Maite Makgatho started her body-building journey as a means to relieve stress. Pictures: Supplied
Maite Makgatho started her body-building journey as a means to relieve stress. Pictures: Supplied

Little time to rest when building a body to die for

By Don Makatile Time of article published Sep 14, 2021

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If we all deal with grief differently, it cannot be fair that other people handle adversity so admirably, and to good effect.

Maite Makgatho started her body-building journey as a means to relieve stress. Pictures: Supplied

Maite Makgatho lost her son in 2014 and started hitting the gym just to cope with her devastating loss. In no time she was a gym bunny with little else to do to occupy her time.

Maite says some women fear the stigma associated with being butch.

Today she’s an Instagram sensation with hordes of followers drooling at her physique which, as the cliché goes, is a body to die for!

She posts videos of herself going through her paces and her account, Maite Makgatho Fitness draws even the conservative types to steal a glance.

The Polokwane-born lass says she’s an entrepreneur, a personal trainer, sports nutritionist, sports psychologist, social media manager, pageant director – all after a setback that could have seen many mere mortals curl up and wallow in their loss.

Where else has the loss of a child been so good to a mother!

“My journey began after my son died. I started going to the gym, trying to keep myself busy and in no time I could see results. I became an addict,” she says, as if it was one of the most natural things to do.

“I always believed that when you have a slim body you are fit and healthy. I do more weights than running because I want to build more muscle.”

The result was a toned body that fits snugly into her philosophy of life. “I do take wine once in a while but I do not smoke,” she says.

Asked who inspires her to do what she does, she doesn’t name a role model but says “the results inspired me”. By results she means the transformation of her grieving self when she went to gym “just to release stress” after the passing of her son.

Three years after laying her son to rest, she was power-lifting, winning the Potchefstroom Classic that same year in 2017 and coming second in the North West Championships a year later.

In 2019 she switched to bodybuilding.

“I won second spot in the International Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (IBFF) sports models,” she responds, reeling off more of her honours, “another second place in the 2019 IBFF in North West, third place in Gauteng 2019, fifth place at the 2019 Miss Fitness Model. I will be competing at the IBFF 2021 on 17 October at Emeralds Casino”.

And that body says, Aye, she isn’t just bragging!

“We have more black men than women in this sport as black women still fear that stigma attached to being butch. Many have been told they can’t have kids in future.”

Her dedication has earned her a spot on Radio 2000 every Tuesday at 11:45 where she preaches to fitness enthusiasts eager to emulate her.

She cheats on her diet “sometimes, especially when I’m not preparing for competition”. But when the time comes for the hard slog, she is very strict on what she eats. “Less acids and more fruit and veg.”

“Fitness isn’t just about going to the gym and eating healthy. It is a lifestyle. It gets tough sometimes and we fall but the important thing is to rise each time we fall. You don’t have to be in great shape to start. You have to start to be great. Trust the process. The results will not come in a day.”

The Randburg-based fitness guru says she has a day job: “I’m a development manager for a debt collection company.”

“I have very little spare time. I use it to rest.”

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