Skip to content

Here is how Juanita Khumalo created a global health and fitness community out of her personal struggles

The mastermind behind TROVE WELLNESS, Juanita Khumalo, is truly a wild card.

The entrepreneur, television personality, and fitness enthusiast revolutionised the wellness scene in South Africa when she launched her one-stop-shop health and fitness brand.

With TROVE WELLNESS, Juanita enables people to better their health through education and providing resources to facilitate action.

A variety of in-depth nutritional information, fitness insights, and top-tier work-out equipment can be found on the TROVE WELLNESS website.

As a unique bonus feature, users can access a free wellness directory, a list of vetted physical trainers, dieticians, biokineticist, and psychologists.

But, to embark on her journey to create this ultimate guide for holistic wellness, Juanita had to do a full 180 degree shift professionally.

She had a well-seasoned career as a marketing and finance specialist for leading multinational corporations, like L’Oréal, and abandoned it to pursue her passion for fitness.

The journey began when her own personal wellness was in decline after ending a toxic relationship amidst an already difficult period in her life.

Juanita quit her job and tried to start fresh. Still, found herself contending with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and rapid weight gain. Unable to recognize herself in the mirror, Juanita finally pushed herself to begin a fitness regimen.

She shed her excess weight almost as quickly as she gained it. But reaching her physical goals did little for her mental state and her anxiety and depression persisted.

Unknowingly, this was the catalyst that inspired TROVE WELLNESS.

Months of reflection brought Juanita to the realisation that true wellness can only be achieved through a holistic approach. “Committing to the practice of holistic wellness has completely transformed the course of my personal journey,” she says.

To pay it forward, Juanita founded TROVE WELLNESS to help others nurture their minds and bodies through food, exercise, and thought.

In such a short period, TROVE WELLNESS has reshaped fitness in South Africa and formed a global community that Juanita leads.

While TROVE WELLNESS has been an incredible success, Juanita’s positive impact goes beyond it.

She’s become a celebrity in South Africa with features on magazine covers and, most recently, premiered as a host for season 5 of the popular television series Colour Fitness.

Despite her struggles, or rather because of them, Juanita Khumalo reinvented herself.

She discovered a love for wellness and lives with a mission to support others.

Read more about how she turned her challenges into success in the full interview below exclusively with GLAMOUR!

GLAMOUR: What sparked your passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle? Was this always important to you, or did a certain instance in your life inspire it?

Juanita Khumalo (JK): My fitness journey started when I gained a tremendous amount of weight in just 12 months because of the toxic relationship I was in, and I had just quit my job which was also a toxic environment.

I was unhappy with life overall. I suffered from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I gained weight through emotional and comfort eating, food was my solitude and I used it to self-medicate.

There was a day when I looked at pictures of myself and I couldn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. I loved that woman, however she had gained 15kg of weight, and she was sad, broken and unhappy.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford therapy at the time but gym gave me a sense of renewed purpose. Working out saved my life. I had something to look forward to when I woke up every day.

I simply fell in love with it by day more especially as I started seeing the physical results of it.

GLAMOUR: What is your fitness mantra/philosophy, and how has it evolved?

JK: At first, my goal was simply to lose weight and look good physically which I managed to achieve in less than 6 months.

However, just after achieving my goal, I experienced a burn out and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and insomnia. I had taken care of my physical wellbeing but ignored the other equally as important pillars of wellness.

I was booked off work for 2 months to focus on my mental wellbeing and recovery. It was through this experience that I adopted a wholistic approach to wellness, taking care of oneself not only physically but being mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit.

These pillars are all interdependent and one cannot achieve true healing and growth without all of them. One would think that as human beings, we would, by default, feel ‘alive and well’. On the contrary!

I’m learning that this apogee is reached by consistently harnessing the power of intention, vision, and discipline – as per appropriate insights, of course.

GLAMOUR: What workouts do you foresee trending big in 2021, and why?

JK: HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training has taken the south African fitness space by storm for the past 1-2 years and it’s still continuing to grow in 2021 and I think its here to stay.

HIIT consists of short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. Working out without weights and only using your body weight has also become popular.

Both styles of training has been made more popular as a result of home workouts which grew as a result of COVID19 regulations which resulted in gyms closing down and people opting to train at home to keep safe.

GLAMOUR: What is your current fitness regimen, and your nutrition plan you use to stay in shape?

