Mapule Ndhlovu on pushing fitness boundaries

Being a fitness influencer is hard work and doesn’t happen overnight. But fitness queen Mapule Ndhlovu makes the exercise part look easy. If you’ve spotted her videos on social media, you would agree that every exercise she does turns into something we all want to try.

Also known as Queenfitnass on social media, Ndhlovu has become one of the leaders of the women’s fitness campaign.

She is one of the most loved, and celebrated certified personal and group exercise trainers in the country.

The fitness queen hails from Alexandra in Johannesburg and was crowned the first Women’s Health Next Fitness Star in 2016. Four years later, Ndhlovu has changed her life for the better and inspired others to do the same: “Not only has it changed my outlook on life it has changed my entire world. Sport has given me the opportunity to work with amazing global brands such as adidas,” says Ndhlovu.

We caught up with Ndhlovu who recently featured in the adidas Heat.RDY campaign. We get to know a bit more about her love for fitness, returning to the gym, and keeping busy during lockdown.

How do you feel about returning to the gym?

I’m returning with a different outlook on exercise. I’ve had to think outside the box during lockdown and will be taking what I’ve learned back into the gym environment.

The creativity is going to be on another level because I’ve had months without access to gym equipment and I’ve had to use just my own body in workouts. Now I have a better understanding of my body and how to unlock its potential. I’ll be going back in beast mode!

What did you miss while you were away from the gym?

I missed human interaction, having that face-to-face connection. You can’t read emotions online, so you respond without understanding what sort of space the person is in. When you’re in the same physical space, you can tell where they’re at, mentally and energetically.

I missed training in the gym with weights and feeding off other peoples’ energy. When you’re having a bad day in the gym, someone might say something encouraging that gets you back on track. When you’re alone in lockdown though, you have to do this yourself. I’ve realised that when I’m in a gym environment, people help me to be a better version of myself every day without them even knowing it. At home, you have to be your own motivator, your own inspiration, your own support system, and your own advisor. That’s not easy.

What do you love the most about the adidas Heat.RDY range?

I love that it allows me to move freely. It gives me the opportunity to do a full range of motion without thinking too much about the next move. The breathable material is amazing especially for moisture management during a tough workout. I seem to hit beast mode automatically when I’m wearing Heat.RDY and it’s really flattering to wear. Once my workout is done, I can easily go from the gym to a coffee shop without needing an outfit change. Convenience at its best!

Mapule Ndhlovu, personal trainer and fitness influencer. Picture: Supplied

How did you stay motivated during the lockdown?

It wasn’t easy to start with, but I always felt better after working out, so I started to share new workout ideas online. This kept me looking forwards, and I wanted it to motivate others to keep moving, too. It’s important to keep your mind in the right space because you can easily become emotionally drained or spiral into a depression. Exercise plays an important role in supporting mental well-being. It’s what helped me stay grounded and focused during the pandemic.

The moment you could venture outside, what were you thinking?

Initially, I was training indoors at home, and the moment we could exercise outdoors again, I started running. It was such an emotional release. There’s something wonderful about being in nature, being outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and seeing the trees – it gives you a form of energy that you can’t find indoors. Being outdoors again gave me hope that things were changing. The little changes that happened during this period made me realise that we were moving towards a better place. And despite the changes being small, it’s those small changes that can make a big difference in your life. If you look at it from an exercise perspective – making small changes every day, will get you to your goal.

Shop Mapule’s Back to Sport favourites and be sure to tag @adidasZA when you debut your new look.