PUMA training ambassador Nkateko “Takkies” Dinwiddy is a choreographer, health and fitness advocate, digital content creator and founder of Rockingnheels dance workout.
She is on a mission to inspire women all over the world to love their beautiful bodies through self-love, self-confidence and self-care and to contribute in some way to women feeling better about themselves.
In this exclusive interview, “Takkies” shares some of that advice and drops some serious inspiration bombs for our #strongwomen readers.
READ MORE: PUMA adds new workouts to PUMATRAC
What are your goals in life?
Beyond my desire to help other women, my overarching goal is to be happy, content and enjoy my family life.
What is the best piece of fitness-related advice anyone has given you?
Set your own benchmarks for health and fitness. It’s so easy to go onto social media and say I want that body or I want that look, when often what you are looking at is the result of surgery or working out for 10 hours a day while living on water and air.
This can be destructive to your self-esteem. That is why I set my own goals, not someone else’s.
What fitness-related changes have you made in your life that yielded positive results?
Music really changed things for me. I used to do workouts with just my own thoughts as I didn’t want the distraction of music. However, the day I decided work out to music was a big positive change. I love moving my body and I love music, so it makes sense to combine them. Music motivates me to move, especially on those tougher days when you don’t really feel like working out.
Your best decision to improve your fitness?
Joining a gym and getting a trainer really changed the game for me. It made me stronger and taught me about the power of the mind to push your limits.
Let’s be honest, sometimes you need someone to shout encouragement.
Your second child, Suri was born in June 2020. Tell us about pregnancy during a pandemic?
My biggest fear was the possibility of getting COVID-19 while pregnant back in March as little was known about the virus and I had no idea if Suri would be impacted. Midwife appointments and scans were stressful because I had to go without my husband. The fear of the unknown brought so much uncertainty. I had to stay positive. The worst part was not having my mother with me late in the pregnancy and after the birth, I found that tough emotionally and practically.
How is the body behaving post pregnancy and since you turned 30?
My body is responding well, probably because I worked out during the 9 months to keep a good base fitness level. I’ve heard people say once you turn 30 things go downhill in terms of recovery, and there are many aches but I haven’t felt that… yet. My husband is in his 40s and reminds me it is coming!
What does your daily exercise routine consist of?
I love morning runs, which are 3-5km. I generally have a 30-minute slot between everyone waking up and my husband Chris starting work.
Once I get home, I do a #PUMATRAC workout or dance workout.
Then, in the afternoon before the girls have their naps, we normally go for a 30-minute walk. I’m lucky to have lots for green space close by, which ensures the children and I get lots of fresh air adventures.
Tell us about your running shoes.
I love switching it up and this week I’ve been running with my PUMA UltraRides. It’s a dynamic and lightweight running shoe. The midsole is really comfortable and they provide great support.
And your training shoes?
I’m training in the awesome PUMA LVL UP XT. They are comfortable, lightweight and have great grip. They make me feel like nothing can stop me.
You are a trainer on #PUMATRAC. How important has this mobile app been to you in terms of being able to work out at home during the pandemic?
With no gyms to visit, #PUMATRAC feels like I have a personal trainer on permanent standby. I love that I can use the app at any time, on any device. I have tried a range of great workouts from the other trainers and there is something for everyone. The app has revolutionised the way people can exercise.
It must be challenging as a working mom with two young daughters but you seem to find the right balance?
It’s definitely challenging. The easiest solution has been to integrate workouts into everyday life by making it fun for the kids to join in. Of course, there are days when my workouts take longer because my girls need me and I’m always happy to stop what I’m doing to be present for them.
Looking at your posts, it’s hard to believe that vacuuming, ironing and picking up after the kids can look so joyful. How do you do it?
It’s all about having fun and enabling the kids to join in. Even at this early age, Suri loves music and a little dance, so she’s always keen for a dance party. It’s great for me because I get chores done while getting a good workout.
How do you ensure your body gets all the good stuff it requires?
Smoothies are a great way to fuel my body. I start my day with one followed by breakfast.
Can you share a favourite recipe?
My favourite is a mixed berry smoothie.
- 1 banana
- Handful of berries (eg blueberries and strawberries)
- 1 spoon of flaxseed
- ½ cup of almond milk
- Top off with chia seeds and a sprinkle of cinnamon and honey
You lead a healthy fitness-focused lifestyle and obviously intend to be a positive role model. How do you intend to manage this with your two girls?
It’s important to have a healthy relationship with food and movement. I introduced my home workout sessions to Sana before she could even walk and now it’s the same for Suri. I make it part of my lifestyle and something that is positive and fun. Sana now enjoys making smoothies and meals with me, so I think it’s safe to say that she’s following in my footsteps.
At the same time, it’s also important that the children understand the concept of balance.
If you look in the cupboards you’ll find some sweets and cake alongside the healthier foods. We set the best examples for our kids and I’m going to do my best to lead them to a healthy and happy life.
The tragic shooting of a man close to the Wits campus has highlighted the ongoing challenges around the costs of higher education. Is this something close to your heart?
Every death is a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers are with Mthokozisi Ntumba’s family. Education, and particularly female education, is proven to be a key driver of future economic development. For so many decades, black South Africans were excluded from fair educational opportunities. One of the other legacies of economic segregation is that people don’t have the generational wealth to afford to attend university. So, the #R10goesalongway campaign was born after a group of us had been discussing how to support tuition fees for poorer learners.
Through social media, we were able to raise R1m in donations in just 5 days from corporates, celebrities and the wider public.
It was an incredible effort by South Africans and the money will be disbursed to those who need it most.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.