By Rick Weinberg, Editor, California Business Journal
Email: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / Mobile: 949-648-3815
WHEN PASCALE ROTHMAN, THE OWNER OF UEVOLUTION IN LOS ANGELES, watched Jyima Ofori-Atta in action the first time, she knew she had stumbled across someone special. Someone who could elevate her business to an even higher level. A game changer.
So she didn’t just hire Ofori-Atta — she offered him co-ownership of UEvolution in order to incorporate his special training method and philosophy into her overall fitness program.
“I was blown away by Jyima’s training method, philosophy, energy and personality when I first met him,” Rothman says. “I knew right then and there that he was the person we were looking for. We were lacking in that area. Now, with Jyima on the team, it’s one of our major strengths as a company.”
When Ofori-Atta walks into a room, watch out. His presence dominates the room. His personality and smile is explosive – just like his passion for fitness, eating correctly, cardio and weight training.
Jyima (pronounced G-ma) has a fascinating background. He was brought up in Worcester, Massachusetts and became an all-star basketball player in high school and college at Salem State University.
His passion for training was evident from the start – in high school, he worked out in between classes by running up and down stairs … with a backpack filled with weights.
“My friends thought I was crazy – and I am when it comes to fitness and eating properly,” he says.
At home and at friends’ houses, if he got the urge to workout, he’d grab the vacuum cleaner and start to do some curls.
“Now that’s crazy,” he says with a laugh.
His Trinidad-born mother was so health and food conscious that Ofori-Atta didn’t have meat until he was 25.
“When my friends would go to McDonalds, I’d just ask for a bag of lettuce,” he says. “When you put all my interests together, it was a no-brainer that I’d get into this field.”
Ofori-Atta, a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Trainer, spent years as a boxing and strength coach for fighters and college basketball players before landing at UEvolution.
“He’s amazing,” Rothman says. “He has no ego whatsoever, which is something I love. So many people in this field have an ego, it can become a problem. Not with Jyima. He’s so steady, thoughtful and does more for his clients than I’ve ever seen in anyone I’ve worked with.”
Ofori-Atta’s mind, body and spirit philosophy focuses on a wide range of fitness methods. “Basically, I adopted a training method and meshed it all into one 60- to 90-minute workout regimen,” he says.
“I use sports circuit training for performance and weight loss,” he says. “My circuit training philosophy is a mesh between cardo weight training and plyometrics – run, weights, jumping. The way you manipulate that model it is what gives you your stamp as a trainer. It’s so personalized. Since every individual is different, the program you use for them must be personalized.”
Ofori-Atta has a keen eye for identifying an individual’s weakness and he targets that area.
“The way I manipulate it is by using opposing muscle groups — chest to back, quad and hamstrings and bicep to tricep,” he says.
“Let’s say you’re doing pushups,” he adds. “Your chest eventually becomes exhausted. Yet you still have cardio respiratory energy, so to maximize the overall burn, I work your back and the opposing muscles because you still have energy there and so you can maximize workout.”
Plyometrics is a big part of Ofori-Atta’s program. “To me, it’s about making it fun,” he says. Jumping jacks can be boring by themselves, so he incorporates other activities, such as throwing a medicine ball while an individual is performing jumping jacks.
“Not only do you have fun, but you get a better workout, a better burn, and it takes your mind off your workout,” he says.
To Ofori-Atta, it’s all about having fun and maximizing the workout. He is known to take a basic weight-lifting exercise and mix in other activities – such as resistance exercises. His clients have been seen doing a one-handed chest exercise while high-fiving Ofori-Atta with the other hand.
“I can’t say enough about Jyima – he’s changed my life forever,” Katherine Umayam says.
Umayam came to Ofori-Atta at 147 pounds, an unparalleled sweet tooth and a wedding on the calendar.
“I had to lose weight for my wedding, add muscle to my frame and stop eating junk food,” she says.
In six months, Umayam was down to 120. “Everyone is complimenting me on how I look,” she says.
Not to mention her fiancé, who is one of happiest guys on earth today.
Before Ofori-Atta, Umayam had two trainers over the last two years – “Jyima is by far and away the best,” she says. “He’s an amazing person who makes you feel so comfortable in who you are.”
There have been days when a client comes in and Ofori-Atta senses that something is wrong. So he sits and talks to them, making sure they’re in the right frame of mind for a hard workout. If they’re not mentally and emotionally right, he’ll say, “Cut.”
“Sometimes you’re just stressed out from work or a relationship or you didn’t sleep well,” he says. “I’m all for applying a balance. Instead of a work out, I may tell them to get some sleep and come back tomorrow for a more energized workout. I incorporate mind body and spirit before forcing people to work out – I want to make sure they’re in their right frame of mind, mentally and physically, before we start.”
At UEvolution, it’s all about mind, body and spirit, which is why Rothman also lured a world-class acupuncturist to her downtown LA facility, Michelle Wong.
Wong is a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Functional Medicine. She graduated from UCLA with Bachelor of Science and from Dongguk University in Los Angeles with her Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine. She has studied in both Beijing and Seoul. Wong is a fellow of the Metabolic Medical Institute specializing in allergy toxicology that affect behavioral and auto-immune issues.
As a doctor of Chinese Medicine, Wong’s “guiding philosophy is to keep people health and teach them how to stay healthy,” she says. “I believe in giving patients time to discover and treat the root of the problem so various symptoms resolve naturally.”
Wong’s philosophy mirrors Rothman’s, making her an ideal fit at UEvolution.
“Our bodies are 100% organic and will respond best to natural therapies for optimum healing and well-being,” Wong says. “To achieve this level of success, an individual must include therapies that detoxify, nourish and stimulate the body naturally.”
621 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA, 90014