Workouts for moms inspired by radio’s Unathi Nkayi and Rozanne McKenzie

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Don't be fooled by the cold winter mornings, warns Unathi Nkayi. Remind yourself why you decided to get fit.
Don't be fooled by the cold winter mornings, warns Unathi Nkayi. Remind yourself why you decided to get fit.
Oupa Bopape/Gallo

Barely a fortnight into June and we’re already hurtling towards the shortest day and longest night of the year – the winter solstice – on 21 June.

Then the days become longer, and we blink twice and it’s spring.

Night temperatures in Johannesburg have been bitterly cold this winter and it’s no wonder many of us don’t want to do anything but sleep after a hard day of work, preparing meals for the family, cleaning up after them and making sure the kids have done their homework correctly.

Where can parents even find the time to go to gym when it’s dark as midnight by 6pm, and it feels like you’ve had a 25-hour day, in winter?

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Don’t be fooled by the season, warns singer and media personality Unathi Nkayi. “Our winters are short. Don’t let these two months sabotage your goals,” she says.

“June and July will pass so remind yourself why you want what you want for yourself,” the radio personality shared on her Instagram page, encouraging her followers to share their reasons for wanting to be fitter and/or leaner.

It’s important to remember your why when time for exercise seems to be swallowed up by everything else in life that needs doing, she says.

“One [person] said to me ‘Unsta tell the ladies how even sex gets better when you’re healthier. You do more, allow for me and have the courage to try more coz you’re confident, fitter and freer.”

While Unathi gyms religiously, Rozanne McKenzie says she believes pole dancing is what's helped her stay toned. 

The radio presenter says the pole is for everyone. 

“Working out can be done in so many different ways. Pole dancing has been so good for me both physically and mentally. My upper body has never been stronger and my core has improved so much since I started pole," says the mom and media personality.

“The weight training that I do also helps a lot in pole with conditioning. On a mental level, the sense of empowerment I feel with regards to my body since starting pole is unmatched. 

“When you’re on the pole it’s just you lifting your body up, getting into the poses. What my body can do now amazes me every time I’m on the pole, even in the classes that are less successful than others.”

“Regardless of what many people think, pole is for everyone.”

START WITH THE BASICS

Her advice for moms is to start small. “Don’t try and go from zero to hero. 

“This a real luxury, but If you can, get a personal trainer I would highly recommend it - even if it’s for two or three sessions. 

“A trainer can show you proper form so you build a strong foundation and could work out a programme that works with your fitness level and abilities. 

“Training in the right gear also makes a big difference. A good sports bra and the right shoes will make a world of difference. 

“It doesn’t have to be expensive, but the right gear will go a long way to getting you a little closer to your goals.

EARLY MORNING WORKOUTS ARE A GAME-CHANGER

“For me, training first thing in the morning puts me in such a good mood. The endorphin high in the morning is my favourite! I feel like I’m ready for the day and then training is done. The rest of the day can be spent focusing on other things,” says the Jacaranda FM presenter.

“You will find me at a Fitblock class at 5:15am most days. My pole classes are in the evenings twice a week and I will admit, I struggle initially to find the energy to push through a class at that time of the day, but once the class kicks off, I get into it.” 

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YOU DON’T NEED TO COMMIT TO AN HOUR AT THE GYM

“With functional training or HIIT, you can fit a lot into a short space of time so if I can’t make it to gym, I have a few workouts that I’ve compiled in my Notes app on my phone that I will take myself through at home,” shares Rozanne.

“A few sets of lunges, burpees and squats can take just 15 minutes. Not a long time, but sometimes that’s all I need just to move my body for a bit.”

SET REALISTIC AND ACHIEVABLE GOALS FOR YOURSELF

She says setting goals is a vital part of her fitness journey.

“I can work towards something and direct my energy and focus towards that. 

“Writing my goals down also helps a lot. Goals can change, so if I haven’t achieved something in a time-frame that I set out for myself, I just keep working at it and look at how far I’ve come. 

“Goals can also be simple stuff like drinking more water or eating more vegetables, it doesn’t have to be: ‘I need to deadlift 100kg’ if you just started training a month ago. Start small. Small and achievable.”

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