MICHAEL JACKSON

From a non-cyclist to Njinga lab champion, MJ increased his fitness with Njinga, losing 30kg (66lbs) along the way.

ACHIEVEMENT HIGHLIGHTS

WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS

Since starting his journey at Njinga, MJ has lost over 30kg, built muscle and got stronger.

NJINGA WORLD CHAMP

Completed in our 2018 Njinga World Champs and was crowned our World Champion.

NJINGA GRAND TOUR WINNER

2018 Tour de Njinga Grand Tour winner, clocking up 1000km in 3 weeks on the wattbike.

SANTA CHARITY CYCLE

Got back on a bike outdoors for the first time in years by joining our 20km Santa Charity Cycle.

By mid-January 2018, just six-months after meeting and joining Njinga, I completed my 100th class (that's one class every two days or so!), had made tangible progress from those first taster sessions, and was 25kg lighter.

Before Njinga

Towards the end of June 2017, I stood on my bathroom scale and, for the first time in my life, it maxed out. I realised I had only two options: get a digital scale or change my life. But if the latter, how? The big fitness centres were too intimidating and training alone wasn’t motivating: it didn’t inspire me and it didn’t give me results that felt sustainable.

Njinga has been the best source of endorphins (physically and mentally) and a routine ingrained in my daily existence.

Enter Njinga

While looking for a different kind of fitness challenge, serendipity stumbled upon me in the form of Njinga and their indoor training sessions. Two taster sessions later, I decided that this time, I wouldn’t give up on myself. Nor would I give up on the chance to be a part of the incredibly welcoming Njinga team, headed by the ever-insightful Togo, and community.


By mid-January 2018, just six-months after meeting and joining Njinga, I completed my 100th class (that's one class every two days or so!), had made tangible progress from those first taster sessions, and was 25kg lighter.

My first FTP test & the transformative power of the data

What I hadn't yet managed to grasp was the importance of the famed FTP test. Eight months in and I’d still not done one because I was convinced the numbers didn’t matter to my training. The only thing that mattered, in my eyes, was consistent effort. And while consistency may be part of it, Njinga’s secret lies in its philosophy: Train Smart, Fuel Smart, Think Smart = Ride Smart. And in order to Train Smart, I needed to understand my personal training goals to help set my targets for the new year.

My first FTP test was not as daunting as I expected. My numbers came out close to what I thought they might be – 194 watts – and Togo was, as usual, right: 


The numbers have absolutely made a difference to my training. 

I was immediately able to improve my pacing, from warm-up through to class challenges. The FTP test results are not a one-time benefit either: they're constantly refocusing and pushing me toward the goals I set for myself.

And so, not only did my weight-loss continue, but I started to gain muscle because of my smart training. Slowly, slowly my interest in diet and strength and conditioning started to peak.

Wellness is holistic

At Njinga, I began to understand that wellness is about far more than fitness. Wellness is holistic.

You also begin to recognise that each ride is your own. Focus on what your own legs and feet are doing, your own numbers and progress. Because if every class at Njinga is made up of seasoned professionals and new riders (and they are), comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire way to fight a losing battle.

Njinga Grand Tours & putting the Njinga philosophy pillars to the test

I’m proud to say that, at the time of writing, I have ridden two Njinga Grand Tours, something I never would have thought possible. The first tour I rode with fellow riders I hit 930km. The second tour, I challenged myself to hit 1,000km. My result? 1,010.6km.

These tours have helped me build strength and stamina, and they’ve allowed me to put Njinga's philosophy pillars (particularly Train and Fuel Smart) to the test.

MJ taking part in our Race the Plane Cycling Charity event at Heathrow Airport.

MJ winning prize at Race the Plane Charity event for his team spirit and commitment during the charity event.

Njinga World Champion 2018

And guess what else? I ended 2018 being crowned Male Njinga World Champion, something I never even considered as a possibility before.


I also never thought I’d rack up 270 classes in a year and cycle 7,500km on the spot. But magic happens when you put yourself first and throw yourself into a space of expert encouragement.

Njinga has quite literally transformed my life

Since day one, the whole team at Njinga, as well as my fellow riders, have motivated, educated, and inspired me. We laugh together, we learn together, and most importantly, they’ve made this journey epic. I never imagined I’d get so far in such a short timeframe.


I lost 60lbs in 18 months, kept my weight off, built muscle, and got stronger over time.

Weight loss images before and after training with Njinga.

MJ being presented with our superhero of the year award.

MJ taking part in our Annual Santa Charity Cycle.

More than that, I feel mentally stronger and happier. Njinga has been the best source of endorphins (physically and mentally) and a routine ingrained in my daily existence.

Njinga's superpower lies in highlighting and supporting their members' individual missions whilst at the same time banding everyone together to form an unbreakable community.

And so, if you’ve ever walked past Njinga and thought it all too serious and you’d never be able to do that, think again. If I can do it, you can too.

No judgement. No pressure. It’s your ride.

MJ collecting his new bike - The prize for being crowned our Njinga World Champion.

MJ's weight loss transformation as a result of training with Njinga.

MJ was crowned our 2018 Male Njinga World Champion.

I lost 60lbs in 18 months, kept my weight off, built muscle, and got stronger over time.
WHERE IS MJ NOW?

It’s been over one year since I wrote my Rider Story and three years since I joined Njinga.

In 2020, I’ve kept up the indoor training with over 200 rides and 3,000 miles done — I’ve just completed my 800th session on the bike! Regular Njinga sessions have helped me stay healthy, maintain the weight-loss, build muscle, and get stronger overall.

My next Njinga goal is to get to my 1000 classes mark – only 200 more classes to go. After that, I just might go for a ride outside…
A NOTE FROM THE COACH

I remember the day MJ first walked into Njinga. I even remember his first ride. He was a total novice and really nervous on the bike. Deep down, I could see — if we could just ignite the fire in him and keep him motivated — he would begin to transform.

And slowly, over time, after many, many indoor classes, group riding programmes, FTP tests (and MJ’s intricate graphs!), MJ has built himself up to become an accomplished and capable rider.

It’s been an incredible journey to walk with MJ and I, plus the whole Njinga team, are so proud of where he is today. He’s such a team player, loves a challenge, is always willing to help new riders settle in, and never shy of pushing out 1000 watts in our peak power sprint at the end of the class. We’re excited to help MJ get to his next PB!

– Togo Keynes, Head Performance Coach at Njinga Cycling Academy

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