Current Sports Manager at the University of the Free State, Ben Zwane, has been in the fitness industry for over 23 years. He has not let age stop him from still being at the top of his fitness game. Get It paid a visit to find out how he has managed to stay fit during lockdown.
Local model-turned fitness guru, Ben has always had a passion for
sport and fitness. His love for sport is genetic; no doubt coming from his dad and aunt who were both exquisite athletes. Watching them in action motivated him to hit the gym daily and keep fit, while he had the privilege of following a career feeding his soul.
During an interview with Get It, Ben elaborated on his many achievements, one being the fitness instructor for the Springbok rugby team when they were in Bloemfontein in 1995, right when his career kicked off. His most recent achievement that does not only benefit him but the women of Mangaung, is him receiving a message from the well-known Nestle Bar One brand requesting to collaborate with them. “I signed a contract through a company called Two Tone Global with Bar One about two years ago, enabling me to facilitate and train women of the City of Roses outdoors, free of charge,” he said. This idea came from the fact that he had always done a similar programme annually for 67 minutes on Mandela Day and that it seemed fit to the same on a large scale. Regarding what Ben currently does, it is obvious he finds his work at the university fulfilling. He is able to help students who have never done sport in school experience it at university.
“I am in charge of various sports at the university, such as karate, judo, fencing, volleyball and basketball, with the last two being the major sport codes I specialise in.”
Being a Jack of all trades and master of them all takes a lot of practise and dedication, which is why it is so important to Ben to not only do sport for a living but also fully enjoy as a hobby. According to him, the game of basketball at the university is doing exceptionally well as does the programme he is facilitating. The programme has been running for nine years and is called the Gateway Programme, referring to first-year students, who have never been exposed to any form of sport or recreational programme, engaging in the world of sport activities. This is the university’s way of welcoming them and exposing them to fitness and to keep them strong mentally. With all the jobs he has done, modelling for fashion shows in the ‘90s included, no job has been as interesting and fulfilling to Ben as when he worked at the G4S prison where he helped inmates keep fit and exercise, at the same time helping them with their mental health and making them consider how they treat their bodies in order for them to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Many of us might have done a squat or two during the level 5 lockdown, ‘to keep fit’. That one squat was not easy, never mind two, and even for Ben the lockdown took a toll on his fitness. He confides that he ate a lot during lockdown but challenged himself severely as he noticed that he was starting to gain weight. “I started doing high-intensity training, which involves a lot of high-intensity workouts done in seconds; it keeps me on the go and helps a lot with keeping fit.” Ben has some great advice for Get It readers: “Listen to your body. Every time you eat something or even do a certain exercise, watch the way your body reacts and work on that. Your body will know when enough is enough.”
Text: HEIDRE MALGAS Photo: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN