I recently sat down with inspirational fitness guru Angelique Van Der Linde who chatted to me about her wellness journey, her passion for law, as well as the joys of becoming a mother…
As a businesswoman, fitness expert and mother, I know the struggle of juggling work with being a parent to my daughter Bella Sky. I decided to interview the lovely ‘Fitness Angel’ Angelique who is fast becoming a worldwide sensation. Known for her involvement in the fitness and lifestyle boutique shops, JVL Wellness and Lifestyle Centres, and distribution hubs situated across SA, she has taken the fitness industry by storm.
Since winning the Couples Division at the Fame World Championships and bringing back gold to SA in the Fitness America Pageant for the Bikini division, Angelique has drawn a lot of attention and she promises that the best is yet to come!
Here’s what she had to say:
Where did your fitness journey start, and where is it now?
I was an overweight and frustrated ballet dancer and I just had enough of yo-yo dieting without seeing any results. I have attempted every single diet on the market and I just reached a stage where I did not believe that there was an answer for me. I wasn’t obese, but I was a lot heavier than one would expect. I think that a place of utter desperation struck and the fitness bug bit at the right time. I started meditating on the positive points of my physique and doing training that was aimed at changing my lifestyle.
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The moment I found a training regime that I believed in and enjoyed, the result came by itself. Everyone around me was as surprised as I was. My own fitness classes really encourage me to train even on my “off” days (my clients motivate me) and I have just never stopped since.
I started teaching at the age of 17 and it has just evolved into a lifelong commitment to inspiring others to live their best life. This industry keeps me focused and excited on health. I met Jacques – now my husband – and since then, healthy living has become such a natural part of who I am. You only get one mind and one body, there will be no second chance at health and this thought has kept me grounded to focus on a healthy mind, body and soul regardless of how my physical body is feeling on a particular day.
Now I only live to settle for the victorious dream, an aspiration which differs for every individual but I goal you need to have defined in your life.
Tell us more about your flagship store, which opened in December?
With in-house advice and regulation of our clients’ progress, JVL offers guidance to pregnant ladies, fitness gurus or corporate individuals.
Getting into the ultimate shape is not just a goal but a lifestyle with JVL. JVL stands for “just victorious living” which in essence encompasses the mantra of our company. Physical health will lead to financial wealth, spiritual health and so much more – it’s not just about training hard, eating right or using the right supplementation – it’s about even more than that.
The new outlet based in Menlyn Park Shopping mall, Pretoria is a gathering space for like-minded health conscious individuals seeking the answer of sustainable weight-loss, health and all round better living. It’s truly the look and feel of what the JVL brand stands for: a friendly, inviting and comfortable environment where we comfort our guests in knowing that they will not have to settle for anything less than the dream.
Could you elaborate on your Fit Club Events – what they entail, and what guests could hope to gain by attending?
These events are quite close to my heart in that it was an initiative which was born from my aerobics classes to encourage and strengthen individuals from all walks of life. I realised how uneducated people were in their training regime and I wanted to share my knowledge because I knew how many people trained incorrectly and knowing they will never attain results in that way was frustrating to me. I wanted to start a fun event.
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The first one we held was for my birthday and we held it in a club with lights and loud music – just the way I like it. Ladies felt like they could get out and have a super fun time while focusing on themselves and their health goals. The events just grew from there. We handed out goodie bags filled with fun, new fitness products, gave guests some pre-workout supplementation and snacks and coffee after the event. It’s a toning event showing people fun exercises they can do anywhere and at any time. Anyone can join and it’s suitable for all levels of fitness. Just come with an open mind and expectant heart to receive a new outlook on health and wellness.
Most of us know you as the super-toned, bubbly fitness individual called Angel, yet by day you double up as a kick-ass attorney! Can you tell us a little more about this other Angel – and which one you identify with more?
Life is unfortunately about more than just being fit, and the way I keep my mind intrigued for now, is by practicing law through my own firm, Schoeman Attorneys (www.aschoemanattorneys.co.za)
Physical - combined with mental - strength is crucial in today’s day and age. Women must be better equipped, be able to do it all and remain looking half decent while doing it. It’s quite an impossible task but finding a balance is key. My fields of practice include, corporate law, family law, immigration law and offshore investments.
