Anisa Essop is the kind of Black Girl Magic we stan all day every day. Anita is a survivor of gender-based violence (GBV) but her resilience and power are phenomenal.
Anisa was married to an abusive drug-addict who nearly destroyed her life.
She however left him and started on a recovery journey through fitness and sharing her story.
She has been a fitness trainer for the past 19 years and a year ago she started her own brand: Anisa Fitness.
She says the goal is to “assist people with their physical and mental health, as well as a healthy lifestyle”.
She adds that teaching others how to take control of their health and fitness is what she enjoys most.
GLAMOUR caught up Anisa to chat about her fitness routine and healthy lifestyle
What sparked your passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle?
I have always had a love for leadership, teaching and fitness since I was little. I loved taking part in shows, dancing and singing as a young girl and as I became a teenager the endless bullying drove me even more to running and being in shape.
Was this always important to you or did a certain instance in your life inspire you?
My abusive marriage led me to weigh 128kgs. I always had a passion for fitness and in my marriage, I knew I was not the only person on this planet that was going through low self-esteem, brokenness, abuse and overweight issues. I decided to get my life back and my body back to help people that are going through the same situation.
Knowing that the time factor of working out is a major deterrent for many people, how is it that you are able to manage the demands of your busy schedule and still make time to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?
Fitness for me is like breathing. When you have a passion for anything, it becomes a way of life especially with the results it gives. Yes, I do have my days whereby I don’t feel like training but, I double up the next day.
For many years I have managed to create a consistent balance with everything I do. I’m always planning, preparing days ahead in order to teach, do community work, work with corporate clients, train and have quality time with my family.
What is your fitness mantra/philosophy and how has it evolved?
There is NOTHING more powerful than a made-up mind!". Once you understand the power you have in decision making, you are unstoppable.
What is your fitness regimen and your nutrition plan you use to stay in shape?
During this lockdown I stay motivated and in shape by avoiding all my downfalls that contribute to my weight gain as I have a crazy sweet tooth. I also do free workouts each week on my Facebook page and my Instagram page.
But generally, I spend a good 1-hour power walking and running 4 times a week and 3 times a week weight training at home.
What is the best advice you have ever received and from whom?
My best advice is in the word of God. God always guides me and advises me with helping His people.
What's something most people don’t know about you?
I love challenges! I love working with people, helping them achieve their goals and believing in themselves. I love my Anisa Fitness warriors each and every person that joins me in my workouts! They are my heartbeat.
What’s the biggest mistake the fitness newbies make?
Compare themselves to the media. Not everyone has the same bodies, not everyone can do all the workouts they see and not everyone has the same goals.
It’s about understanding that in order for you to reach your dream you need to invest your time, dedication and understanding of what actually brought you to this decision. This is a journey you need to enjoy and love yourself throughout the process.
Why is it important to stay fit and how can we overcome procrastination and fear of working out on a regular basis?
Exercising keeps you away from the doctors! Your body functions well, you sleep better, helps with keeping your weight down and keeps you younger and stronger!
You need to love what you do. If you get into a routine to not exercise it has so many disadvantages. I believe a little each day is better than nothing at all. You have got to love yourself to be your version of yourself.
What sort of strength training exercises are most beneficial in developing strong muscles and keeping a high level of physical fitness? Weight training vs cardio? muscle groups?
This can vary as it all depends on the individual’s needs ... have they been training for a long period of time...? Are they new to training... do they want to lose weight... do they have injuries etc.
I would say.. weight training and cardio training needs balance if you want a lean, toned body. It is so important to do some weight training while you lose weight because cardio burns your fat and resistance training helps tone your body.
People that want to keep their size and shape up normally do less cardio and more weight training. Also depending on the amount of time you have and more focusing on those specific areas on your body you would like to see change. Again...every person's needs vary.