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Imperfectly perfect

Most of us aim for the perfect family. Career. Life. And the perfect bod. Same, same for personal trainer and business owner Michelle Rademeyer. Until she realised all this striving
for perfection emptied her proverbial cup. Now this on-the-go mama fills her cup with whatever makes her feel good … from helping women smash their health, fitness and wellness goals to shopping up a storm.

For many years, Michelle Rademeyer made her clients work up a sweat as a personal trainer. It was dealing with her female clients’ insecurities daily that sparked the idea to rather shift her focus to specialise in women’s training and wellness.

“Women can be really hard on themselves. I know. I was there. It is just so easy to criticise yourself, question your worth or put yourself last. So, let me share this. I wanted to be perfect in all aspects of my life – from a working mom of two busy toddlers to a wife, and, and, and … So tiring at the end of the day.

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“We’ve all heard the metaphor, put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. Yes, it is a cliché but so true. Once I realised it is actually okay to put myself and my happiness first, things started to change, in a positive way. Did it feel weird at first? For sure.”
Michelle added that she quickly learned that taking care of yourself is the opposite of being selfish. It strengthens you and enables you to support your loved ones better.

“We are no use to anyone if our energy is depleted because we have given every last bit of it away. Hey, you cannot pour from an empty cup, right?”

It is exactly this type of mindset that she is trying to install at her gym, Mind & Body Renewal. Here she not only offers training but advice on nutrition, vitamins and supplements and beauty products. Everything you need to kick-start your health, fitness and wellness journey. So, a typical training sesh with Michelle consists of way more than just sweating and getting your heart rate up. She aims to make the women in her classes leave uplifted. Out of breath, perhaps, but happy in general.

“For that hour, I want to offer them an escape, in a sense some me-time. A place where they can just be. We laugh, cry, share tips and offer advice all whilst training the glutes. Because who doesn’t want a nice butt?

“So often women come to me, amped to lose weight, get the perfect body and be healthy. Huge yay! Because many of us take our health for granted and only realised how valuable it is when it is a tad too late. But, and you should really let this sink in … you have to get your mind right first. I cannot emphasise it enough. Weight loss only comes once you cut the ‘mental fat’. That will automatically lead to shedding the waistline fat. Only then do we take on any diet changes.”

A victim herself, Michelle has also seen time and again clients trying to give everything up all at once. The result? Yes, you’ve guessed it … failure.

“When you do this, the likelihood to crave certain foods becomes higher, and you end up not only indulging but overindulging. So with a bit of wiggle room and a gradual change, the chances to stick with a healthy diet long term drastically improve.

“With all this in mind, I have to add that moderation is key in my book. Life is short and there is no fun in depriving yourself of a piece of chocolate or a glass of wine. Sometimes, allowing yourself this does much more good than harm. Our families’ secret, less-healthy indulgence? Pizza. We don’t go a Saturday without it.”

When Michelle is not training or playing mom’s taxi, she loves to shop. For clothes and shoes. A little birdie whispered that she has roughly 50 shoes in her closet …

“Ahh, there’s nothing better than wearing a beautiful new outfit. I believe that you should do whatever makes you feel beautiful and good. Mine just happens to be shopping for beautiful outfits. All part of filling my cup.”

There is no denying that living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your wellness at the same time will bring you many benefits. And Michelle is proof that a healthy life can indeed be a good life.

Michelle and her equally fit hubby, Leander, also have an online training and nutrition app where they provide men and women with training programmes and nutrition plans.

Vitamins and supplements Michelle recommends:
1. Collagen – a type of protein that plays an important role in building and supporting many tissues, from bones and cartilage to skin, hair, eyes, and the digestive system
2. Vitamin D3 – important for bone and muscle strength and immune function.
3. Multivitamin – to fill nutritional gaps and make sure you get your daily allowance of under-consumed nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, E and K, calcium, magnesium, dietary fibre, choline and potassium.
4. Whey protein – It is a complete, high-quality protein that contains all of the essential amino acids.
5. Probiotics – Can aid digestion and help maintain gut health
6. Omega-3-6-9 – These supplements can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, keep skin healthy, improve mood, enhance brain function, maintain cardiovascular health and support healthy growth and development.
7. Folate and Biotin – Boosts the health of the hair and nails, and helps manage blood sugar levels, among other benefits.

Image by Celeste Cilliers. 

Five hacks to smuggle fruit and veggies into your kids’ food:
1. One of the easiest ways to sneak vegetables in is with a smoothie. You can use sweet fruit that they like to cover the taste of things they may never want to try on their own.
2. Make snack time fun, cut fruit and veggies into shapes and add variety for your children to choose from.
3. What kid doesn’t love a muffin, sweet bread, or a cookie? Baked goods are a fantastic way to sneak in extra fruits and veggies, plus you can bake, cool, and freeze them to have on hand anytime. Think blueberry or banana muffins. While veggies such as carrot and pumpkin are brilliant when baked into sweeter snacks, you can also try beetroot, sweet potato, avocado and even zucchini, as they are almost undetectable when baked into brownies, cakes and loaves.
4. Make your own fruit lollies. Chop a handful of a variety of fruit into small cubes. Blend with an equal measure of coconut water or tap water until smooth. Pour into a lolly mould and place into the freezer for a couple of hours.
5. Turn your vegetables into chips! Thinly slice a few of your favourite vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, lightly coat them with oil and a dash of salt and bake.

Six tips to get the family on a healthier road
1. Avoid saying no to certain foods and restrictions. Incorporate balance and understand that everything in moderation is key. All food can be part of a healthy lifestyle in moderation.
2. Preparation, preparation, preparation. Set time aside to prepare wholesome cooked meals.
3. Make healthy eating fun, don’t make it about weight loss. Focus more on it becoming a lifestyle. Teach your children about nutrition and the nutrients certain foods can provide rather than focusing on body weight.
4. Sitting down for a family meal (and no, it doesn’t necessarily have to be dinner) has resounding benefits for both kids and their parents. It allows time for family bonding and develops healthy eating habits because homemade meals include more protein, vitamins and fibre and less saturated fat, sugar and sodium than takeaways.
5. Don’t use sweets and dessert as a reward. In the long run, when your kids’ food choices are no longer under your control, they may tend to overeat sweets once they have free access to it.
6. Make mealtime fun. Take the kids grocery shopping and let them pick out a fruit, vegetable or meat to try with dinner. Let them help you prep and cook together. Set the table and clean up afterwards.

Shop their favourite brands of all things health and wellness at mindandbodyrenewal.co.za, or email [email protected] for more info on the app. Follow @mindandbodyrenewal on Facebook and Insta.

Text: RIALIEN FURSTENBERG. • Photographer: JAMIE & CO. • Make-up & hair: ANTOINETTE DE BEER


A fab health & wellness hamper filled with goodies like collagen, a protein shake, shaker bottle, multivitamin, a multi-use natural balm and probiotic valued at R1535. To enter, pop over to our Facebook and Insta pages, @GetItJoburgWest and follow the prompts.

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