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Recent studies have revealed that South Africa is one of the most obese countries in the world and it doesn’t help that I am writing about this after an unhealthy lunch. And that’s the problem isn’t it? We are generally too lazy or too busy to cook and we let fast food companies feed us, leaving us grossly unhealthy.
While we probably have some of the most sophisticated health centres on the continent, we are, once again, too busy to go there although we have the member-ships.
So it comes as good news when Trace Sports Stars gives us Block Workout, an intense show about exercising with ordinary things outside the formal gym.
Founded by UK fitness instructor, Terroll Lewis, Block Workout demystifies the need to work out at a gym as he believes you can be just as fit outside the Planet Fitness or Virgin Active regimen.
“Staying healthy is more than just working out and eating well, it is a lifestyle,” said Lewis who was in the country to film some episodes of the show.
“I have heard that South Africa has some of the highest figures when it comes to obesity and I just thought it best to bring our methods down here,” he said.
Like most young people in the UK, Lewis grew up in a gang environment where he too found himself as a gang member. It seemed like life in prison taught him discipline and unorthodox workout techniques. Upon leaving, he looked around for a gym to join but discovered it wasn’t as easy as he thought.
“They wanted direct debits only, and since I had no bank account, it was hard to get that done,” he said.
Losing hope in the system, Lewis had an ingenious idea of going to a nearby children’s park where he started doing exercises.
“I went to Brixton Park which was close to where I lived and I started doing pull-ups on the kids’ swings. I remember mothers who brought their children looking at me working out in wonder. I made some recordings of these exercises and posted them on YouTube,” he said.
Soon people took notice and little by little they all made their way to the park to train with him.
“I do this all for free. I get mixed people from doctors to ex-gang members all coming through to train together. I also get some people calling me to come and train them in other areas and I charge £3, which is just for my transport.
“I love what I do so much that I will do it for free. I just love inspiring people and I feel gyms are ripping people off so if you can’t afford the monthly gym fees, I show you how to stay in shape,” he said.
This is what brought the man to South Africa where he filmed some episodes of his techniques with some of South Africa’s celebrities who include DJ Cleo and Siphiwe Tshabalala.
“I have had so much fun in Johannes-burg, but I must say I have eaten a lot more here than I have ever done. There is meat everywhere.
“I was thinking to myself that in London if you bought the same amount of meat that you eat here then you would be broke,” he said laughing.
“But I enjoyed the workouts. The people we had on the show were determined and friendly. I love Johannesburg. Everyone here is happy to greet you which is not the case in London,” he added.
• Block Workout airs on Trace Sports Stars at 10.30pm every Wednesday.