Most people spend the winter hibernating, but not South African Radio DJ and Events MC, Poppy Ntshongwana, who completed 100 runs in 100 days during this time, to boost her personal life and professional career.
Ntshongwana believes in taking time out to incorporate an active lifestyle into her daily routine. With a demanding career in the entertainment industry, the seasoned media all-rounder says that she looks at her fitness journey as a springboard to every other aspect in her life.
Running has played a major role in Ntshongwana’s career as it has fueled her creativity, making her better at her job, and she finds herself in a happier space.
Over this past winter, Ntshongwana started an initial 30-day running challenge, eventually resulting with her completing 100 runs in 100 days, which she has used to de-stress and cope with the loss of her father and other family members over the Covid-19 period.
Although it was a tough challenge as she battled the bitter winter breeze, Ntshongwana mentally pushed through and has now set sights on completing an IronMan and Comrades Marathon race in future.
Speaking with Celine Abrahams, Ntshongwana shares her nutrition plan and fitness regimen, and reveals how to develop a fitness routine. If you are getting back to basics and need some inspiration, this one is for you!
Thank you for taking time out to share your fitness journey with us. Please tell us about your 100 runs in 100 days challenge and what made you do it.
I initially started my first 100 Day Challenge to destress and cope with the everything that was going on in my life at the time. It started out as just a 30-day challenge and then I got to 60 days, once I got to 60, I knew I could make it to 100 days.
I found that running every day helped me process life better and helped me make sense of so many things that I’d been through – like losing my father to cancer and losing other family members to COVID. I just needed 30 minutes a day and that made a world of difference to my life experience and my POV (point of view) on the world and my personal trials and tribulations.
What was the most challenging part of the challenge?
Running in winter this time around and for this specific challenge. I knew it would be difficult, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the mental gymnastics my brain did every day I had to run when it was cold. It felt a lot tougher having to mentally adjust to that.
What has inspired you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
I’ve always generally believed in being healthy and looking after my body, but this feels different because it’s a conscious and daily effort that I put into my body. The older I get the more I’m realizing that my body is changing and that I have to look after it. I’ve never really paid attention to the emotional and mental benefits of exercise, this is a challenge that just strengthens so many parts of me emotionally, physically and mentally – and I feel that’s what I need at this point in my life.
Please can you share what your nutrition plan and fitness regimen consists of.
My eating plan has plenty of vegetables and fruit, but I do love my pasta.
I try to keep it simple and easy because I don’t have time to cook elaborate meals, so I’m always making salads. I drink smoothies quite often and 4 liters of water a day. I eat at least three big meals a day and snack in between. I believe in fueling my body because I need it to be strong in order to exercise daily.
How do you manage to balance your demanding career in the entertainment industry and find time to focus on your fitness journey?
I try to look at my fitness journey as a springboard to everything else. My running fuels my creativity now and so I use it propel me forward in my career. I dedicate at least 30 minutes of my day to physical activity because I love being outside and my brain and body crave it now. I’m a better person when I exercise daily. I’m better at my job because I’m happier and coming from a place of emotional peace.
What advice would you give to women who find it challenging to incorporate fitness and a healthy regimen into their lives as they cope with their jobs and running a household?
I would say prioritize giving back to your body and mental health daily.
Before the day begins or even at the end of it, find 30 minutes for yourself and just move, breathe, reflect and process.
How does one develop a fitness routine?
Start with something you love or are interested in. Try just doing that for 30 minutes a day and build from there. Make small changes over time and document your gains/wins no matter how small they are. I also think we should enjoy the process of getting fit and healthy, so always have an element of fun in your process so you can immerse yourself in the experience.
Who are some women in the fitness industry that you admire and draw inspiration from?
I am obsessed with Hannah Bronfman and Melissa Alcantarra. Their fitness journeys are so different but so authentic and relatable.
Lastly, what are your future fitness goals?
I’ve got so many now because I feel like I am capable of doing anything after my 100 Days of Running. I do have to do at least one IronMan in my lifetime. I want to run through Africa one day and of course do and complete a Comrades Marathon.
Photo 1 Caption: South African Radio DJ and Events MC, Poppy Ntshongwana, believes in giving back to your body by taking time out to incorporate an active lifestyle into your daily routine. Photo: Supplied