Rachel Kolisi on helping women reach their fitness goals, and learning patience and understanding

Cape Town - Inspired by her own fitness journey, Rachel Kolisi has teamed up with health coach and trainer Tammy Rawstron, to encourage other women to achieve their personal exercise goals. 

Together with her good friend, Tammy, Rachel has created a community-based transformation guide: 'Rise.'

The wife of Springbok rugby captain, Siya Kolisi, Rachel breaths new life into the age-old saying: "Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman."

"I've always considered myself to be an active person. I was very fit before I had both my children. After I stopped breastfeeding my daughter, I put on a lot of weight and struggled to get motivated to start exercising again," says the former marketing executive, when talking about how she started setting new fitness goals. 

"That's when I started working with Tammy, and she encouraged and challenged me to get going again. It's almost been a year, and I've never felt better. We want to make that available to all women through 'Rise'," she elaborated.  

About the initiative, Rachel tells Channel24: "It has been created with women from all walks of life in mind, to help encourage and motivate them to become the best version of themselves."

Through the campaign, Rachel hopes to "share the power of community," with others on their fitness journey.

"We have also attached a good cause to each of our projects to help other women in need. We work closely with young women who have been abandoned and asked to leave their homes or orphanages after matriculating or turning 18," says Rachel, who holds a degree in events management.  

The profits of the initiative will be used to send women on skills courses, of their choosing to help them find a job. 

When asked what people might be surprised to know about her, she says: "I hate running."  

Rachel and Siya, who tied the knot in 2016, and have two children together, Nicholas (4) and Kezia (1). 

Since 2014 Siya's half-siblings, Liyema and Liphelo, children of Siya's mother who died in 2009, have been part of the Kolisi household, after spending five years in orphanages and foster care in Port Elizabeth.

When the mother-of-four does have a moment to herself, she loves reading a good book and listening to a podcast. Rachel, who also has a close relationship with God, says: "Religion is not important to me at all. My relationship with God is everything." 

In a recent interview with Minki van der Westhuizen on her self-titled talk show spoke about being labelled the first lady of South African rugby, and the challenges of being married to such a high-profile sports star. 

She explained that everything has its blessings and downfalls. During the interview, she spoke about how sometimes it gets tough as the couple raise four children together, and Siya occasionally misses out on essential milestones. 

The 29-year-old told Minki that she is "alone all the time."

About motherhood, she tells Channel24: "I love the challenges that come along with being a mother, I'm always wanting to be more understanding more patient. Also, I love that I get a front row seat to all their achievements and growth."

Another project close to her heart is her work with a primary school in Athlone. "Soon I will be asking, on Instagram, for paint donations and anyone keen to come to help out for a few hours to join us." 

"We set up a library at Zeekoevlei primary in Lotus River last year, and there were over 60 people who volunteered to help with that project, all answering to an Instagram post."

"It was a huge success, and it was amazing to spend the day with people I had never met before doing something good for someone else," she says when talking about a previous fundraising initiative. 

Rachel, who earlier this year came under fire for accusing a woman of sending her husband an explicit photo, was asked to comment on the challenges of having a relationship in the public eye, as well as dealing with negativity on social media, but declined to answer that line of questioning. 

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