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Category : health & fitness

120 Days of Awesome! Be You. Do You. For You.

Our birthdays mark the beginning of a new cycle.

We need to prepare in advance for these rebirths so that we enter our individual new year in the right shape of mind and the body we desire to live in.

I am today, 120 days away from 32 (amazeballs!).

So… I am going to use this time as a focused period of bettering myself, nurturing positive habits, uprooting the unnecessary etc. I am polishing myself to be the best version of me!

Wellness is not a diet. It’s not something you start and stick to for a few weeks/months. It’s a lifelong commitment.

So after the 120 days, it is not over. Goalposts and timelines just help us to enforce our strategies and turn them into habits.


The aim is to live fully in the present, so that we are not looking at ‘best me’ as something that is coming later. It is something we are in every moment.

To succeed, you need to know how you intend on nurturing your best you – a plan! So I have outlined a broad outline for myself and I am sharing it with you.

I am focusing on the process more than the results to increase my chances of success.





Shed excess body fat & build lean muscle





Train 4 – 6 times a week


  • weights
  • running
  • martial arts
  • spinning
  • yoga


Eat clean


  • lean protein
  • vegetables
  • good carbs
  • lotsa water
  • limit alcohol
  • no fizzy & sugary drinks
  • allow one ‘treat’ a week






Peace, Bliss, Centredness




  • Meditate daily (ukuphahla is also meditation!)
  • Read soul-feeding literature(eg. Return to Love by Marianne Williamson)
  • Freewrite & journal at least 3x week
  • Reiki
  • Play with children
  • Spend more time outdoors
  • Think positive thoughts!






Make great art!




  • Work on the craft daily, not just for jobs
  • Watch great cinema
  • Read great books
  • Expand good music library
  • Daily acting and voice exercises
  • Work on my own scripts weekly
  • Continue schooling myself on filmmaking weekly

(online articles, books, short courses etc)

  • Regularly shoot visual art for the sake of creating


Because sharing our goals publicly helps us stick to them, I will  be posting weekly updates on the journey over the next four months.


If you have any personal goals that you would like to share with me, please do post in the comments section below, or on the Ngonyama Force Facebook page.


Thank you for travelling this journey with me!

12 Reasons You Should Start Lifting Weights Today!

vnQIRH3Just because you’re not vying for 20-inch biceps or thunderously strong thighs like the muscle heads in the gym doesn’t mean you should shun the weight room. Lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease, and cancer—and it’s also the single most effective way to look hot in a bikini. Yet somehow women are still hesitant: Only about a fifth of females strength train two or more times a week.

Here are 12 reasons you shouldn’t live another day without hitting the weights

You’ll Lose 40 Percent More Fat
If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: When Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups—no exercise, aerobic exercise only, or aerobic exercise and weight training—they all lost around 21 pounds, but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron. Why? The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.

Other research on dieters who don’t lift shows that, on average, 75 percent of their weight loss is from fat, while 25 percent is from muscle. Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn’t improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost. However, if you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

Your Clothes Will Fit Better 
Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you’ll likely lose 10 percent of your body’s total muscle. Worse yet, it’s likely to be replaced by fat over time, says a study. And that increases your waist size, because one pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space than one pound of muscle.

You’ll Burn More Calories
Lifting increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch. That’s because after each strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibers. In fact, researchers found that when people did a total-body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward. They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn’t lift.

Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: Doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories. That’s about what you’d burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.

Your Diet Will Improve
Exercise helps your brain stick to a diet plan. University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults and found that those who didn’t follow a three-hours-a-week training regimen ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day. The reverse was also true—sneaking snacks sabotaged their workouts. The study authors say both diet and exercise likely remind you to stay on track, aiding your weight-loss goals.

You’ll Handle Stress Better
Break a sweat in the weight room and you’ll stay cool under pressure. Scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit. Another study found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.

You’ll Be Happier
Yoga isn’t the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise. Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall mood.

You’ll Build Stronger Bones
As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture. The good news: A study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin—a marker of bone growth–by 19 percent.

You’ll Get Into Shape Faster
The term cardio shouldn’t describe only aerobic exercise: A study found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate. This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise—so you save time without sacrificing results.

Your Heart Will Be Healthier
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40 percent and the chance of a heart attack by 15 percent.

You’ll Be Way More Productive
Lifting could result in a raise (or at least a pat on the back from your boss). Researchers found that workers were 15 percent more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn’t. So on days you work out, you can (theoretically) finish in eight hours what would normally take nine hours and 12 minutes. Or you’d still work for nine hours but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job–another perk reported on days workers exercised.