JK: My current fitness regime consists of training 5 times a week and involves doing 30 minute of cardio a day and weight lifting which I breakdown by various body parts eg. having leg day, arms, back and shoulder etc.

GLAMOUR: How has your routine changed to stay fit in quarantine? What can people do to still get the same challenge/burn that they would in the gym?

JK: I’ve been training at home the past 2 weeks as a result of COVID19 regulations and being in quarantine and this has included doing HIIT workouts from home.

The beauty of HIIT training is that you can literally tarin from anywhere and it doesn’t necessarily include equipment.

It is a fat blaster meaning you can burn just as many calories training from home as you would in the gym.

GLAMOUR: What one thing do you never skip in your workout?

JK: Leg day, we don’t ever skip leg day!

GLAMOUR: What is your best advice for people who want to get in shape in 2021, but don’t really know how to stay on track?

JK: Focus on one thing at a time and ease yourself into your program. The average human being needs min 30 minutes of exercise per day.

The goal is to simply keep your body moving and it does not necessarily have to be within the confines of a gym. Remind yourself that weight management is a lifestyle goal, not a once-off destination.

Develop a healthy relationship with food by learning to eat what you enjoy in reasonable, regular quantities, rather than having a deprivation mindset that drives you to binge.

Focus on establishing small daily habits that become sustainable, healthy, lifelong practices. Choose indoor workouts if you don’t like the cold. Exercise with a friend or join a class to hold you accountable to your goals.

Go to gym with an action plan and prep your meals ahead of time. Nothing derails you more than being unprepared for a workout regime (so you end up doing very little) or not knowing what you’re having for lunch (so you grab a takeaway because you’re hungry).

GLAMOUR: What is the biggest mistake that fitness newbies make?

JK: They try and do too much too soon which always backfires. I always advise easing yourself into exercise and healthy eating.

If you normally have 5 teaspoons of sugar in your diet, cut down to 3 teaspoons and overtime cut it down to 1.

Start with walking, then jogging, and built up to running. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself and end up giving up, it’s not sustainable at all.

GLAMOUR: One of the key elements for staying consistent with working out is accountability. Who keeps you accountable for working out consistently?

JK: My online community keeps me accountable. My online community consists of the warmest and kindest women who are also pursuing the best versions of themselves through living a holistic wellness lifestyle.

In order for me to be there for them and motivate and coach them, I have to fill up my own cup and make sure that I am in my best form mentally and physically to be there for them.

My spirituality keeps me going, my relationship with God hold me accountable. I’m a firm believer that it is my lifes calling and purpose to touch and change other people’s lives and God is using me as a vessel to fulfil His work on earth and it is through fitness and wellness.

GLAMOUR: Tell us about founding your company, and what your main goals are for TROVE WELLNESS?

JK: TROVE is a conceptual home which is devoted to motivating you to achieve overall wellness – celebrating ourselves along the way; it is a platform where you can find everything related to holistic wellness.

Spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellness. As a globally-minded millennial vigorously pushing various missions and having had the privilege of being guided along the way, my wish has always been to pay it forward by equipping others with the best tools so that they too can become the grandest versions of themselves.

The platform is as a source of guidance as it relates to living a holistically healthy life and equipping you with the right resources and tools so that you can be the best version of yourself yet.

We provide resources such as articles on nutrition, fitness, mental wellness, we house a wellness directory and have a wellness podcast.

TROVE wellness predominantly hosts wellness festivals which are aimed at women and the events have grown so much to become the second biggest wellness events in South Africa.

The goal is to grow TROVE’s footprint to the rest of Africa and expand within the nutrition and gear sector.

GLAMOUR: What responsibility do you feel having a company that empowers women to live their healthiest and most holistically-balanced lives?

JK: I have the responsibility to rise up daily and pursue my best version in a responsible and authentic manner.

There are a lot of gimmics and fads out there and part of my mission and responsibility is to encourage sustainable means of healthy living and to encourage women to practice kindness and empathy towards themselves and share as much of my knowledge and teachings in a healthy manner.

GLAMOUR: What makes the fitness industry in South Africa particularly unique?

JK: I’m not sure whether it makes it unique however the fitness industry is growing and more people of colour are taking their wellbeing into their own hands and working out more.

Fitness is on the rise in south Africa and people are more into fitness being a social element.

People LOVE group trainings and events which bring them together and makes fitness fun.

Running, cycling and hiking are big locally which speaks to this local trends.

Share this article: