Mapule Ndhlovu’s abs are out of this world. So are her legs and biceps. Seriously, this girl is toned AF. So it makes total sense that Adidas has tapped Ndhlovu, 26, for its latest campaign – and it’s pretty obvious why she’s our latest fitness crush.
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Based in Jo’burg, Ndhlovu is a personal trainer with 38 700 followers on IG (and counting). Her Insta feed is filled with inspiring images of her incredible physique, as well quick how-to videos tracking her workouts.
When we got a chance to chat to Ndhlovu up close and personal, we dove straight in to find out her tone-up tips.
Exercise keeps her sane
As for most of us, for her working up a sweat is a great antidote to everyday stress. ‘Running was an emotional release to get away from reality,’ she explains. She was spotted doing aerobic work at the gym by The Institute of Fitness Professionals (IFP) – it was the fitness-world equivalent of being scouted by a modelling agency. ‘They offered me a scholarship to do exercise science. I didn’t choose fitness, it chose me!’
The most effective workouts are often the simplest
With her abs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Ndhlovu has a complex (and expensive) workout regimen. But in truth, simple but consistent exercises are key. ‘Most of the time I do a 30-minute run or work on my legs, and then some simple core exercise that work my abs,’ she says. ‘Try this easy crunch combo, which you can do at home: bicycle crunches, then normal crunches, then mountain climbers.’ Try to do a minute or so of each, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat three times.
Not sure about all those crunches? This one exercise works a whole lot of muscles
‘Functional training allows you to train more than one muscle group in one exercise, which makes it an efficient way to tone up,’ says the fitness star. ‘I love burpees – they work your arms, legs and core, and if you set yourself a goal of how many you can do in one minute, you can push yourself to increase your performance each day.’
When you’re unfit and just starting out, little by little is key
‘I know what it feels like when you haven’t run before, or properly worked out before,’ says Ndhlovu. ‘But keep it easy and attainable because the trick is to exercise in a way that prevents you from giving up. Start by running short distances, interspersed with fast walking when you’re tired. Each week, try to push yourself to do just a minute more of running, or go an extra kilometre. You’ll build up fitness without getting discouraged. Finding a running partner also helps – it offers great motivation for you to improve.’