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21-Day Lockdown: Simple Ways of Staying Fit While In Quarantine

By:  Blacklight writer & Amos “Mandla” Nhleko.


Its day two since South Africa went on a 21-day lockdown, in efforts to manage and curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.


Read More: Covid-19 Symptoms


The reported positive cases in the country are currently over 1 100, and one confirmed death.


Citizens are urged to follow the Covid-19 prevention health regulations – which include social distancing, washing hands with soap and using a sanitizer.


The 21-day national lockdown has forced many gyms goers, fitness enthusiasts and athletes to resort to working out from home and maintaining “social distancing”.


Mandla Nhleko says the Covid-19 lockdown has deeply affected the fitness industry, both financially and psychologically.


He explains that for some gym serves as an alternative method to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, and [improved] moods.

Fitness trainer, Amos “Mandla” Nhleko (Image Supplied)

The trainer has now resorted to practising only online. “Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp have proven to be quite effective,” he says.


“However, the lockdown will have a bigger impact on our businesses since face to face consultations are crucial in our field, and also taking into consideration that some clients may have limited access to internet and fitness equipment.”


The trainer shares that there are many ways to make working-out fun and effective while staying home and maintaining “social distancing”.


“People must find ways to keep moving within the confines of their homes,” explains Nhleko. “There are so many physical activities that can be performed wherever people are stationed – they just have to be spontaneous.


“For an example, you can do physical activities, like sports (soccer, basketball, netball, body weight exercises etc.) with your loved ones or domestic chores.


He continues: “People can also look for fitness motivation online or on Television. Many fitness trainers have started doing live workout sessions on Instagram and Facebook.


“So you can follow trainers that inspire you, and plug into a community people also exercising while in quarantine. That can be a great source of motivation and social connection.”


Nhleko has a YouTube channel where he posts some of his favourite workouts.


He shares a wide variety of simple but effective workouts that people can practise wherever they are.


Watch: Full body work-out while in quarantine.

Examples of simple exercises that he says you can practise while in isolation:


He calls this workout, the “21DL Workout”.


21 reps 5 sets of each exercise
Jump squats 21 reps
Push-ups 21 reps
Mountain Climbers 21 reps
Dips 21 reps
Jump lunges 21 reps per leg
Plank 45 seconds
Burpees 21 reps


“If you don’t have the luxury of owning expensive exercising machines, like a treadmill, stationery-bike (indoor-cycling) or chest press machine, find some household props or affordable home exercising pieces.


“You can use a flat bench, body weight, stability ball, dumbbells, kettlebells, yoga mat/exercise mat, cones, skipping rope etc.


“(In the coming days, I will also post various dumbbells and body weight exercises that you can practise at home.)


“If you don’t have access to dumbbells, get two 5 litre bottles and fill them with water, and use them as your weights.


Nhleko warns that it’s crucial to apply the proper and technique while working out from home.


*Technique is the way you perform an exercise in order target specific muscle groups.


*Form is injury prevention while exercising [from home.]


*If you are unsure about form and technique you can contact Nhleko on Instagram @365functionaltraining.


Even though he believes that you can be spontaneous with your exercises, Nhleko says that it’s also imperative to maintain or adopt a healthy diet.


“Avoid junk food and binging during this period,” he warns. “A strong immune system is key now, so it’s important to look out for foods that boost your immune.


“To avoid muscle loss, try a supplement called Amino Armour, Vitapack for minerals, and consume foods high in protein and Vitamin C.


“Foods rich in vitamin C, include broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.”


Nhleko reaffirms that people should stay creative and active by all means during this phase. He says atleast 30 minutes of movement should be sufficient.


It’s important to remember that working-out has lot of benefits, and also helps release endorphins which relieve stress, anxiety and pain.”


Amos “Mandla” Nhleko specialises in strength and conditioning for sports specific training, functional training, weight loss, lean muscle development, agility, speed and quickness training, HIIT training (High-intensity interval training) and sports massage.

Simple ways of maintaining your fitness regimen over the holidays

Compiled by: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti

This is the time when many people are on holiday, traveling and turning-up, and often neglecting their health and fitness routine, which can lead to excessive weight gain.


But personal trainer, Amos Mandla Nhleko, is here to illustrate how you can enjoy the summer break without completely breaking your fitness routine.


With over 10 000 followers on Instagram, Mandla is one of the most followed and respected fitness experts in South Africa. He is a qualified personal trainer, functional training specialist and a lecturer at HFPA Fitness Academy.


He believes that people often stray from the healthy lifestyle during the holidays due to poor planning.


“During the holidays our moods changes to a more relaxed mode. However this doesn’t mean that we must neglect our fitness commitment.


“Consistency is always key – if you were training five times a week, it doesn’t mean stop exercising rather lessen the number of training days to three,” he explains.


