Known in the fitness arena as the ‘Gymstick Guy’ aka: ‘Lean Machine’, Mandla Amos Nhleko shares how he finds peace through exercise and success through discipline.
Give us more insight into your current business?
I currently work as a Personal Fitness Trainer and Sports Conditioning Coach at Virgin Active and promote the Gymstick – which is a fitness tool with two rubber bands on either side used to tone and improve fitness levels and is excellent for core and balance work. I am also busy establishing my wellness business which is called 365 Functional Training.
How did you come up with the concept?
I left working as a Systems Support Engineer in corporate to pursue my passion. I started off by obtaining a Diploma in fitness from HFPA. I then started training clients during my spare time and finally quit my full-time to focus on wellness fulltime. I also worked with corporates in assisting them with their wellness days programmes and grew my clientele from there.
What were some of the major challenges you faced when setting up your business and how did you overcome them?
When I started with personal training I was also working full time so I had pressure time wise trying to balance a full-time career with training clients. I eventually took a leap of faith, quit my job in the corporate world and focused on fitness full-time. It has been rewarding and fulfilling and have never looked back.
How do you drive business growth?
My current clients have been great. Through achieving their results they have spread the word. My satisfied clients have been my best marketing tool, but I practice what I preach in terms of staying disciplined when it comes to my training and nutrition which I believe is very important. I also use traditional marketing tools such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter to share wellbeing and fitness tips and many people have contacted me through these channels. I also hold wellness days and sessions where I invite interested people to participate and invite other professionals to share their tips like dieticians, physiotherapist, psychologists etc.
Have any of your business ventures failed?
I have been blessed in many ways in that I have never failed at anything that I have put my mind to. I am grateful for that, and having a great team really plays a huge role in my business.
How has your career evolved over the years?
My career has really changed. I started off by training myself, then friends and eventually having many clients. It has been an incredible journey. I am now aiming at becoming even bigger.
Has anyone been a key inspiration in your journey?
I was inspired by a guy called Naudi Aguilar founder and CEO of Functional Patterns, who focuses on Functional Training and there my inspiration grew. I told myself that I can do this and there my journey began and it has been an awesome journey and I love every moment of it.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career so far?
The most rewarding aspect of my career has been seeing my business grow from 6 clients to 30 clients. When my clients achieve their goals and more, I find that rewarding for myself and I feel encouraged to want to do more for them and also for those who are struggling.
Describe a typical day in your life?
Typically, I wake up at 4:00am from Monday to Friday as I have clients from 5:00am. The morning training ends usually around 11:00am. Then I rest for an hour, read a book or fitness magazine, go to gym and train myself, catch up on emails and other admin work. The afternoon sessions start around 16:00pm and my last client finishes at 20:30pm. I go home and prepare my meals for the next day, catch up a bit of TV especially the news and sleep by 22:00pm. I eat supper around 19:00pm while waiting for my last appointment. In between my clients I find time to eat and return calls or messages. On weekends I rest unless if I have an event that I am running or part of. During my resting time on weekends I spend time with my daughter, listen to music and train sometimes.
What has been your motivation to succeed in your fitness career?
I am motivated by seeing positive changes in my clients and ensuring that my clients enjoy their journey. I am also humbled by the comments my clients and other people make on my work ethic and this motivates me to do more and better. I am grateful for the difference that I make on more than 4000 people that follows me on various social media plat forms, when they post their changes of their lifestyle because of being inspired by me. People often ask if I am a Sportsman or a 100m sprinter because of the way I train and look and this motivates me in wanting to share my tips and training methods with many. During my charity events or commitments I encourage youth to stay away from drugs and use exercise as their tool of fun and enjoyment than relying on bad substances to enjoy life, this makes me feel good that health and wellbeing can play a major role in everyone’s life young or old and keeps me motivated.
In terms of future plans:
My future plans include expanding my 365 Functional Training brand to include, over and above Gymstick manufacturing gym clothing and opening a 365FT studio and fully equipped functional health centre where clients are able to find solutions to their health, diet, exercise and lifestyle needs. I would like to expand my fitness career knowledge by studying an Advanced Certificate in Exercise Science at HFPA. I would also like to mentor young and upcoming personal trainers, so that they too can achieve their career goals and I would love to have the opportunity of working with one of national sports teams.
What would you say is your life philosophy?
I always say, if you don’t like something about your life, change it. You are not a tree – move! Also, love yourself more – then it’s easy to inspire the next person. If you look after yourself, you will find ways to do the same for others.