TV and radio personality, model and MC, Liezel van der Westhuizen has a demanding career. But that’s just one side of the former M-Net Idols presenter’s life. The other side is her passion for staying fit. She’s not afraid to try new ways of doing so.
“One of the first sporting activities I took part in as a youngster in Pretoria was swimming. I remember my first lesson and how much I loved it. My parents always encouraged my sister Monique and me to try every sporting activity and find the one we enjoyed the most. In high school I played netball and hockey. I only started running at university when my parents joined a local running club in Pretoria. We would often do races together. My sister and I would do various open water swims on the weekend as well,” she says.
How Liezel stays fit
Over the last few years, Liezel has taken part in Ironman South Africa, Dusi Canoe Marathon, Midmar Mile, Breede River Summer Canoe Series, Cycle Tour and a number of sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons.
So how does she fit training sessions into her busy schedule? “It stems from the training advice I received from Capetonian multisporter Raoul de Jongh. He told me that it’s quality not quantity when it comes to training, so train smart. I have learned to balance my training with my work schedule. I normally plan my training for the week on a Sunday to fit in around my work schedule.” There is no such thing as a typical day for Liezel because she freelances for five different media companies: Expresso, 94.5KFM, Airports Radio, Carnival Radio and 48 Hours TV. “I’m at work at 4am for the breakfast show, and try to fit in an hour session after work at 9am, but most of my training is done in the late afternoon.” Cross training is very important to Liezel. “It improves cardiovascular fitness and helps balance and strengthen specific muscles, so what’s not to like about it?!” she enthuses.
Recently Liezel has started SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boarding, which is becoming more and more popular along the coast of South Africa. “I was invited by Guy Bubb from SUP Club Cape Town to come enjoy an afternoon of SUP boarding along the canals of the V&A Waterfront. I wasn’t too familiar with the sport but totally fell in love with it from the moment I tried it. A week later I took part in my first SUP race around the canals to raise funds for the SA SUP Team who are heading to Peru later this year. I now SUP three to four times a week.” Last year she also started surfing when former SA surfer, Seth Hulley, invited her to try out the sport. “I remember being too scared to try it out but Seth was so patient. I now only try smaller waves at Muizenberg on a longboard over weekends. I wish I could surf more often.
“Cycling and triathlon have helped me to build a good fitness base, and the swim training has helped a lot with my surfing. Paddling has added to my SUP’ing and helped me with my balance on the board. I encourage anyone to try multisport and just to have fun with any sport that you try.”
Read how she juggles work and play in the full article in our March/April 2013 issue. Photos by Nick Muzik
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