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Chengetayi Mnisi of The Wellness Connection, kwaChenge

Chengetayi Mnisi

Profiles & Interviews

Chengetayi Mnisi of The Wellness Connection, kwaChenge

Fitness should be challenging but not excruciating to the point where you don’t want to move ever again.

Chengetayi Mnisi

Chengetayi Mnisi

Chengetayi Mnisi, an American Council on Exercise certified professional, is the driving force behind The Wellness Connection. Her journey began with the creation of the No Excuses Program,’ a virtual 21-day fitness initiative launched amidst the Covid pandemic in 2020. Witnessing the profound impact of consistent wellness routines on her own well-being, Chengetayi was inspired to extend her knowledge to others. As the pandemic spurred a renewed focus on health and wellness, she has been honoured to accompany many on their transformative paths through individual coaching and strategic brand partnerships.

What first ignited your passion for health and fitness?

It actually came from me wanting to be a better dance instructor, which is how this whole career started. I wanted to understand more about how the body moves so that I would not injure or put my dance clients at risk. Next thing, I’m combining my love of dance and fitness, one thing led to another, I got certified to be an ACE Group Fitness Trainer and it’s been onwards from there, 4 years in now.

For those who don’t know, what is The Wellness Connection?

The Wellness Connection is my company, it is my commitment to self and how I show how serious I am about myself and my career. I have always seen myself as more than just a fitness trainer and TWC allows for me to be the person I want to be within the health space, and that is a Wholistic Wellness Professional, soon to be the most sought-after Wellness Professional in Zimbabwe (I’m claiming it!)

What are some of the qualifications you’ve accrued in your fitness journey?


  • American Council on Exercise Group Fitness Instructor
  • American Council on Exercise Fitness Nutrition Specialist
  • Oh Baby! Fitness Pregnancy and Postpartum Exercise Instructor
  • Ethics Course – Taking Action with ACE: Practicing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a Health and Exercise Professional
  • Ethics Course – A Space for Every Body: Addressing Weight Bias in the Fitness Industry
  • Nutrition Coaching: Changing Habits, Not Diets
  • Training Women for Optimal Health and Performance
  • Mental and Physical Exercises for Long Term Stress Management
  • Caring for Yourself while Supporting Others
  • First Aid

What are some of your offerings as a trainer?

Personal Training, Group Fitness, Nutrition Coaching, Wellness Consultations and Meal Plans

How has your own fitness routine changed throughout your pregnancy?

It hasn’t changed much thankfully, because I have had a consistent workout routine for the past 4 years, I can still do the workouts I enjoy. I have only had to make slight adjustments to accommodate my growing belly but my routine has pretty much stayed the same.

What challenges have you faced in staying active while pregnant, and how did you overcome them?


It has mainly been people’s biases towards a pregnant woman being bold enough to workout unapologetically and show it. Some people have been very ignorant, spiteful and hurtful but that hasn’t kept me down. I know why I am living this chapter of my life out loud. There is a need for a real, relatable and instant example of fitness and wellness in pregnancy. Most content online is not local and I’m glad I am able to be that real-time example that it is possible, it can be done and it must be done.

How do you encourage your clients to listen to their bodies and make modifications when necessary?


Ultimately everyone is the expert of their own body, you know when you’re not doing enough and when you’re pushing yourself to the max. Fitness should be challenging but not excruciating to the point where you don’t want to move ever again. It’s using simple techniques like asking a client how hard an exercise is/was from a scale of 1-10 or simply seeing if they can breathe or hold a simple conversation as they workout. Modifications are there for a reason and are not a sign of weakness. There is absolutely no shame in taking it easy from time to time, no 2 workouts are the same and I always encourage my clients to be patient with themselves and grant themselves a lot of grace.

@chengetayi_

A body in motion stays in motion… Can’t believe I made it to the end of the day in one piece. After a 4am start, I’m back home & settled in. Fitness really affords me the strength to show up for the things I said I would show up for, regardless of how I’m feeling. Had an event, photoshoot, video shoot & my AfroStep class today. I am beyond exhausted but glad that I showed up for each thing as my best self & gave the energy & commitment that was required. It seems delusional but this foundation is a part of the bigger picture. Everything I’m doing is part of who I am & what I want to be known for years from now. The process may be painful but I have my eye on the results, which is what matters at the end of the day #noexcuseszw #kwachenge #herecomesbabygp #fyp #zimtiktokers🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼 #pregnantlife #pregnant

♬ original sound – Chengetayi

How do you balance the demands of your career with the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy?


Over the years I have conditioned my mind to be able to commit to the things I’m meant to do and my body follows. When I need to put in the work, I have a conversation with myself, do what I need to do and keep it moving. “It’s just an hour” is my mantra. There are days I’ve cried driving to work and I gather myself in the parking lot, went on to deliver a great class and have gone back to my feelings after. The emotions that come with pregnancy are wild but I am able to set my feelings aside for at least an hour so I do what I have to do then allow myself to be an emotional mess when needed. Physically, my body has shown me how strong I am, my consistency over the years is manifesting now even as I near the end of my pregnancy journey.

Do you have any tips for maintaining a positive mindset about body changes and fitness throughout pregnancy?


Accepting that the changes are going to come is the only way, pregnancy will change you in one way or the other. If you just prepare yourself for that you will be fine and the fact that the changes are not permanent. I learnt this from my first pregnancy, this time round I am embracing and enjoying the changes, because this might be the last time I am pregnant in my life, so might as well roll with all the punches.

What’s your message to other pregnant women considering maintaining their fitness journeys?