Amos Mandla Nhleko (Image supplied)

As a personal trainer, Mandla specialises in strength and conditioning for sports specific training, functional training, weight loss, lean muscle development, agility, speed and quickness training, HIIT training (High-intensity interval training) and sports massage. He breaks down the simple ways to ensure you stay fit and healthy this festive season:


What I advise my clients during the festive season

They need to be 110% committed to whatever goal or goals they set for themselves and be realistic about them – they have to be S.M.A.R.T about their goal-setting (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely). 


I also inform them that we need to work as a team, that way I know the training programme I prescribe them will work and it will be in-line with their goals.


I also take before pictures to track progress and assessment. The assessment also includes fitness and strength testing, body fat, centimetres and weight.


I also advise them that all goals are driven by nutrition, so the correct nutrients are key in achieving their goals.



Hashtag #summerbody – is it realistic goal?
When God created us, he gave us a powerful and functional body that helps us to face our daily challenges and activities, in return we need to nurture it by feeding it healthy nutrients, make it move more by performing various training methods, and improve its mental fitness by feeding it positive thoughts.


Our bodies are not seasonal machines, so the #summerbody is not a realistic goal if we are going to over indulge by eating junk food everyday and excessively drinking alcohol, while expecting to have a lean, healthy and toned body in a short period of time.


The dangers of subscribing to the #summerbody trend
By subscribing to this approach, you’re subscribing yourself to failure because in most cases those people are expecting miracles and quick fixes.


They usually try each and every diet plan or eating plan that they can lay their hands on and this can lead to negative results and can also harm their body if they are not careful.


I personally subscribe to #365functionaltraining #borntomove #healthylifestyle. We have 365 days in a year and our bodies need to be functional throughout the year in order to face daily activities, and the more we move the better.


We must focus our energies on living a healthy lifestyle and do some things in moderation, like alcohol and cheat meals.


Over-indulging during the festive season
We need to remember that the festive season is short, and since we have been working hard throughout the year, we deserve some time to relax – but it doesn’t mean that we need to over indulge.


We need to make sure that we drink lots of water and keep on exercising, and also plan for our workouts to fit into our holiday schedule.


How to maintain your fitness regimen during the holidays
Because we don’t have enough time in our hands during the holidays, focus on HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training), which lasts between 30-45 minutes.


If you don’t have access to a gym while on holiday, body weight exercises are the best. Also pack your skipping rope with you, and don’t forget to travel with your gym gear.


Simple exercises to do over the festive season
Skipping is one of the exercises that one can do anywhere. I also recommend body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, burpees, lunges, planks and mountain climbers, including running which can also be performed anywhere.


Complete exercise 1 to 6 and rest 30 seconds between each exercise – and complete as many rounds as you can in 20-30 minutes:

Squats 15-20 reps

Push-ups 15-20 reps

Mountain climbers 30-40 reps

Plank 40-60 seconds

Lunges 30-40 reps

Burpees 20-50 reps


Full body weight exercises for the holidays:

Recommended sports for the holidays
If exercising proves to be a challenge, you can also try some of these sports/activities – netball, soccer, running, volleyball and basketball.


How I personally maintain my fitness regime during the festive season
I reduce the number of training days to three times per week, focus on HIIT training, functional training and strength training during the festive season. I also lower the intensity of my training.


Normally I will train 60-90 minutes per session but during the festive season I train 45-60 minutes per session.


Luckily I have two bicycles on and off road, sometimes I will wake up in the morning and ride for at least 30-50 kilometres twice a week.


I also let loose a little when it comes to food but I don’t over-indulge – I make sure I eat small portions.


The little things one can implement during the festive season in preparation for the New Year
The first thing that one can implement after the hectic festive season is to detoxify the body by eating fruits, vegetables and drinking lots of water (1 litre a day).


You must also cut down on meat, since you have been having lots of it during the festive season.


Start small by setting short term goals, and make sure they are realistic. If you are not sure how to go about eating healthy or training for the body you want in 2020, hire a certified professional personal trainer.


People like myself are there to help you achieve your goals and to inspire you to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.


Mandla stresses the importance of health & fitness especially for black youth. “As a certified professional personal trainer, functional training specialist, strength and sports conditioning coach, I owe it to the black youth to teach them the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle,” he explains.


“It is my dream to host a seminar mainly for the black youth especially in the townships, to share my knowledge so that they know that health and fitness starts at an early age.


“They need to know that chronic diseases normally don’t creep in at a specific age, sometimes it can be due to one not looking after their health.


“They have free access to one form of exercise, which is running and that’s how I also started – living a healthy lifestyle does not have to be costly.”


For more on Mandla:
Instagram: @365functionaltraining
Twitter: @MandlaFitness