Meet Tawanda Tadzimirwa. a Zimbabwean living in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tawanda completed his tertiary at the University of the Witwaterstrand (WITS) – a Bcom majoring in Economics and Business finance plus juggling his internship in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).
However he went through a slump in 2017 which saw him move backwards in various aspects of my life – including fitness. December 2017 Tawanda made the choice to find his way back onto his path and started a turnaround in January 2018 (driven by his fitness Journey – which he termed “The #RoadtoSummer18”). 2018 turned out to be one of the best years of his life and a fantastic launchpad for the future. He turned his life around in all areas – which is best demonstrated by going from out of shape, unfit and unhappy in January 2018 to being selected to be on the cover of the biggest men’s lifestyle magazine in South Africa – Mens Health South Africa – in December 2018.
The journey and year reignited his hunger to be the best that he can be – and 2019 is already shaping up to be another fantastic year in the pursuit of
Check out my exclusive interview with him below:
Hey Tawanda! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi readers! My name is Tawanda Tadzimirwa and I’m a sports and fitness enthusiast in my late 20’s residing in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
Normally get up pretty early to be in the gym around 05h30, where I’ll have a session lasting about an hour and 15 mins consisting of both cardio (about 20 minutes) and weights training.
What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?
I studied and completed both my undergrad and postgrad degrees at the University of the Witwaterstrand in Johannesburg. I studied a Bcom majoring in Economics and Corporate Finance, following which I did my honours degree in Corporate finance and investments. However, after Varsity my interests drifted towards Enterprise risk management.
Where did your enthusiasm for fitness stem from?
From before I can remember, I have always been drawn to sports and general physical activities. I’ve just always been grateful for and fascinated by the things my body is able to – especially when in competitive situations.
You went through a slump in 2017 which saw you move backwards in various aspects of your life including fitness. What will you say motivated/inspired you to find your way back and start your turnaround?
2017 was easily worst and most trying year of my life – and at the centre of it, was the only 8 (or so) month period I had gone through since 2008 without actively managing my health and fitness. The effects were apparent to all. I was sluggish mentally; physically; creatively; even financially. I could not continue to live like that and made the decision to link the turn of the year to a turn in my fortunes, founded on a change in mindset, which was to be fueled by fitness (including gymming, fitness, DIET, health and general wellness).
You went from being out of shape, unfit and unhappy in January 2018 to being selected to be on the cover of the biggest men’s lifestyle magazine in South Africa “Men’s Health South Africa” in December 2018. How did that make you feel?
Any time that an institution like Men’s Health recognises and puts their stamp of approval on what you’ve been able to achieve with your fitness and general wellness, it’s spurs nothing short of absolute pride, contentment and affirmation in your journey and the work that you’ve put in.
How will you rate the fitness industry in South Africa and do you feel it’s doing well in keeping South Africans fit?
I believe the fitness industry in South Africa is yet in infancy. I say this because I take the forward view that fitness will yet become a far more prominent social norm in decades to come as the snowball effect of “fitfluence”, which has truly started to take a foothold over the past 5 years, starts to take shape.
Looking at your photos from 2008 till now, there as been massive transformation and improvements. Share with our readers some of the obstacles you encountered along the way and how he overcame them?
Aside from the slump, the journey back to a version of myself that I was happy with wasn’t exactly a piece of cake. The most important thing I learned was to truly understand the extent of the phrase: “Don’t ever play yourself”. At the core of the statement, what we can take away is that while wavering from your commitment to change may seem like you’re pulling the wool over someone else eyes, the fact is this: If you fail to achieve your goal – no one cares. The only person affected by your lack of dedication to understanding your body and journey is you.
As a fitness enthusiast, what will you say are your 5 Dos and Don’t when it comes to fitness and health?
- Count and stick to your Macros
- Eat for your goal and not for where you are
- Do weight training
- Do your cardio
- Do your research and gain understanding of how your body reacts to different inputs.
- Buy a product just because everyone else is doing it
- Overdo the cardio
- Use bad form during weight training – you will get hurt
- Skip a Monday
- Forget to rest. Take a week off every 8 weeks.
Do you think we are taking our health and wellbeing seriously?
I think health is far bigger than just fitness, and I do think that we are more aware of how we are affected by some of the things we do to and put into our bodies. I think we (myself included) could do more with the information that we have to manage our health and wellbeing.
Talking about fitness, how many times do you go to the gym to workout?
I hit the gym 6 times a week. 5 normal sessions and 1 40 odd minute HIIT training session on Sundays.
For someone trying to start out eating healthy, what meal plans will you recommend?
Ones which don’t involve you going too hard too fast. I believe the best way to get into it is to start by pulling out the more excessively bad foods and auxiliaries such as processed sugar heavy items.
How do you balance your professional and personal life?
Just understanding the importance of each to my total wellbeing. I value the outputs from both sides, which makes it easy to not want to slip up in either department.
I noticed you are a big sports fan, what teams and players do you support/follow?
Greatest football club in the world, Manchester United.
What do you consider the most common public stereotype about the fitness trainers?
Has to be either: No brains or; steroid users.
What aspect surprised you the most once you started as a fitness model?
The feedback I get, even from people that I don’t know, about the inspiration which people say they draw from me and my journey. Overwhelming. Lights a fire to keep the engine going”
Looking back to when you started, will there be anything you would like to change?
I would stick to my Macros better. And rest my body more often.
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
Do you think its important to be active on social media and if so why?
Not important if you’re not doing it for a reason. Awareness, inspiration, business and information are important reasons to be active. But if you’re just doing it for yourself, I wouldn’t really stress about it. If you want to be, then go for it. If not, then don’t be. However, I do believe the world is generally tending towards placing a higher level of value in being “find-able” on social media.
You are a Zimbabwean living in Johannesburg, South Africa, how as your host country been working out for you?
Yeah, really well so far. Really can’t complain. It’s all I’ve ever really known and I have been, for the most part, treated as a child of the land in as much as my South African peers.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
Brazil, Columbia, Kenya, The Caribbean, Manchester (take a guess why) and Singapore (for the F1 Grand Prix).
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
- Body composition
- Overall presentation
- Accessories complimenting the clothes
How would you describe your style?
Pretty laid back – I think my look generally highlights the work I do in the gym and kitchen.
What style genre appeals to you the most?
Name your five must have accessories/essentials?
- A smartphone
- Bluetooth headsets
- Google home smart speaker
- A nice watch
- Clean set of kicks.
What are your favourite fashion trends?
Probably the Poloneck and coat looks in winter.
What is your favourite dish?
What songs are currently on your music playlist?
- Orions Belt – Sabrina Claudio
- Finally – Thabsie
- Steal – Maribou State
- Raminez la coupe a la maison
- Amantombazane – Ndu and TPC
- Codiene Dreaming – Kodak Black
- Sicko Mode – Travis Scott
- Dangote – Burna Boy
- Sade – Starboy
Apart from modelling, fitness, business, what other projects are you currently working on?
Expanding my Enterprise Risk Management firm.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
If you don’t start, you can never hope to experience the journey to your dreams. And if you give up at your first or even 20th bad day, you will never achieve your goal.
Any specific plans for the future?
Don’t like to talk to about things before they happen but you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of me.
Any final words?
You can either have excuses or you can have results – never both. How you do something is how you do everything. If you teach yourself to put in 100%, it will become become your modus operandi. Equally, the same effect shall occur if you’re always giving up. Go get your goals.
Where can we follow you online and on social media?
Give me a follow on my twitter and Instagram: @Tawanda_Nate