don’t stay down at the bottom of Mount Everest because you’re never gonna know how it feels climbing up Mount Everest.