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#Strongwoman and Miss SA 2017 Ade Van Heerden

Ade Van Heerden

To celebrate women’s month, we’ll profile a different #Strongwomen every week in August.

Doctor, lieutenant in the SANDF, and Miss SA 2017, Ade really is a #strongwoman and an inspiration to many South African women. Despite her busy everyday life, she always makes time to keep fit and lead a healthy lifestyle.

How did your fitness journey start?

I’ve always been an active person. In primary school I attained my Springbok colours in rhythmic gymnastics and never looked back. 

What have been some of your challenges and triumphs throughout your journey?

When leaving school, one also leaves school sport behind and I had to find out what else I loved doing. I turned to running and became an avid runner. At the age of 21 I ran the Comrades marathon, but unfortunately didn’t complete it after sustaining a calf injury at the 56km mark. 

What are your views on exercise and nutrition as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle?

A holistic approach to health is key. Most lifestyle diseases can be prevented with proper exercise and nutrition. It’s something I preach to all my patients. 

How do you find motivation and the energy to pursue your passions, your business and still stay active and healthy?

Discipline is the key to freedom. I always prioritise moving my body first thing in the morning, before the day and its challenges can get in the way. I also make sure that I cook my own meals 80% of the time, so that I know I am eating nutritious foods that my body needs. 

 Why do you think it is important to have balance?

Balance allows us to look after our bodies, but also to enjoy the small pleasures in life. If we are working out regularly and we eat nutritious foods most of the time, enjoying that pizza and glass of wine with friends just brings so much more joy. 

Take us through a day in your life.

I wake up at 05:15 for a cup of coffee and bible study.

Exercise 06:00-07:00

Quick shower and breakfast and straight to my clinic.

My shift usually ends at 7pm and during that time I treat anything from COVID patients, to diabetes, hypertensions and regular flu.

After work I head home to make dinner, read a book and jump staright into bed for an early night. I prioritise good sleep. 

What does your diet look like?

I focus on eating at least 30 different types of plant species in a week to keep my gut happy. I consume a moderate amount of protein and complex carbohydrates. Regardless, I try to listen to my body and what it needs. Some days I need more energy than others. Some days I can’t stomach the idea of a salad and pizza does the job. The 80/20 principal really works for me. 

What does your training look like? What kind of training do you believe in and why?

I do functional fitness, a combination between strength training and cardiovascular exercise. It is important to do training that you enjoy and this really is something I love. Being challenged by the weight you are lifting or to feel the burn of your lungs when running are things I enjoy. This exercise is good for my mind too. 

How do you stay mentally healthy and strong?

I prioritise my mental health by journaling on a regular basis, I spend lots of time in prayer and make sure that I keep in touch with family and friends. 

What message do you aim to portray to your followers? How do you aim to inspire them?

I want the ladies who follow me to know that I am not perfect. The world of social media is usually a curated, prestigious place and I want women to know that none of us are perfect. We all have bad days, cellulite, skin breakouts and we all, most definitely, cry for no reason sometimes. When woman can relate to my challenges, they can also start believing in the possibility of their dreams. 

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by the people closest to me. My mother’s unconditional love, my dad’s work ethic, my older sister’s kindness, my younger sister’s ability to persevere, and my partner’s ability to always look on the bright side of a situation. If I can be a culmination of these people, I will have achieved greatness.

What is your favourite #strongwomen quote?

“We rise by lifting others.”

Who inspires you to be a strong woman? 

Oh wow, I am inspired by so many women, it is hard to pick one. Every day I come across women who have started businesses, are single moms, run a family home, or become the CEO. All these women relentlessly give of themselves to the people around them, and that inspires me to be strong. We are multifaceted and we bring vulnerability and strength to any situation.  

Do you have a #strongwoman moment to share with us? 

The nursing staff at my clinic are mostly woman and they all have families, yet they give of themselves every day at the clinic testing and treating COVID patients. They put themselves at risk on a daily basis and wake up at 5am to get to work, leaving their families behind, only to get home by 9pm, not being able to hug their kids or kiss their husbands in order to keep them safe. The women are heros.

Author: Logan Leigh Rix

Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.

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