Wellness with Coach Cass is a personalized integrative health and wellness coaching service founded by Cassandra Nuamah. Based in New York City, Cassandra offers individual, corporate and group programs to suit the needs of her clients. As a Ghanaian-American, she incorporates her heritage into her work, regularly teaching Kukuwa Dance Workout (founded by her mother, Kukua Kyereboah-Nuamah) and planning cultural excursions and wellness retreats around the world. Read more about Cassie's inspiring story in our interview.
How did your journey to wellness begin?
So I’d always been a “thickums” most of my life for lack of a better word. Basically from birth I danced, swam, played basketball, soccer, ran track, anything athletic you can think of, I did it. So working out was never an issue or “to do” for me because I naturally gravitated to activity. My problem was that because I knew I was working out so much, I had the mindset that I could eat and drink whatever I want, and my body clearly showed that.
Then in 2005, my sister, who has lupus, was deathly ill and paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors told us that she’d never walk again and would die within a few weeks. My mom wouldn’t take that for an answer, pulled her out of the hospital and literally healed my sister naturally by juicing veggies/greens for her daily (cutting out everything else in her diet) every hour on the hour until she gained feeling in her legs again and started walking. My sister now even teaches my mom’s workout, Kukuwa Dance Workout! My sister getting sick and the holistic healing my mom did on her had a serious affect on me. [After that I knew] I need to get it together and start eating better, not just to lose weight but for my health!
In 2010, I decided to take it to another level and I became a personal trainer and did a 21-day cleanse where I just had fruits, veggies protein and supplement veggie/fruit/fiber shakes. [I] Felt so renewed after that. Not only did I lose more weight and begin to tone more through exercise and increased intensity training, but also I was motivated to further my education to be able to help others to [achieve] a happy healthier life. I became a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I received the education and training to become a wellness coach and help others on their journey to healthier lives [and] discovering their best selves. Needless to say I was once a size 13/14 and now I’m a size 2/3. I love helping others do the same!
What motivates you and keeps you going personally as well as professionally? What keeps me going is the results I see from my clients and those I’ve helped to look and feel their best. There’s nothing more motivating and gratifying than knowing you saved someone’s life and enhanced it. I’m inspired by those who don’t give up. I'm inspired by those who make a way out of no way. I'm inspired by those who say yes when everyone says no. Two of these people include my sister and my mom.
For our readers who aren't familiar, can you tell us about your mom and Kukuwa Dance Workout?
She started her own African dance fitness empire called Kukuwa® African Dance with hundreds of instructors all over the world helping to spread knowledge and culture of African Music and Dance while helping people on their journey to wellness through positive energy and nutrition as well. She wrote a book called African Health Secrets that can be purchased through Amazon. She and I now work together spreading health, wellness and joy thru dance and nutrition. I’m so happy and grateful for her.
Kukuwa African Dance Workout basically allows a person to travel Africa without their passport through dance and music. We play music and dance to every region of Africa. One can burn up to 1000 calories in one hour long class.
You strongly represent Ghana and Africa in your work. What about the culture inspires you?
The music, the food, the fashion, just about everything that I grew up knowing and learning totally defines who I am today cause of being so in tune with where I originally come from
Your Instagram videos always feature African musicians. What are your go-to songs for a great workout?
Yes, I like people to hear and learn about African Music. I like Ghanaian and Nigerian artists like Shattawale, Sarkodie, Wizkid, Timaya and Psquared cause they have quite a bit of uptempo songs along with South African DJ’s like DJ Cleo or the group Mafikizolo.
Can you tell us a bit about your Ghana Retreat? How did the idea develop? What are the goals?
The Ghana Retreat is one of many African retreats we do annually. The concept came about because we figured if we take people on a journey through Africa through music and dance without their passport; why not actually take them to Africa (with their passport! Lol)! Ghana of course is home and dear to our hearts so we are super excited to show everyone our country and help support local Ghanaian businesses while we’re there.
The retreat is a wellness and cultural excursion so we workout every morning to different types of workouts supporting local fitness professionals that will be leading workout sessions, then during the day we do cultural activities and sight-see also supporting each local Ghanaian establishment we visit. Then in the evening we hang out, enjoying more food, music and fun that Ghana has to offer. The trip is mutually beneficial for all involved cause we financially support local businesses while culturally educating the group and raising Ghana’s tourism.
What other African cultures inspire you and would you like to take your retreat to other countries?
I’m also really inspired by Eastern and Southern Africa, especially Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
What's up next for you?
Our next trip for 2016 will be to Tanzania. We will experience climbing Kilimanjaro and the beautiful Zanzibar.
What is the most important advice you give your clients?
Your ultimate goal is to be healthy. Your body image, happiness, wholeness, positivity, spirituality and overall well-being are defined by your health. I always says 3 things:
For more information on Cassie’s wellness programs, class schedules and fitness tips, visit her website or follow her on Instagram and twitter. If you’re looking for your next vacation destination, sign up for her Ghana Retreat. Check her page now for all of the details!