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Poppy Ntshongwana on the mental benefits of running and why she is starting a fitness show

Poppy Ntshongwana
Poppy Ntshongwana

Author: Sebastien Lagree

If you’re as busy as Poppy Ntshongwana, it’s important to have an outlet to ease your mind, find peace, and get those endorphins! For Poppy, it’s her daily runs.

“I use my runs to work through things that I'm dealing with. So I'll dedicate a specific run to finding solutions to certain things or to be grateful about something and that helps me deal with what's happening mentally and emotionally,” the DJ exclusively tells GLAMOUR.

“The stronger I get physically and mentally through an exercise it helps me transform the way I look at life. I can create, grow and conquer more through connecting my exercise to my actual life experiences. That's why I run. There are so many life lessons in running that you can apply to life and I'm constantly discovering those and I find that connection and application therapeutic.”

Her ultimate goal is to run marathons in her 60s and 70s - but she knows that in order to get there, she needs to be armed with the best health knowledge possible. This is why the Cape Town-born broadcaster decided to launch her podcast, The Health Club, to connect with the most innovative fitness experts, scientists, and wellness practitioners who can guide her - and her listeners - toward living their best lives yet.

Although Poppy has a lot she wants to learn, she has a lot of information to share too. The DJ has mastered the art of using exercise as a means to alleviate stress and find balance in her life - and read on to find out just how she’s doing it!

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?

I've always been athletic and played a lot of sports growing up. I think my passion and curiosity around health, fitness and wellness began there and has progressed into what it is today.

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

I'm a runner and running has been the most consistent and therapeutic form of exercise that I've stuck to. I'm constantly challenging myself with ways to be stronger and faster in and around my running.

I've become even more obsessive over the lockdown period because I've had time to explore new aspects of my running. Nutrition wise, I try to stick to a balanced vegan/vegetarian diet and that helps me feel energized and healthy.

I eat for strength and endurance, so my nutritional plan is a combination of fruit, a lot of vegetables and healthy carbs.

Knowing that the time factor is a major deterrent for many people, how is it that you are able to manage the demands of your entertainment career and still make time to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?

I've had a shift in my thinking around this and now I actually believe and prioritize my health and fitness because it helps develop me into a better performer in whatever I'm doing.

I've made an effort to make my fitness journey a part of my content and career so I could work on both.

So I use the early hours of my mornings between 6am and 8am to focus on getting in some exercise and that often determines my energy for the day, the week and even that month.

When I set goals for myself in other aspects of my life, I also set myself monthly goals for my fitness and general, that gives me a feeling of accomplishment and helps me prioritize my health and wellness.

What new projects have you been working on recently?

I'm currently launching my podcasting platform (Poppy Online) which will focus on health and wellness as well as leadership and everything else that I'm into. I'm a Broadcaster and I love to tell and share people's stories.

I'll be tapping into people's life stories, their mindsets and philosophies for success and life. I look forward to developing my business into a leading storytelling platform.

You’re starting a new podcast soon called The Health Club, what inspired you to start a podcast focused on health and wellness?

There's so much untapped knowledge around Health and wellness. I'm curious about what's happening around these issues.

Scientists are constantly working on cracking the health code when it comes to fitness, wellness and diseases. I want to learn about what our bodies and brains are doing and this is a great way to explore this world.

How do you think that exercise and fitness can be therapeutic?

I use my runs to work through things that I'm dealing with. So I'll dedicate a specific run to finding solutions to certain things or to be grateful about something and that helps me deal with what's happening mentally and emotionally.

The stronger I get physically and mentally through exercise helps me transform the way I look at life. I can create, grow and conquer more through connecting my exercise to my actual life experiences. That's why I run.

There are so many life lessons in running that you can apply to life and I'm constantly discovering those and I find that connection and application therapeutic.

Who or what gives you the most inspiration and motivation to achieve your fitness goals?

My goal is to age well and to be a super fit 60/70 year old doing triathlons and looking and feeling incredible.

My motivation right now comes from wanting to learn about what my body and mind can achieve and how to prime them for my life and health goals that I mentioned above.

How would you describe your philosophy or motto on health and wellness?

I would say that I'm huge on connecting the dots through learning new things. Knowledge and constantly moving with the science side of things is also important.

I do believe our bodies and health journeys are constantly evolving, as we are.

How do you prioritize your mental health with your fitness regimen?

It's become easier with my running because I now use that time to think and check in with myself. It's like my diary session with the road.

This helps clear my mind and it helps me make sense of my life. Running has saved my life because it has shaped my positive perspective on myself and the world around me.

How would you define wellness?

Wellness is an aspect of health that encapsulates all aspects of well-being.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to live a more healthy and mindful lifestyle?

I'd say ask questions about how you can become the best version of yourself and that usually starts with being healthy and mindful.

Have an open mind to learning, set goals for yourself and figure out what you enjoy and what resonates with you and your journey.

What are three beauty products you swear by - and the best beauty advice you could give?

The vanilla lip scrub from MAC

The Youth Bouncy sleeping mask from The Body Shop

The Active Future Serum from the Dr Schrammek range.

Beauty advice : Work with what you've got.

What is something people may not know about you?

That I'm obsessed with triathlons and currently doing some training for that.

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