Meet the Fashion Stylist-Turned-Gym Owner Who Is Changing the SA Fitness Industry

30, director of Primal Gym

Zanalee Davies was working as a fashion stylist and coordinator before she discovered martial arts and functional training. Soon, she was hooked. At the time, this type of training wasn’t very well known in South Africa, so she honed her skills with strength and conditioning courses before opening Primal Gym in Johannesburg, with her husband, Ryan, a mixed martial arts expert. Primal Gym specialises in offering a lifestyle that brings a community of like-minded individuals together, through combat, movement and strength training. Primalgym.co.za

On starting a business…

I have always worked for myself. I think it suits my personality, as I could never work in a corporate job. I enjoy the fact that, as an entrepreneur, every day is different, and you get to meet so many amazing and interesting people every day.

On challenges…

Having two kids in the space of four years, and trying to keep up a physical job that requires you to work odd hours, has definitely brought its own challenges. But slowly, as my kids are growing up, I am learning to take one day at a time and to put less pressure on myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

On initial fears…

Not having any guarantee that you will be successful, and concern that people might not be interested in what you have to offer- although now I can proudly say that we have brought together a community of amazing people and built a business that we are proud of.

On what women entrepreneurs need more of…

A better support system for women who are trying to be mothers and career women. It’s not an easy task juggling both.

On being an entrepreneur in SA…

There is always room to evolve, especially in South Africa ,where entrepreneurs have a lot of opportunity to be creative and unique with their business ventures.

On misconceptions of entrepreneurship…

That you have so much free time on your hands and that it’s an easier way of life. The reality is that we barely take holidays as we can’t just close the gym. Your business basically consumes your life, especially in the fitness industry, as you are always thinking about training or work the following day. Your social life is your career.

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