Fitness Instructor, Anisa Essop has helped countless women become fitter, healthier and stronger. Anita is a survivor of gender-based violence (GBV) but her resilience and power are phenomenal. Anisa was married to an abusive drug-addict who nearly destroyed her life.
After escaping nearly a decade of abuse she started on a recovery journey through fitness and sharing her story. She has found her purpose, helping others “assist people with their physical and mental health, as well as a healthy lifestyle”. She has been a fitness trainer for the past 15 years and has started her own brand: Anisa Fitness. She adds that teaching others how to take control of their health and fitness is what she enjoys most.
A passion close to her heart is her community outreaches – which mainly gives Anisa a reason to reach out to the less fortunate. Her target market is people that struggle financially and cannot afford to go to gyms. She goes out to the rural areas in Cape Town and conducts classes just to give people hope and a sense of comfort during uncertain times like COVID-19. She started this within the community a year ago, going out once a month and gathering people from Nyanga, Blue Downs and Khayalitsha.
Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.
I was married 9 years to an abusive drug addict. I got 2 beautiful children from my marriage. Because of the physical, emotional, and mental abuse I went through, I found myself eating more only because I felt alone. I suffered from low self-esteem from everything I went through. Sadly, my kids experienced and witnessed what their mum was going through and that destroyed me. I shot up from 56kgs to 128kgs. It never got better! Many times, he would try to kill me and it was at that moment I realised that I cannot be the only person going through this. My passion has always been fitness and I realised I cannot die this way… So, I made up my mind! I needed to get my body back and my kids deserve a better life! I lost the weight in 7 months to 72kgs by strictly eating clean without training because I was not allowed to leave the house without supervision.
I then had another problem, excess skin. I looked horrible! I got a shocking quotation from the plastic surgeon but that served as my inspiration and used my knowledge of water-resistant training and hit the pool. I worked out intensely every day and hung on to the vision of wanting to help others that are going through the same thing. I eventually got divorced and continued to hold on to my vision of wanting to help others. I dropped down to 65kgs. I became a Physical Education Teacher for 2 years where I discovered not only are adults going through abuse but so do children. In our training sessions I got to learn how Grade 1 to Grade 7 girls suffer with identity, broken homes, and all types of abuse. I also taught them self-defense to protect themselves. I then went into partnership with a doctor and had a business, Queens Fitness Centre in Queenstown. I was a part-time chauffer for doctors, lawyers as I absolutely love driving.
AnisaFitness reflects who I truly am. With all the knowledge I have in the fitness industry, being a choreographer, Aqua Instructor, Boot Camp Instructor, Personal Trainer, Motivational Speaker, working with corporate & community outreaches in rural areas through fitness and feeding projects, I fused everything into a platform for people that are lost, alone, don’t know where to start with health, fitness, abuse, needing inspiration etc.
I have learnt that there are so many people in South Africa that are in similar situations of abuse across all ages and races. I have also learnt that I have a great calling in my life to be an inspiration to others and I had to go through all these tough times to become stronger and achieve ANYTHING I set my mind on and be an example to others.
Please tell us a little more about how your company came about.
I have been a fitness instructor for many years in many gyms but my heart was always to help those that are helpless, people with low self esteem, abused and do not have access to gyms. I decided to create AnisaFitness on social media to help thousands of lives across the globe to get their confidence back mentally, physically and emotionally. AnisaFitness is a platform to assist corporate companies with stress and team building. I specialise in motivational talks across the globe, fitness events and home personal training.
Many people are working from home during the pandemic. Do you have any lifestyle/nutrition/ diet and exercises suggestions to help them feel better and stay focused during the day?
My AnisaFitness program has a way of assisting people working from home to chose short and easy workouts to get them kickstarted in the morning. They have various meals to choose from each day as well for after-work workouts to help offload the stress.
Please can you share how eating right changed your life any lessons that you have learnt along the way.
Let’s be real, food is our best friend or our enemy. Firstly, we need to identify with our downfalls as everyone’s addictions and shortcomings are not the same. I understood being 128kgs, that the ONLY reason I had the weight is because of my mind set! I needed to come to a point of “denouncing” strongholds over my life that was holding me back from my ultimate purposes and reasons why I needed to look after MYSELF! Food is everything in achieving your goals! I have learnt that I am not like the next person. My body is different to others but I needed to learn to love myself in order to achieve my best for me.
Should you be busy with any interesting initiatives, please tell us a little more about it.
I have been seriously engaged with building people from this traumatizing pandemic that has taken so many lives, jobs, hopes and visions by posting free motivational videos and workouts on Facebook and Instagram.
What is it that you are passionate about?
I’m ABSOLUTLEY obsessed with helping people in fitness. I love God’s people.
What is your personal motto?
There is NOTHING more powerful than a made up mind.
What advice would you give a woman to follow her dreams?
Remember who you are! Remember why you wake up each day! Remember that there is nobody like you. Remember that God loves you.
Who is your inspirations and why?
My inspiration is Janet Jackson, Basia and Gloria Estefan because I saw myself in them at a very young age.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
You are original! You are unique. Be the best version of yourself that you could ever be.
What is your daily affirmation:
Each day is not about you! Too many people need you.
Your favourite quote:
What you put in is what you get out.
Which book can you read over and over?
What are your 3 business tips?
- Have a vision.
- Stay focused.
What would you say is your secret to success?
Passion and vision.
One piece of general advice that you’d like to share?
Never let your situations or problems hold you back from being the best version of yourself!
Is there anything that Xtraordinary Women can do to assist you on your journey?
I would love to reach as many ladies across the globe by marketing my brand and exposing Xtraordinary women BECAUSE we are Extraordinary beings.
Submitted by: Clayton Morar Media