You’ll Live Longer
University of South Carolina researchers determined that total-body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Similarly, other scientists found that being strong during middle age is associated with “exceptional survival,” defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease.

You’ll Be Even Smarter
Muscles strengthen your body and mind: Brazilian researchers found that six months of resistance training enhanced lifters’ cognitive function. In fact, the sweat sessions resulted in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning, and a longer attention span.

Article by Adam Cambell, Feb 4 2014


Commitment to Growth Even When It’s Tough AF

by Thishiwe Ziqubu

New moon. New cycle. Another opportunity to grow.

Fierce August. My goal is to much more meaningfully and practically choose love, love of self, kindness to the self, stillness, awareness, discipline as well as movement and practices that attend to the needs of body, mind and soul. Even when it’s scary AF.

IMG_3090August is my birth month but for the past few years it has not profoundly been a month of celebration but pain as it is the month wherein I lost my mother. Also, as some sort of sick trend, I generally find myself suffering a similar type of work overload and burnout around this time of year. Even when I think I’m working on managing myself, my habits and my time better, I still find this time of year to be highly stressful. I tend to deplete my energy resources to an unhealthy point.

Not this Fierce August.

In the words of a popular musician, not sure who, ‘let’s just be real, let’s just be honest’ … It’s been a rough time due to health issues and career burnout. It has been a dark week where I also found myself losing out on a much-desired career opportunity that I was heavily invested in because I was physically and emotionally not well enough. Henceforth, I have not been able to move through life as fluidly as I would like to while dealing with these untimely demons. (more…)

Enter the #NgonyamaFierce Giveaway and win 1 of 3 PUMA Fierce Trainers

Challenge Details

  1.  Sign up for Fierce August
  2. Like the Ngonyama Force Facebook Page & post your personal goals for Fierce August to the page
  3. Watch and do the Ngonyama Force Workout Series 1 (eg. You may choose to just do the tricep dips, or the sit-out to bear crawl…etc. Challenge yourself!)
  4. Upload a vid of you performing any segment of Ngonyama Force Workout Series 1 anytime between now and latest 10 August 2016.

Three lucky winners will win a pair of Puma Fierce trainers valued at R1699! Winners will be announced on the 15th of August 2016.

Watch the Ngonyama Force video here:

Join the #FierceAugust Challenge


The goal is permanent, positive and sustainable lifestyle changes that improve the quality of your life. Use this month of August to launch, revive or continue your endeavors in this regard by committing to a period of discipline. If you can do it for 31 days, you can do it for life!

There is no better time than now to be and build the ‘you’ you essentially are and want to be!

Sign up here:

Warriors and sages of all cultures take a period of fasting and reflection. These usually entail less indulgent eating and drinking, and more physical training. These habits then serve the warrior mentally and spiritually for her or his ‘slayage’.

So let’s take a month, warrior-style, to prep ourselves to: DO BEST! If not, why not?


You have to be consistent in your efforts at wellness, all year around. Waiting until spring to try and – as Bob Marley put it – ‘wake up and live’ is too little too late. You have to do it now. For your entire living experience. And so that yes, on Spring Day, you’re that confident motherwhat who just shed off the unwanted weight and the unwanted emotional baggage while nobody was looking. Eat that!

Here is a very basic programme that can help us towards these aspirations. But this is adjustable according to where you are, to your goals and of course nutritional needs and fitness levels. Do consult a professional health practitioner!

If your goal is fat loss, measure yourself on Day 1. Then again on Day 31. Tell me nothing happened. But fat loss will be the least of the benefits! Improved energy, health, mood, esteem, productivity – we’re after all of that!


The blueprint is simple. Three basic principles:

Eat Clean. Train Mean. Self-Reflect.


  • Eat whole foods
  • No sugar ie. don’t add sugar to anything and don’t consume products with sugar like tomato sauce, most dressings and spreads, desserts, juices etc.
  • No/very little intake of alcohol, if you must, max 1 glass of red wine a week. No bingeing! (ie. more than 3 drinks)
  • Lean meats, mainly fish, chicken and ostrich
  • No refined carbs eg. no pap, white pasta, white bread, white rice etc. Enjoy oats, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, sweet potato, rye bread etc.
  • Eat mostly vegetables, fish and chicken
  • No fizzy drinks or fruit juices, just water. Infuse with cucumber slices, lemon, ginger and/or mint leaves for taste
  • Don’t overdo the dairy
  • No junk food, pastries or sweets but if you must, allow yourself max one treat food a week within your daily calorie goal, whether your goals are gaining, maintaining or fat loss.

