News / South Africa / Health

Kgosi Modisane
3 minute read
24 May 2018
8:05 am

How Mimi Mvakali fought her depression in the ring

Kgosi Modisane

The fashion and beauty influencer found that boxing can shed body weight and stress.

Newly admitted attorney and fashion and beauty influencer Mimi Mvakali, 26, is a force to reckoned with after battling with the depression and anxiety caused by daily stresses.

The young lawyer found refuge in a trendy upmarket mixed martial arts and boxing training centre, EFC Gym in Sandton, Johannesburg. Empowered by personal trainer Warren Bishop, the pair designed a body-toning and conditioning training routine which has since seen Mvakali looking and feeling healthy and strong.

The centre incorporates training practices which range between the usual body conditioning and a fitness programme to help members get into the best shape.

Despite her stressful career and globetrotting, Mvakali has managed to maintain a well-toned beach-figured body paired with agility, strength and power – all of which she obtained through her training classes.

Mvakali shares with us her workout experience with trainer Bishop, as well as the importance of women getting involved in boxing as a discipline for healthy living.

Where did the interest in boxing begin? 

My father was a boxer in his time so there has been that association since before I can remember. I had times where I would fantasise about a father-daughter duo like Laila Ali and her father. But I distinctly remember my dad telling me I would get hurt when I was much younger and I told him I wanted to start boxing. Over the past few years, I developed an interest in boxing training but did not actually get into the ring. I started training every week since the beginning of the year.

What has been your biggest challenge and achievement?

The biggest challenge is commitment. It is getting up and showing up for every training session, even on mornings where you don’t feel like it. The biggest achievement would have to be  the contribution it has played in improving my mental health.

What have you learnt from boxing? Why do you believe women Should take up boxing as a form of fitness?

Boxing is an extremely physically demanding form of exercise but I would argue that it is equally rewarding. I would have never imagined that it would be such an integral part of my peace.

Obvious health and physical benefits aside, I think it is a great form of fitness for women in particular because it challenges the notion that women are physically weak – think, “you punch like a girl”. I say let’s embrace that, it doesn’t have to be an insult.

Trainer and instructor Warren Bishop shares his knowledge on using boxing as a form of de-stressing and staying fit.

1. What was the first thing you did to ease Mimi Mvakali into boxing?

We discussed what she wants out of the training and I explained that we will integrate functional, core and strength training into the boxing sessions.

2. What can people learn from boxing?

Boxing is a sport of discipline. Through this, one can build and gain a lot of self-confidence. The fitness and technique is a constant challenge and helps one’s balance of life. It is a major trend and enthusiasts love the high-intensity workout that boxing provides.

3. Is there a difference between using boxing as a fitness tool and as a profession?

Yes, there is a difference. Boxing as a form of fitness can rapidly decrease the levels of frustration, low self-esteem and give an individual an opportunity to feel confident in a gym environment.

If maintained and used effectively, an individual can really notice a difference physically and mentally. Professionally, boxing involves other challenges and goals and the fighter is trained totally differently