Zvikomborero Tapiwa Manjengwa is making waves as a fitness coach, and has carved a niche in helping people fight weight problems. We sat down with her and she shared her story. Read on:
R&M: Talk us about yourself. You describe yourself as Gemologist, Health and Nutrition Life Coach; and Advanced Fitness how does that all work? Did you get professional training and education in all this?
ZM: My name is Zvikomborero Manjengwa, 31 years of age. I’m a Graduate Gemologist who studied polishing and grading diamonds and colored stones. Currently I’m working as a Health and Nutrition Life Coach because of my passion for fitness.
In 2018 I started training myself with the help of phone apps, YouTube videos, Instagram fitness influencers and internet articles.
After finding it difficult to acquire a job related to my area of study, in 2020 I found online courses offered by American institutions which focused on health and fitness.
That year I attained a Diploma in Nutrition, a Diploma in Advanced fitness and became a Certified Health and Nutrition Life Coach
R&M: What’s your target market, and what would you say is the biggest problem or issue right now?
ZM: My target market are people who struggle with weight loss and beginners who are willing to change their current lifestyle and start living healthier and fit. The biggest problem or challenge mostly is for one to follow a healthy balanced diet and also access to clients because I’m offering the service at the client’s home whilst not mobile.
R&M: As a professional, how have you tackled these demands? What are your plans, programmes and routines?
ZM: I would like to introduce meal preparation for my clients that will really help with changing eating habits since most people do know what to eat but struggle making food which was once uncommon to them.
I would be working with each person, understanding their needs, health issues and choosing the best food they can eat which is accessible to them.
Because my client base is still small, (started mid-February) as I expand I’m looking to set up a gym in my shed at home so that I can be able to attend to more people who would like my services.
Also planning on gaining access to a motor vehicle for some clients who are unable to visit the shed gym.
ZM: My assessment is that eating and living well is quite doable and affordable. Like I explained, my meal plans are chosen to suit a person’s lifestyle, health issues and pocket. It is not a specific diet but rather a way of living with food choices readily available to them and adding more which they can afford.
For example in weightloss I urge people to cut down on fat, sugar and carbohydrates (sadza, rice, pasta) which automatically means one will eat less. An ordinary meal plan for the day I would recommend includes cereal then eggs in the morning. A plain salad or with meat in the afternoon, then a very small portion of carbs, more veges and meat in the evening.
Also +2L of water should be taken throughout the day. Fruit, peanuts or greek youghurt as a snack whenever one would feel hungry.
Meal preparation allows one to make meals for several days and keep them fresh in the refrigerator. This comes in handy for people with busy lifestyles, depending with the food only heating may be required.
R&M: How can people overcome setbacks and excuses for living unhealthy lifestyles? I also want you to specifically address the fact that people tend to have certain ideals of healthy eating or a perfect body that it may discourage them if they feel that they are far from attaining the Utopian view, shape or size. What can we all do, despite our various conditions?
ZM: Setbacks and excuses can be overcome when one has discipline. It is a choice one makes to keep being consistent and not fall back into unhealthy lifestyles.
Like everything else, living a healthy lifestyle is a journey and it takes one to experience it so that you find what works for you.
Just like any habit it may take time adjusting and sticking to it.
We all have different shapes and body types mostly because of our genes and environment. Your body is meant to look a specific shape naturally unless you alter it in an artificial way. Attaining the Utopian shape or size will not determine how healthy you are as it might be pleasing to the eye. We use height, weight and age to determine body mass index, it is always advisable to stay within the healthy range of 18.5 – 24.9. That range is used to guide us where any healthy body type is.
What we can do firstly is to accept that we are all different and certain things will naturally remain as is.
The other thing we can do is learning how to make different types of healthier food options. Any plate is meant to be enjoyed so it must be cooked well to suit the person. There are so many inexpensive recipes on the internet that one can try to make the meal more interesting.
I hear people comparing healthy meals to rabbit food, haha as much as we love to eat healthy, and have a lot of greens, there are a lot of low calorie meals one can try.
R&M: Maybe to take you back. Why is there a disconnect between how people ought to live and how we actually lead our lives, considering we have all the information now; even schools teach physical education?
ZM: There is a disconnect because starting a habit and applying the information into our daily lives is a challenge for a lot of people.
For example that’s why we trainers are there to assist with good choices, discipline and consistency.
Other people may not see health and fitness as an important aspect in their lives until the doctor requires them, mostly due to illness.
It seems some humans need a reason or drive in order to do something and if it doesn’t exist, then they’re likely to stay the same way in their comfort zone.
In Primary School, physical education (PE) is mandatory all throughout the year but as we move to High School, participating in any sporting activities is a choice. That’s the other reason why so many of us will get left off and think it’s unnecessary as we get older whilst focusing more on academia.
There should always be consistent learning in schools and communities about good health and fitness benefits for everyone and people around them.
R&M: Tell us about the business. How is the market for coaches like yourself? From a purely economic perspective, is the industry rewarding?
ZM: I recently started offering services in this industry. This is the third month and I can say indeed there is a market for is coaches since most people are now more aware of what they eat and the need to stay fit.
Women are mostly the target market, wanting to reduce weight because of age, hormonal birth control and post pregnancy weight.
I would like to believe the industry can be very rewarding when clients see results. Word of mouth plays an important role in the industry as new people are usually referred by previous or current clients.
One can be able to live a substantial life whilst training clients as a full-time job.
Apart from the economic perspective it will bring me unexplainable joy when clients meet goals and choose to continue with the lifestyle.
R&M: Can you reflect on your journey and the position in the market now. How has been your journey and what do you think it will take to reach to the top?
R&M: Eating and living well, can be seen as quite expensive, demanding or taxing especially with busy lifestyles. What is your assessment of this scenario?
ZM: My journey has been wonderful, mostly ups than downs. Starting by myself and having to figure most of it out made the passion grow.
As a mother it really inspired me to dwell more into this industry because I would understand the reasons why other women want to start a consistent exercise regimen.
For three years I trained myself, trying a lot of things from lifting weights, running, HIIT and yoga. Even went as far as learning to play new sports which are basketball, tennis and golf. Each day I keep learning new things and now as I’m training others there is so much to understand about how different our bodies are.
Because I allow myself to keep learning each day, the journey always has something new and interesting to look forward to.
As much as I would like to bring big influence on mostly women fitness in Zimbabwe, for me reaching the top will involve training as much people as I possibly can and them attaining or even surpassing their goals.
It also involves them also changing the lives of people around them through healthy eating habits and exercise.
The appreciation that comes when a person takes the first step of their journey and all the effort made each day is something I always look forward to in my job.
From training myself the past three years I have learnt that doing your best always gets you to the top and that’s the service I intend on delivering to my clients.
R&M: Do you have inspirations or models that you look up to in the industry?
ZM: Yes I have people that inspire me. Eve from Eve’s Wellness Botique is doing so much in the industry and for herself. I’m currently following her triathlon journey and maybe one day I will be able to reach that far as an individual. There is also Jonga Gina, the best female body builder in Zimbabwe and Monalisa Sibanda who is representing us local women on the boxing arena. On Instagram I follow Noelle Benepe and Ms. Sweendog whose workouts I have applied and seen great results.
Initially my goal was to be a fitness model and inspire all women out there that it is possible to be confident, to look, feel how you want and be the best version of oneself.
There is so much to do and explore, but it would be wonderful getting the opportunity to model for a sports brand.