Taz aims to change lifestyles through fitness
Words: Afrika Lethabo Bogatsu | Photography: Thabiso Molatlhwa
Having grown up in a community plagued by drugs and gangsterism, Taz Emeran was lucky to have been raised in a caring family that kept her away from those outside influences. But after many years of focusing on her academics and sports, she got caught up in the exact things from which her family had tried so hard to protect her from.
“At that point in time I didn't care much about school or my family," says Taz. "Until I fell pregnant. When I birthed my son at the age of 15, he was premature and in hospital for three months. That’s when I let go of the life I was living and I made a conscious decision to focus on giving my son the life he deserves.”
As a woman in an industry as hyper-masculine as the world of fitness, Taz has experienced her fair share of discrimination. From being the only girl on the soccer team in third grade to dominating the track field in high school, Taz has never really cared about other people’s perceptions although admits to struggling with internal battles.
“I've always been scrutinised by men, and even more so women, because of how my body looks. I'm not as skinny or as ripped as some other girls and so there's always been a grey area when it comes to my self-perception. Not too long ago I decided to embrace my body, my big legs that have stretch marks and cellulite on them, and my short stature that accentuates my muscle bulk. My body teaches me life lessons every single day.”
Taz may be short but she is strong, something she attributes to a lot of kickboxing and weight training. “I always try to push myself beyond what I think I'm capable of.”
Recently there’s been a move away from exercising to lose weight or get thin, and instead the focus has shifted on building a strong body. This change can be linked, if not ascribed, to the body positive movement we're currently celebrating.
When asked her views on this, Taz says: “Body positivity for me is accepting the body you were given and seeing the potential that can be birthed from it if the right amount of attention and hard work is invested. It’s more than just accepting your body, it's understanding its needs, too. Understanding that looking after it by exercising or simply trying to eat a bit healthier is what contributes to body positivity. You can achieve a strong body in numerous ways, but you need to find something that works for you. Weight training is how I build my body but I know even stronger women who build their bodies through yoga. The key is understanding that strength comes from within, your body is a simple manifestation of the strength you've already built inside."
This is an understanding that she aims to spread through FlexGrid320 a bootcamp she launched, that is “passionate about changing the lifestyle of people who are ready for change.” What makes FlexGrid320 different to other workout regimes is a holistic approach to physical and mental change as opposed to just the physical.
We’ve all made excuses for skipping gym or not eating healthily, and many of us prefer to live, eat, drink like there’s no tomorrow because, well, #YOLO. This is especially the case during the festive season where we take little to no consideration to a healthy diet or exercising, something that will inevitably catch up with us.
“It takes a lot of sacrifice to fully commit to a change in lifestyle, but if it's something you desire you should take the leap of faith and then thereafter take it one day at a time,” says Taz. It’s for this reason that Taz takes her clients preferences into account, creating workouts that are exciting and use different locations to keep things fun and interesting.
If you have a body then congratulations, you've already got a beach body, however, for anyone with a desire to get fitter and healthier this summer, Taz suggests the following daily workout.
● Warmup 2km run
● 20 squats
● 20 squat jumps
● 10 x 30 second squat holds
● 15 minutes skipping
● 20 tricep dips
● 20 reverse crunches
● 10 x 30 sec plank holds