Music is the secret ingredient to these lockdown workouts

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Ayanda Kahla conducts a fitness session.
Ayanda Kahla conducts a fitness session.
Supplied, Ayanda Kahla
  • Rumour has it the music Ayanda Kahla plays during his workouts go a long way in explaining his loyal support base.
  • His live fitness sessions, in collaboration with Ubumbo, take place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • "I think people enjoy the playlist, or my energy," Ayanda says.

Legend has it Ayanda Kahla, of AK Fitness, sets the mood (not to mention pace) of his workouts for his audience, by the music he plays during any given workout on either a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.

For those missing the party scene due to the Covid-19 pandemic there's an alternative, and healthier option - you are more than welcome to tune in to the sessions for a gqom Tuesday, kwaito Thursday, or a hip-hop Saturday.

AK Fitness, which has conducted live workout sessions during the course of the lockdown and streaming it live via Instagram and Facebook, pulls over 200 participants on any given day from both platforms.

Thanks to a sweet collaboration with Ubumbo – who describe themselves as an organisation that "provides a platform for all who share its values so that we can all be enablers in each other’s progress and development" – when the clock hits 18:00 on Tuesday and Thursday, and 10:00 on a Saturday, your Instagram and Facebook notification tabs should alert you that Ubumbo is live.

The rest is pretty simple but worth telling. Once you’ve completed the step of tapping and opening whichever social media network you prefer, you’ll find Ayanda waiting for you on the other side of the screen with a word of welcome and "let’s wait for the others to join" while he takes you through his chosen playlist for the day.

"The collaboration [with Ubumbo] started last year," Ayanda says.

When the aforementioned Women’s Day aerobics class endeared all and sundry to the point where the consistent collaboration between the two entities is now at its most strongest, Ayanda suggests that the decision to volunteer his services to "keep people active" [via the online classes] was an easy one.

He too is a member of Ubumbo, having joined in 2018.

"It started off small," Ayanda observes, "before the numbers grew, thanks in part to the collaboration with Ubumbo".

Chairperson of Ubumbo, Thando Gobe, opines on why he believes the partnership, through viewers, grew: "It’s a professional service… yes, he’s been giving it for free, but I think the way he’s approached wellness resonates with people."

Ayanda Kahla conducts a session.
Ayanda Kahla pulls in good numbers even when he is not conducting his classes online.

Movement in waiting

With the country having been in lockdown since 27 March, it was not surprising to observe that more and more fitness trainers started offering their service online, with some inviting well-known athletes to join them during a session in a bid to up their numbers.

To that end, one could be forgiven for thinking that the live workout sessions would become a movement to the point that it soon becomes a saturated market, but because Ayanda has been around the block - he’s a SA Police Service fitness instructor when not on our phone screens and conducts sessions with tenants at his apartment - no two sessions are the same.

 Ayanda Kahla pulls in good numbers even when he i
Ayanda Kahla conducts a fitness session.

It may well be the fact that he has a DJ who puts together his workout playlists, or the fact that a Tuesday cardio session will be followed by a high intensity interval workout on Thursday, while Saturday will bring its own share of pacey workouts.

"I think people enjoy the playlist… or maybe it’s my energy when I conduct the sessions… those have been some of the comments I’ve received," he says.

While the numbers have gone down because of the easing of restrictions, he admits that it is not a significant loss, because he is a maven, he has been able to create a stable, not to mention loyal following.

An example of this is how Thursday’s session started with Ayanda announcing that the reason there were balloons in his background was because it was someone’s birthday. And because the person happened to be on the live at the time, happy birthday messages were shared, showing a deep sense of community in what Ayanda does.

"I’m not about to stop," he affirms, "but obviously there will come a time when we won’t have as many sessions".

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