Calculate your daily calories requirement here:


Exceptions to every rule. If you can make your own rye protein muffins, go right in. But we’re more likely to go for store-bought cakes made of mostly sugar and white flour. I prefer to stay away from the stuff altogether.  If you can have the discipline to have two squares of 70% dark chocolate, indulge, but, again, what are chances?

Tap into your immense storehouses of self-control to stay away from things that are not good for you. Proving to yourself that you can honor your nutritional decisions does immense things for your powers of self-assertion in every aspect of your life.


 Exercise regularly

  • Push yourself, depending on your fitness level and health. Some it’s 5-6 training sessions a week, some, 3-4. For some walking or a light jog is already a step up, some require a much greater challenge.
  • Alternate cardio and weight training days eg. Run today, lift weights on your next session – WOMEN MUST LIFT! Start light and increase the challenge week by week.
  • Journal every day. It’s not ‘Dear Diary’. Once a day, give a moment to reflect on where you are with respect to where you want to be. Write a thought, an idea, a goal and how you plan to achieve it. Or write a feeling, or an observation on the world around you.
  • Keep a fitness diary with all your fitness goals and timelines for achieving them. Plan meals ahead and record everything you eat and drink. Plan your workouts ahead. Count calories and stick to it, whatever your goal may be, for some it’s eating less, some more.
  • Do yoga. It’s good for the body, mind and soul.
  • Be still for one moment every day. Even if it’s one minute. If it’s meditation or breathing with awareness or nothing, just be still. There’s enough chaos in our days.



  • Eat clean
  • Train mean
  • Self-Reflect

Don’t push yourself to do something you know you won’t stick to, but do challenge yourself.  Make small, significant changes.

Use this timeline and outline or create your own. Make it yours. You know what you need.


If you overindulge in cake or have a few cocktails too many, move on. Make your next resolve. Life is too short to beat ourselves up. Just keep moving.


Fierce August is not a diet. It’s about taking a moment to pay attention to ourselves intimately. The idea is to live a life always that’s full and satisfying and healthy and complete, all day every day.

Set this one goal for yourself and you will feel lighter, more awesome and slaying harder than you were before.



Download the #PhlyJuly Eating Plan

Download the #PhlyJuly Eating Plan Here

As with any eating plan, use these menu suggestions according to your personal health requirements and specific dietary needs. This serves as a guide which is not intended as medical advice and does not serve as a substitute for medical counseling by a physician or dietitian.

Join the #PHLYJULY Challenge

Here’s the deal. Join Ngonyama Force and pledge to be part of #PhlyJuly. You’re aiming to slay in some type of way – you want to reach certain career goals, or lose fat, or have more vital energy etc.

There is no better time than now to be and build the ‘you’ you essentially are and want to be!


Ever seen a Van Damme movie? Warriors and sages of all cultures take a period of fasting and reflection. These usually entail less indulgent eating and drinking, and more physical training. These habits then serve the warrior mentally and spiritually for her or his ‘slayage’.   (more…)

Acing your Personal Game

By thishiwe ziqubu

There is not one person that has fully achieved every single possible thing in their journey of self-improvement. We’re all trying to better ourselves somehow.NFWS1 Thishiwe

• how we spend our time
• how we relate with family, friends, lovers and others
• how we see ourselves
• how we treat our minds, bodies and souls
• how or where we work
• how much money we make
• how we spend
• how we eat and drink

Etcetera, etcetera.

Be it as ‘big’ as getting off drugs or as ‘small’ as spending less time vegetating on the couch, all efforts at change are necessary, laudable and challenging. (more…)

Sweating for happiness

By Sphelele Skhakhane

Healthy Lifestyle thishiwe ziqubuThe Oxford dictionary defines success as an accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Now, how can one disagree with the very same dictionary that brought us the definition of ‘bootylicious’? In my life, success has been a goal I’ve always wanted to attain in work, sport and play. Success is defined by you and only you. No-one else can do that for you.

Appreciating (and surviving) your family

By Sphelele Sikhakhane

As they say, we don’t choose our family, they are given to us. Blessing to some and not so much to others but that’s a debate for another day.

Being an athlete is a choice that you make. Yes, we are given the talent but it is our decision whether we use the talent or not. For those us who chose to use that talent and follow our dreams, we have had to make an enormous amount of sacrifices to better ourselves.

I am an athlete and a physiotherapist for the basketball team, the Duzi Royals (shameless plug, yes!). The biggest sacrifice I’ve had to make is time away from home and away from family. Family is our backbone, in whatever we do. Countless hours spent training means time away from family. Family takes a backseat so that you can perfect your craft and become amazing. (more…)