"We only get one body to live our lives. The more we look after it, the better quality of life we will have." - Shepherd Musiyiwa 

The home-based, virtual workout revolution is in full swing and looks to be a new mainstay in personal fitness, not just in South Africa but around the globe. And what about food? Sure, we’ve all been baking banana bread this lockdown and preparing meals endlessly, but the social distancing of the buttons on our jeans must fall. I dusted off my dumbells and set out to find impactful workouts that work around my schedule, and a hassle-free meal plan service that keeps me satisfied but out of the kitchen.

When I was first introduced to Melissa Press, a very experienced and highly qualified and accredited trainer, and World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Pro, I knew I was going to feel the burn. This lady is fierce, she doesn’t mess around, and she has the body (and energy) to prove she knows exactly what she’s doing, and so I signed up for her online group training classes.

She kicked my arse, but in the best possible way. Melissa is full of inspiration and encouragement and is a source of a huge amount of knowledge and tips. That was the first thing I didn’t expect from virtual classes or connecting with a trainer online – I thought the experience might’ve felt like I was on this journey on my own, but I found the opposite to be true. I contacted Melissa a couple of times to ask a question, like which weights I should be using. She knew my goals and my level of fitness and guided me as we went. The sense of accountability was also something I hadn’t anticipated. I could easily skip a training session, but when she sends the Zoom password you know there is a space for you in that virtual classroom. Melissa even checked in on me after my first few classes. She assured me that I could go at my own pace, and because I wasn’t surrounded by seasoned fitness bunnies, I was comfortable to do so. It was nice, nonetheless, to see others on my screen and that we were in this workout together.

My favourite part? I loved that I could transition from being in my pyjamas sipping green tea one minute to working out the next – no make-up needed, no time spent driving to the gym, and no packing bags or worrying about awkwardly walking into a class late. I could use my own equipment and sweat on my own mat in my own lounge, or maybe in my garden. And after the workout, I could be showered and dressed without a bag or car keys in sight!


I’ve been helping people get fit, strong and healthy, one body at a time,” says Melissa, adding, “The biggest secret is consistency.

I loved the convenience of this new way of working out, and there was another trend that I had to explore while I was energised and discovering more about this home-based hype, and that was having a trainer come to me, to train either myself or my friend or partner with me. And so I met Shepherd, a professional boxing trainer who works at TopBox Boxing Gym in Fourways, and also trains clients at their homes. He comes highly recommended. I’ve enjoyed kickboxing in the past and was looking forward to getting “back in the ring”.

He arrived promptly and was eager to get training right away. He has been a professional boxing trainer for almost a decade and I wasn’t going to mess around… It was my home, but when it came to training it was his rules. Shepherd pushed me harder than I would’ve had I been left to my own devices, and the workout was hardcore, but such fun. Training with a friend was also really motivating and Shepherd corrected our form to make sure we were doing everything right. He kept us on our toes and left us feeling alive! Off to the next client he went, and so my friend and I grabbed a fresh and tasty, chilled TaylaMade juice from the fridge and made a toast to all the calories we had smashed.

And while we’re talking about calories, let’s not forget about all that banana bread. I had a lot of work to do to get my own body from a disaster status down to my own ‘level 1’… Melissa suggested I contact Tayla, the energetic and enthusiastic lady behind TaylaMade Meal Prep, a brand that puts together a range of juices, smoothies and meals that align with your goals and preferences, be it vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low carb or keto. And so, this lockdown, I discovered a love of having food made and delivered straight to me.

All TaylaMade meals are delivered fresh and promise to be free of gluten, sugar, preservatives and MSG, laying the foundation for you to improve your nutrition and fitness towards a healthier lifestyle. 

Tayla made sure I had enough fresh food on hand to satisfy my hunger, but she also ensured the meals were in line with my weight-loss goals, and full of all the good stuff. I started with her popular 3-day juice cleanse. This comes with 4 fresh juices – a Green Glow (cucumber, celery, apple, pineapple and mint), a Ginger Bliss (carrot, ginger, lemon and apple), an Immunity Booster (carrot, apple and ginger), and to finish, the delicious Nut Job (cocoa protein powder, banana, peanut butter, maca, chia seeds and dates), which I never got to enjoy all by myself as someone in the house sneakily kept taking sips for themselves… Back to whole foods, my favourites meals were the Thai lemongrass chicken green coconut curry with fluffy cauliflower mash and the chicken, mozzarella, bacon and basil pesto salad. She also has a menu for kids’ meals, which offers an appetising and nutritious take on some firm favourites, like spag bol and chicken strips.

This experience has opened my eyes to a whole new way of working out, staying healthy, and saving time. There’s certainly a place for gyms – the loud music and the enthusiasm of your fellow gymers, and who doesn’t love the water coolers? Also, sometimes it’s nice to actually get out of the house… There’s also a place for my oven when I do have the time and inspiration to pour love into making meals at home. …but for all those other times, it’s wonderful to have so many options at your fingertips to access some of the important, everyday things – like working out and eating nutritious food – in the comfort of your own home or garden. It’s been a hassle-free, convenient and really enjoyable few weeks. I am feeling better, sleeping better, performing better, and seeing improvements. Even my jeans are feeling more at home on my hips…