Fitness fanatic Siya Mnyanda, 30, set his sights high on running the Two Oceans marathon earlier this year to celebrate his 30th birthday – and he finished it.
Mnyanda has proven that having a fitness goal can accelerate the quality of life as he jets around conducting seminars on creating equal and neutral working conditions for members of the LGBTIQ community in corporate spaces.
His social media accounts are buzzing with daily posts of him challenging himself during his crossfit training classes and weekly morning runs. We sat down with him to talk about his training and how he prepared for the Two Oceans.
What is your fitness routine?
My routine combines running and cross-fit. I am an avid runner and enjoy doing cardiovascular exercises through training for marathons. I complement this with an amazing Dylan Labuschagne, a personal trainer who uses fitness programmes to help me reach my health and fitness goals.
Crossfit comprises varied functional movements performed at high intensity. Workouts reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running and rowing.
How long did it take you to get your rhythm around the gym?
It’s been years in the making. I found running by accident as an overweight teenager. A classmate called me obese and I turned to long-distance running to try lose weight. When I started I struggled to finish 1km and now I compete in ultra-marathons of 56km and finish in competitive times.
I needed a more holistic approach because running wasn’t targeting other parts of my body so I decided to balance it with Crossfit. It took me about 12 weeks to get comfortable with the movements and start seeing results.
What’s the best part about your routine?
My trainer and I have taken the time to craft an enjoyable workout where I run three times a week coupled with gymnastics one day, a bodyweight session on another, a strength session another and I finish off the week with a metabolic session. I enjoy all days; the varied exercises ensure that I’m not bored, while allowing us to target different muscle groups as resting is also very important.
How do you balance training with your schedule, which involves travel?
I struggle when travelling. Fortunately, my personal trainer offers an innovative service whereby you have remote sessions online. This is perfect as he can often make use of what’s in my hotel room or its gym facilities. The nice thing about running is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. I use an app called Runnin’ City which works a lot like the Hop on, Hop off buses, taking you through running routes that tell you more about a city’s places of interest.
What made you decide to run the Two Oceans?
It has been a dream of mine since I started long-distance running at 15. I set a goal to complete it by 30 and was stoked when I knocked my first attempt out the park.
How best would you describe the experience of the race?
The race is the ultimate test of physical and mental preparation. You need to train your body to be able to sustain the distance. Unfortunately, no amount of training fully prepares you for the extremely long distance and at some point it starts to shut down. This is where the mind needs to kick in and assist the body to push through the pain, to keep on going. The amount of work that goes into qualifying for such a race helps. I was lucky to also have an amazing support system through my friends and family that helped me push through the last 15km, which were excruciating.
How has your lifestyle changed since the race?
My lifestyle hasn’t changed much since the race as I have tried to maintain a similar workout regime. The next marathon on my hit list is the People’s Marathon in Soweto in November. Thereafter I will compete in my first Comrades next year and, as always, will make sure that I come prepared.