Fitness Muse: Taz breaking stereotypes

Taz Emeran’s refusal to buckle under fitness stereotypes has made her a fitness muse for women in South Africa.

By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti

Taz may still be a young woman but she is slowly carving a trail as woman in the Jozi fitness world. She seamlessly juggles being a mother, medical student at Wits University and managing Runbase Adidas in Braamfontein.

The young fitness enthusiast keeps over 8000 followers on Instagram inspired with her everyday fitness activities and has seen her launch the Flexgrind320 bootcamp, with fellow fitness instructor, Siyabonga Mashele.

Taz takes us through her journey as a fitness muse.

Making fitness my life
I have always been into fitness, since I was still a young girl. I started playing soccer when I was in grade three and I was literally the only girl in the soccer team. I remember falling in love with the sport and it became part of my life for a long time. In high school, I then ventured into athletics.

I come from a family of gentlemen that love fitness and weightlifting.  So, growing up I would always watch them and found them to be quite inspiring. They would teach me a few tricks about training and that’s how I discovered my love for weightlifting.

Fitness as a career
I moved to Johannesburg to study Medicine at Wits and that’s when I started posting a lot of stuff about fitness and weightlifting on my Instagram, which got the attention of people.  Nike chose me as their fitness muse for about two years. They wanted to implement fitness into the woman’s sphere and I became the face and voice for women who are fitness geeks.

I then joined Adidas and now I manage the Runbase clubhouse in Johannesburg (Braamfontein). We have a running club every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday along with training sessions throughout the week.  I have a team of personal trainers and runners that work with me and we create a fun space for people who are into fitness.

Taz at work
Taz at work

Fitness life as a woman
I am a mother, a student, I also have a full time job and juggle all that while making sure I stay fit. Going to the gym is how I get my ‘me’ time. I completely zone out just for that moment and it’s such a great feeling.  While some may find lifting weights strenuous, for me it’s what I enjoy most about going to the gym.  I have learned that fun in the gym can be quite subjective. Some people might not be into intense training and choose to do yoga, palates or running.  You must do whatever works for you and your schedule because, essentially, the key thing is to keep moving.

Misconceptions about fitness
People seem to choose the fitness route for all the wrong reasons.  You have to go into it for the long term and not a season. In order to make something last for a lifetime you have to do it for the right reasons.  50 percent of the people who go to gym just to fit into a pair of size 28 jeans don’t even last a month because they don’t understand how much effort it takes to stay fit.  

My take on diet
I would say that diet is possibly 90 percent of the work. I, for one, am not big on diet but I eat in moderation. I personally feel like the moment you put a cap on it and say ‘I am on a diet’ then there is too much pressure and a huge cloud that makes many  deprive themselves of food because they are afraid of breaking the diet. That can be very demotivating. My philosophy is that you can eat whatever you want as long as it’s in moderation. I always say ‘I train hard so that I can eat whatever I want to eat’.

Launching my bootcamp “Flexgrid320”
I started my bootcamp late last year with my colleague, Siyabonga  Mashele. I saw  many people who had certain preferences when it came to training. Others hated running but loved training and others loved running but hated training. My bootcamp tries to merge the two together while making it exciting for all. We do it in different locations so as to make it more fun and adventurous.

 Flexgrid320 bootcamp with Taz
Flexgrid320 bootcamp with Taz

Also, I feel like there are  also a lot of misconceptions about fitness in the world and with the bootcamp, we want to make it more real. People are influenced by billboards, Instagram and magazines, which are not always a true representation of fitness.

They see the quick diets for photoshoots and they follow that model, which is a setup for failure. It’s not about being thin, starving yourself or going to the gym once a month, it’s a lifestyle shift. Fitness is about education and we have to be educated enough so we can understand the discipline and the dynamics behind the fitness life. Flexgrid320 is there to serve that purpose.

Advice
Whatever your goal is, whether it is to lose weight, get a toned body or to be healthier, try and see how far you can go without being influenced by external factors.  The reason I say that, is because everyone has a different story and so it’s all about your body and mindset. Do it for you and not for any other reason and you are bound to succeed.

Going forward
In three years’ time I will become a doctor and that’s my ultimate goal. I want to see my bootcamp and Runbase flourish. My dream is to combine being a doctor with fitness and work with clients who suffer from illnesses like diabetes or heart condition and tailor make a regime that will make them live healthier and longer.  I believe that there is a need for spaces that give a more holistic approach to fitness rather than focusing on just one aspect, and I want to be one of the people who fill that gap.

You can follow taz on Instagram: Tazfiness_sa
And on Facebook: MumtaazTazofficial
To keep up with the bootcamp follow: Flexgrid320

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