By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

THABA-TSEKA – Good looks, toned down muscles and burning of excess calories are attained through a series of workouts, be it running, weightlifting, press ups, and kickboxing among others.

Meet Palesa Mohoshela a fitness instructor who runs a fitness studio in Thaba-Tseka town.

She said her weight loss journey inspired her to open the gym and help others struggling to maintain weight and keep their bodies in shape.

Also, the pharmacists by profession cum fitness enthusiast had a fair share of being treated to body shaming. Narrating her story, she said they used to call her ‘mantenya meaning fat one.

“They called me all sorts of names indicating how big and fat I was. Once people body-shame you, you end up losing your confidence. I was inspired by my weight loss journey from 2015,” she said adding that she was on a diet programme.

During this time, she shed some kilos, but every time she stops taking the supplements, she would gain. Come 2016 while at the university, she and her friend embarked on a weight loss journey that incorporated exercise and diet programme. It is during this time that she discovered her Damascus moment of helping people to lose weight.

The gym instructor pointed out that diet and exercise work hand in hand. The fitness instructor also highlighted that about 80 percent of weight loss is attributable to food that one eats, while exercise accounts for 20 percent.

It has been reported elsewhere that regular exercise not only helps in strengthening muscles but also lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation.

Mohoshela said the healthy lifestyle “prolongs” life. “It gives you a longer lifespan.”

She further indicated that staying fit comes with advantages such keeping hydrated as they drink lots of water to replenish one that the body has lost and causes one to become healthy as they pay more attention to what they are eating, a move that she says keeps minor diseases that come at invitation of poor eating habits at bay.

“The life that we live these days is more sedentary, we don’t do a lot of moving around. So if you stay fit you add more physical activity into your lifestyle. It means your body gets more physical activity. It also prevents you contracting cardiovascular diseases like hypertension and diabetes which are more prevailing these days,” explained the physical trainer expressing concern that many young people are diabetic and some have high blood pressure owing to lack of physical activity in their daily routine.

She argues that staying fit “elevates your mood”. Mohoshela said hormones like serotonin and dopamine are mood elevating hormones that are secreted during the exercises. She said exercising in the morning sets one in a happy mood and says fitness is also good for mental health.

The fitness enthusiasts said the fast-food such as chips, pizza, fat cakes are not healthy as they clog the body with toxins and worsen when people do not drink enough water to remove those toxins. She says they cause strain into the brain.

“If you exercise your mind gets refreshed. You are open minded. You give your life meaning.”

She said apart from helping people keep their bodies in shape, she helps people with meal plan based on their blood type in order to optimize their weight loss.

She said the response has not been good from the people in Thaba-Tseka since opening the gym studio earlier this year. Mohoshela also plans to expand to urban areas especially in Maseru.

The gym instructor described her sad moment after opening the gym, saying only few signed in out of over 40 whom she was training free at aerobics club, but hasted to add that giving “liberates” her soul. This did not dampen her spirit however, as she continued with few and posted their pictures on social media, a move she believes attracted more of her clients.

“I think if you love what you do, and know why you are doing something that’s the most important thing. In networking, we use know your why, my why is I felt uncomfortable in my own body at some point in my life and I had to stand up and change that.

“I felt like I owe it to myself to help somebody else reach the goal of losing weight. I think it is much more important and easier to help someone with something they are struggling with while you have gone through the same,” she said adding that helping people is important in every business.

She said money will follow if someone does what they love.

The passionate gym instructor says every day in the gym is a “forgettable moment”.

Her plea to government is that it reviews salaries as the small businesses will thrive as more people will pay for their goods and services. She also said it is high time that the start-up funding is diversified and be more inclusive to accommodate fitness business saying there is no point of investing lot of money in people who are not healthy as they risk contracting illnesses and consequently becoming less productive.