Meet Bianca Marais, your Biogen Face of Fitness Finalist 2021.

When she’s not training, you can find her outside, hiking in the mountains or diving in the ocean.

My fitness journey began at the age of 6 years old when I started ballet and modern dancing.

During primary school, I noticed I had a talent and passion for sprinting. During my high school career, I represented D12 and Gauteng in the 100m and 200m sprint events, and represented South Africa for ballet, modern and jazz dancing in 2011, 2017 and 2018. My passion for dance grew and I incorporated ballroom and Latin dancing into my regimen from 2018.

Even though I was active, I felt that I looked quite long and lanky and didn’t like this look.

The end of high school was when I started weight training to try and pick up some muscle and developed a passion for this form of exercise. This set the tone for my fitness journey ahead. For the past 6 years I have grown more passionate about the feeling and results that I achieve from being fit and active, and have modified my approach to exercising and weight training to achieve the fitness goals that I want.

My view on fitness has changed to one of holism ever since I started to see a chiropractor from the age of 12, and subsequently studied to become a qualified Doctor of Chiropractics.

I had scoliosis as a child, as well as many dancing injuries. I experienced first-hand how chiropractic work helped me with my condition, injury treatment and prevention. It also improved my body function to the point where I felt healthier and noticed that I could perform better. I see those same results in the patients that I treat. I also noticed that if my spiritual and mental game is strong, I feel healthier and function better as well.

Therefore, I also prioritise praise and worship, praying, and setting quiet time aside to re-focus and set my goals for the week. I have also come to realise that health and fitness extend far beyond looks and your mental state and that internal body function plays a vital role in the overall health of an individual.

Fitness has changed my life for several reasons.

Firstly, the degree that I have studied, the opportunities that I have received with my dancing career, and this competition would not be available to me if I never developed a passion for fitness in my younger years. I believe that my life would have taken a completely different course.

Secondly, fitness has given me my life. Being in the medical field, I fully understand how fitness has benefited my health internally and externally. I am healthy and alive today because I keep fit and fuel my body correctly.

Thirdly, fitness has helped me develop dedication and a stronger mindset. Fitness keeps me sane and provides me with an outlet from life stressors to re-focus and keep my mental health strong.

I believe if you start working on fitness from a young age, it shows you that hard work looks like and how you can achieve goals. It lays a foundation for consistency, and prioritises yourself and your health to help you become a better version of yourself in whatever area of your life you find yourself in.

My approach to fitness has always been multi-dimensional.

I sometimes get bored of doing the same thing over again and love to mix things up. I also believe that I need to constantly be challenged by what I am doing, otherwise I feel that I am not growing. I am always active and try to incorporate fitness into activities that I enjoy.

For the most part, I love and focus specifically on weight training daily. I also participate in ballet and contemporary classes now and then as it challenges my muscles with a different type of strength and flexibility, and it provides me with the aerobic exercise I need to keep fit. Pilates and a good stretch class have always been something I have incorporated into my life from a very young age.

Fitness wears so many different hats for different people; for some, it’s weight training, CrossFit, yoga, Pilates, cycling or, as kids, doing extramural or outdoor activities. If the blood is pumping, and those endorphins are released to make you feel good, you’ve found your fit.

I like to incorporate dynamic movements into my exercises instead of only stationary static movements.

I usually train around one and a half hours at a time, depending on how I feel that day. I always warm up my muscles properly before I exercise with light dynamic movements to prevent any injury. I don’t love cardio so I would usually leave my cardio for my HIIT session, dancing or an outdoor activity.

I make sure I train every muscle group during the week:

  • Monday: Legs & glutes
  • Tuesday: Biceps & triceps with abs
  • Wednesday: Chest
  • Thursday: Shoulders with abs
  • Friday: Back
  • Saturday: High-intensity interval training and abs
  • Sunday: Rest day

I stretch after each training session to maintain muscle flexibility and range of motion, especially the muscle group I had trained for the day. I also do not stick to my training schedule religiously. If I do not feel like training that muscle group for the day, I will swap it with a muscle group I feel like training. I also am a big believer in listening to my body. If I feel burned out or extremely sore, I will take a rest day and make up the muscle group I missed on another day.

Training and physical sessions are extremely important to me, but so is taking some time to live life with the people that you love.

Therefore, maintaining a balance and living a relaxed lifestyle helps me to decompress and be my best both physically and mentally. I prioritise time for myself to refocus and recover. Any free time I have, I spend with my family, boyfriend, and friends. I believe that surrounding yourself with the right people and support structures is just as important for your health.

My favourite product from Biogen is RAGE Pump NOS.

I have tried many different types of pre-workouts. Some provide me with very little stimulation, while others overstimulate me and I get nauseous, itchy, and tingly everywhere. This Biogen product is the only pre-workout that I have found that provides me with the correct amount of stimulation and energy I need to get through my intense workouts with absolutely no side effects. It makes me feel ready and motivated for a good session, which is helpful in today’s times because life gets busy and we end up feeling tired. It enables me to push myself much harder during my training sessions – far beyond what I would do without it.

Fly high with the eagles but eat with the mossies”.

I live by this motto. It means that you need to have dreams, goals, aspirations and work hard at achieving these things. You need to go out there and achieve great things. However, at the end of the day, you need to always remain humble, grateful and remember the roots that made you.

I get inspired when I see other women being real and normalising realistic body goals and images.

I am surrounded by women in my family who all have completely different body shapes. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is what inspires me. So, inspiration should come from setting a goal that is attainable and sustainable. My advice to women is to make lifestyle choices that will equip them to feel their best and function as their best selves. To help them achieve this, I need to be myself, and educate and use my knowledge to guide and help them in the right direction.

Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different cultures and genetics and woman need to understand this. Therefore, the road to being healthy and fit is different for everyone, and it is important to not compare yourself to others. Being healthy extends far beyond your physique and requires a good balance between your mental state, internal body function and support structures. You also need to be patient with yourself and your process, and trust that what you want to happen will happen in the time that it is meant to happen, provided you never give up and always give it your best.

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You'll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

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