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HEALTHY LIVING HAS TWO NEW FACES: Meet Letsego Zulu and Zintle Ntshikila

Everyone wants the chance to live a full life | Interview by Lwazi Hadebe

This week, Flora invited media to an intimate workshop to learn more about the process of margarine making and understand more about how Flora can form part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet and lifestyle. To promote this message, Flora brought in their two influencers, who have turned their lives and other peoples around through health and fitness.

Letsego Zulu:

What inspired pop up gym?

As a Biokineticist I used to see 8 to 9 people a day because I’d see a client for an hour, after 5years of doing that I felt that I wasnt touching enough people.

I have a passion for helping people – health and fitness comes easy to me, it doesn’t come easy for many people. To come up with a pop up gym movement was to try and reach as many people as I can out there.

How important is the food you eat when one is looking to get and maintain realistic body results?

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Healthy eating and exercise go together, in actual fact, scientists even talk about 80% being healthy eating and 20% exercise.

You cant out-run a bad diet, people tend to think that if they hit the gym today, they may reward themselves with a cheese burger and fries, that is not going to work. Its about balance and that’s what I try to educate people about at Pop up Gym. Where you have 3 or 4 different group training classes, during those sessions we unpack healthy eating.

You lost your husband two years ago on mountain Killimanjaro. What did you learn about yourself after the incident?

There is more to life, and if you are not present on a daily basis in what you do you end up living a very automated life. The incident that happened on Killimanjaro made me realise that. Purely because Gugu was a person that now I realise after he’s, gone that he lived life to the fullest, he grasped at every opportunity out there in life. He didn’t limit himself, he was a go-getter and I’ve now become that person. Yes that happened but guess what? It’s part of life, we all came to this earth alone, we will leave alone.

Youre health and fitness advocate, how does Flora come into the equation?

When I was approached by Flora a few months ago, I have to be honest with this, purely based on what we grew up knowing about margarine I was skeptical. Because I’m an open and curious person, I flew down to Durban because that’s where Unilever is.

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I was open to  a day of education, having spent that time with  Flora, I realised many of us are not educated about the things that impact our lives directly and refuse to keep up with the times, we will forever be stuck in the past. After realising that Flora is plant based, its nutrient dense, its natural; my perception of margarine changed from that small piece of information. If I can be their mouth piece and educate our people about the healthy benefits of using margarine or implementing it in a heart healthy lifestyle, I would have done my job.

What does #LIVEMORELIFE mean to you?

It means that I can grasp life by the horns and go gung-ho, it means – no limitations.

We’re about to wrap the first half of the year, what else you got going on?

I’m currently training for a triathlon. This is another space that people of colour should venture into. As I mentioned, I’m a curious person, always willing to learn new and interesting things. For example, with swimming I hired a coach and with in a space of two and half months my coach made me swim two kilometers  non-stop. I’m training for the Ironman 70.3 world championship which are in September, in Port Elizabeth.

Zintle Ntshikila:

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Please tell me about #TeamHlasela:

Team Hlasela is a collective movement where people join in to reach their body goals. Whether it’s gaining weight, loosing weight or maintaining weight or even motivation to do more for your body. As a person you know your goal and we help you reach that. A person may set 5am as the time they want to wake up for gym, we will make sure that is something you do.

What would be the reason anyone want to gain weight when the general knowledge is people work out to loose weight?

It all depends on what your personal goal is. It just that being overweight causes a lot of complications for a person, but you find people that want to fill up certain parts of their bodies, but their genes don’t allow for that to happen, but when you exercise and build muscle, that’s where the difference comes in. Not to eat large amounts of food, but to do it the healthy way.

One of the things you say is that its not only healthy food, a gym routine, but the mind as well. Tell me more about that.

It all starts in the mind; I’m not the only person to have a dramatic weight-loss, we see a lot of transformation stories on Instagram that stand to inspire, but if you don’t work on your mind first you will stay envious. You can take anyone’s journey and apply it to yourself, it will be a temporary thing because the owner of the journey isn’t there with you.

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They aren’t there with you when you face challenges, they aren’t there with you even when you go out, when you drink or over indulge. Health and fitness journey is not a diet, you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself because if its a lifestyle, you will also allow yourself cheat days, anything and everything in moderation and you allow yourself to have fun.

How did the collaboration with Flora come about?

Healthy lifestyle. Only because they really about balance, how to live more life and its everything that i believe in.

What motivated you to turn your life around?

I was in this anger zone where I asked myself  “what is this weight doing to me? How does it make me feel?” I looked at it and realised that a lot of things are linked to it. I became anti social because I was big. People couldn’t even come to me laughing because I would immediately assume they were laughing at my hips. I also went through countless occasions where people would judge you before you have said anything. Lastly as a person who did not get overweight overnight, I grew up bigger than anyone even in high school, where even when we played hockey, I would the goal keeper because I was a a big girl.


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