Your fitness inspiration Ophela Mhlauli talks cutting out meat and showing off her tummy

Ophela Mhlauli
Ophela Mhlauli

How and why did your fitness journey begin?

My journey began in 2015 when I was in high school. I was slightly overweight for my age and height and decided to do something about it. I started by jogging twice a week and before I knew it, it was an everyday thing. I did a lot of research on health and wellness and decided to completely cut meat out of my diet, and that’s when I saw the progress. This is something I still do every now and then to challenge myself. If you do decide to quit meat, then I advise you still keep healthy and find other sources of protein. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced at the start of your fitness journey?

Finding my balance in fitness and eating clean was a huge struggle. Whenever I’d focus a lot on fitness, my diet would suffer and vice versa. And when I try to compensate for the other elements of my life, I’d slack with my eating and gym.

READ MORE: This is what you should eat for weight loss

How do you stay disciplined and motivated?

I’m not always disciplined and motivated. I sometimes take time off training when I feel like it’s becoming overwhelming. You don’t just achieve discipline; you practice it every day of your life. It also goes back to “how badly do you want it?” You know it’s bad when it keeps you up at night. 

Are there any parts of your body you’re still insecure about?

I’m still very insecure about my stomach but that doesn’t stop me from showing it off; I sometimes work out in a sports bra and tights.

How do you space out your exercise routine?

I train at least four times a week and make sure that I switch up my routine every week so that I don’t get bored, and also make sure I’m working out my whole body.

READ MORE: Tips to plan your weekly meal prep better

What are your go-to foods and those you completely avoid?

Broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, chicken breasts and brown rice are my definite go-tos because they’re full of nutrients. They also keep you full and energised. I stay away from white carbs and lots of diary, because they often result in feeling bloated. 

What advice do you have for women who’d like to start their fitness journey?

Keep exploring until you find what really works for you. Be patient with yourself and your body, and remember that you don’t need to get it right the first time. Make room for mistakes, keep on learning and don’t make excuses. 

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