Facing Fears: The Fitness Journey

by Jared

Keeping fit has been a constant struggle for me. I’ve learned that I simply don’t have the discipline to keep active. Having never played sports seriously in school, I didn’t learn the value of pushing myself physically, and so my best efforts over the years have been at best, sporadic and short-lived.

In May 2019 I decided to do something about it and linked up with Thomas Romburgh, a personal trainer and the man behind the brand fitness brand MVIT Living. Meeting Thomas for the first time I was struck by his fierce determination and professionalism. Seeing that I was a little daunted by the process (and perhaps a little intimidated by him for no reason other than my own insecurities) he was quick to flash his playful smile and reassure me everything would be all right.

My reasons for starting this fitness journey have been two-fold. Firstly, for years I’ve also wanting to gain a little muscle and to have some definition. Secondly, I’ve written before about my journey with mental health challenges. After experiencing burnout and a grand depressive episode, I know that keeping physically fit plays a vital role in also helping me keep mentally healthy. Studies show that for some people, regular exercise can work as well as antidepressants (read more here and here).

It’s now three months down the line and I couldn’t be more thankful for Thomas and the role he has played. I’ve gone from training/exercising twice a month to twice a week and I’m already noticing the results both physically and mentally. Here’s what I’m learning in the process:

 1. Accountability: Admitting I need help
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I need help and can’t do this alone. Having Thomas coach and support me has been pivotal. At some stage, I’ll be able to do it alone, but for now, I need the help. Being accountable has meant that I’ve been more active. There have been times when I’ve actually asked Thomas not to train me because I know that I wasn’t putting in the training time needed in-between our sessions. This added pressure meant that I pushed myself even harder, and then got myself back on track.

 2. Persistence: There are no quick fixes
In a world full of instant gratification I’ve had to be reminded that this is a long-term journey for me. Some weeks I haven’t had the motivation to train and have seen how it has cost me or set me back. Change doesn’t come easy, but ultimately the level of result is my choice.

 3. Confidence: Mind over matter
I’ve never had much confidence around my physique – particularly after years of being labeled ‘thin’ or skinny’ – and I’m aware that this comes as a surprise to some people. Thomas has watched me have to face some of these issues. Surprisingly the confidence boost has come more from my sense of pride around achieving what I have, rather than any physical change.

Thomas has been an absolute champion: always attentive to where I’ve been at, knowing how far to push me without going too far, ready to listen, and patient when I haven’t fulfilled my fitness requirements. In short, his passion and ability as a trainer have been the catalyst for the beginning of a personal transformation that I’m deeply grateful for.

You can find MVIT Living online here and here on Instagram. The website contains several great articles and advice around fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness, so even if you’re not Cape Town based, there is something for you. For those in the Mother City looking for a trainer, I’d say look no further.

* Cover image courtesy Uyapo Ketogetswe

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