It is one of the best things you can do for yourself as you go through this journey, the benefits of fitness in pregnancy outweigh any con you might hear. From keeping your sanity in check, excess weight gain at bay, blood pressure within a normal range and mentally preparing you for birth, not working out during pregnancy is robbing yourself of a wholesome experience and the chance to recover well and be a healthy and present mother to your new born. There is life after pregnancy that requires for you to be your best self.

What inspired you to start selling merchandise like lunch bags and tees?


Passive income and getting the brand out there really. My work is very physical and I needed another source of income especially as I near taking a break to give birth. So, I can still earn and maximise on the community I have grown over the years. Being involved in sales has been a humbling experience and I’m glad it’s a side of business I get to experience, I am so grateful for all the supportive clients so far.

Do you offer any customisation options for your products?


Yes, I do, some clients have had the pleasure of getting their lunch bags customised and that’s really just the beginning.

What makes your merchandise unique and stand out from the competition?


The association with me if I’m being honest. Countless people do the same thing, but the people I attract want to be associated with great energy, positive vibes, determination and they get that from what my brand represents.

https://www.tiktok.com/@chengetayi_/video/7334009959102893318?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7291566169185945093

Can you share a personal tip on how to craft a healthy meal plan?


Sacrifice. There are certain things we should be willing to sacrifice to come up with a healthy and sustainable meal plan. For me it’s simply less sugar, alcohol and fast food. Then more water, meat, vegetables and complex carbs, that’s the foundation.

What is a piece of advice you wish you could give your younger self about fitness or health?


Fitness is an investment, time is not kind to women and the sooner you prioritise your health and wellness, the better quality of life you get.

⁠In your opinion, what’s one of the obstacles preventing women from embarking on their fitness journey?

Caring more about aesthetics and the number on the scale over creating sustainable and long-term healthy changes. The older we get, the harder it is to look the way we did when we were teens or in our early twenties. We want to go back to a time that no longer exists, after our bodies have carried us through so much. Instead of accepting and loving our bodies as they are and living in a body, we are happy, healthy and confident in.

What advice would you give to someone new to fitness who feels overwhelmed or intimidated?

Take your time, find the things you enjoy doing, there are no rules to fitness. Whether it’s dancing, yoga, walking, swimming, lifting weights. Try different things, see what works for you and just do that consistently.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a fitness trainer?

Seeing people realise how their lives change for the better once they start living a healthy lifestyle. You start sleeping better, your mind is sharper, you feel lighter, you’re happier… the list is endless but just being a part of that transformation is priceless.

@chengetayi_

I’m impressed with myself! At 30 weeks I can still do what I thought I would be done doing at 20 weeks. I was laughing with one of my clients today saying every week is a real test, to see that if I go down will I come back up 😂 and I’m still coming back up guys! Grateful for movement! Just a few more weeks till I meet my sonshine ☀️ #noexcuseszw #fyp #zimtiktokers🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼 #workout #herecomesbabygp #stepandflex

♬ original sound – Chengetayi

Can you share a story of a client who achieved their fitness goals and how you helped them get there?

One of my favourite client success stories is from a fellow mum who is based in the UK. She has been on my No Excuses Program for almost 2 years now and has transformed her life through fitness. Just her commitment to self has been so inspirational and the fact that she chose me and my service despite being miles away and she continues to show up after all this time is amazing. Proof that just being myself and showing up is enough, my people will always find me.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in getting started in the fitness industry as a woman?

To be honest I did not face any massive challenges outside of self-doubt. I had some amazing women giving me opportunities and cheering me on when I needed the gain my confidence and grow in the industry. I’ve always been loyal to myself, kept my head down and minded my business, always adapting and adjusting as I go along.

Who are some female fitness professionals you admire and why?

Evonne Mudzingwa, an absolute legend in the fitness industry. She gave me my first shot when I told her that I wanted to get into fitness and I took my very first class in her gym. I am forever grateful for her.

@chengetayi_

Breathe… 31 weeks in & I will be soon encompassed by the chaos & new reality that comes with having a new born in the house. I’m finding moments of stillness while I still can 🍃 Today I am so grateful for my body & how far it has taken me safely as I near the end of my pregnancy journey & soon embrace life as a mummy of 2 beautiful beings 🥹 📍Messe Luxe 🎥 @inspiredfacesofafrica #noexcuseszw #kwachenge #zimtiktokers🇿🇼🇿🇼🇿🇼 #fyp #yoga #relax #herecomesbabygp #pregnant

♬ original sound – ThandoHlophe

You and Lincoln seem to create magical visuals together, why do you think that is?

We’re really good friends and we have a great working relationship. I’ve known Lincoln for years and he is one of the most professional service providers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. He is great at what he does, makes his clients feel very comfortable being on the other side of the lens and I’m glad that we get to show that through our collaborative efforts.

How do you pick the brands you’re gonna collaborate with?

Value… I prefer to work with brands that trust me, respect and understand the value of what I do.

What are some critical insights you’ve gained from your kwaChenge conversations?

Authenticity is key, owning our stories and telling them as they are is so important. The human experience requires that we engage, connect and be true to who we are. kwaChenge is just the tip of the iceberg, I look forward to growing that side of my brand.

Will we be seeing a new season of your What in the Motherhood series?

Let’s just say something new is in the works…

 

iNgudu WhatsApp channel: https://whatsapp.com/channel/0029VaIdIg89RZAbgIEwVM3V

iNgudu Online Thrift Store WhatsApp catalogue: https://wa.me/c/263719095232

 

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I'm Noni Zulu, editor of iNgudukazi Magazine and I'm proud to say that. This is a magazine that looks to empower the youth. We hope to entertain, inspire and motivate our subscribers and to help make a difference.

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