I honestly can say I relate to both my legal and fitness persona and sometimes it is quite a struggle in keeping them separate. There is a special love I share for both industries even though they are so far apart.
You joined the Mommy Club about 11 months ago. What was your pregnancy like?
What a journey, what a blessing! My pregnancy was truly only a gift God could have bestowed on me. Apart from feeling fat, sluggish and tired it was honestly a great experience. I did not train for the first trimester as I wanted to be sure I give my little boy the best possible beginning to life. I tend to train a bit hard and I just knew I would overdue training if I did not stop completely. This was truly the hardest thing for me during pregnancy.
I have been training every day since I can remember. But, my human’s health and wellness had to now be placed before my own. In my second trimester, I started training again and giving classes. You get this burst of energy during this time in pregnancy and as long as I felt well, my doctor gave me the ‘go-ahead’ to train as hard and much as I wanted to due to my physical fitness pre-pregnancy.
I trained up until about 35 weeks, where after I would go for calm walks and I could really contribute the small amount of weight gained and little water retention to my training during pregnancy. This is such a special time in any women’s life, and you really need to savour each moment. Our strong Shiloh boy was born on 15 June 2016 – a day I will treasure forever.
As a fitness icon, did you feel a lot of pressure to ‘bounce back’ from your baby?
I started off by just loving to work out and being able to lose weight at the same time. This has never changed and this is still my outlook. Through the years I have learnt to understand that some days you look better and firmer than others and that’s something you need to make peace with early on when pursuing a career in wellness.
People will always judge you on your physical appearance, but this does not define who I am. I needed to be comfortable at 5% body fat and when I’m a bit heavier. I try never to let myself go completely, I’m always a few kilograms away from being where I know I can realistically push my body to. I’m a healthy size for me, and I’m truly content in this mind-set.
After pregnancy, the only thing I felt the pressure of was longing to feel like my old self again. I have a big fitness class I had to teach within 3 months after baby so I needed to get fit fast. So yes, off course you want to lose the weight, but I knew beforehand that it would take time. But I needed to get my fitness level up quick, which I was able to do. I really think this helped me because before my body knew it, it had to be able to endure mild training again.
If this works for you, then I say each to their own. Some women can’t do it this way around, and that’s also fine. Be where you are now and just be acceptable of that but know your goal and keep focused on whatever that may be.
What does a regular day in the life of Angelique look like?
I attempt to train whenever I can these days and wherever I find a spot to train in. If that means at 05:00 in my kitchen then that’s the session for the day. Most of the time my evening classes are the only hard sessions I get to do in the week so then I just go all out. If it’s a warm day my best go-to exercise remains going for a run with baby! I’ll get to my office around 08:00 and then work on litigation matters I might for the day at my law firm. When I get back home it’s all about baby! Feeding time, bathing and just taking in the beautiful gift I get to enjoy after a long hard day at work. Life used to be all work for me, but now that has changed and I needed to learn to find a healthy balance in my day. The baby activities are the best! Swimming and music classes with baby gets a slot into my routine whenever I can manage to make time for this. I still struggle with this as I know most moms do! But that’s okay, too…
Can you summarise your general health and fitness philosophy in a few words?
You can only ever settle if it’s for your dream. Living a victorious life is about so much more than just looking good. It’s truly a mind, body and soul intervention into your life. If one of these structures are out of place, the balance will be lost. Eat health, train hard and use supplements you truly trust in! Life is too short, do it all if you can. Be it all if you want, but always know that balance is the one commodity that could lead to your success or downfall. Keep a positive outlook and focus on living a life filled with victory!
Follow Angelique and JVL on social media today:
Facebook: JVL Wellness & Lifestyle Centres; Angelique Van Der Linde,
Twitter: THEJVLNETWORK; Angelique VDL
Instagram: TheJVLlifestyle; Angel VDL
YouTube: Angelique Van Der Linde (MrsJAVL)