Joseph is proof positive that lifestyle changes can last


For living proof that anyone, no matter how unfit or inactive, can embrace exercise and experience its long-term benefits, look no further than Joseph Matlhong, sports officer in the Directorate Student Life on the campus in Vanderbijlpark.

It is hard to believe that he was bullied at school for being slightly overweight. He does however feel that the bullying and his negative body image as a child contributed towards his passion and dedication in sport.


“I know that talk is cheap and that it takes real guts and determination to make positive changes to one’s lifestyle, but I am also living proof that it can be done and sustained,” says Joseph.


A self-confessed sport fanatic, he actively takes part in tennis, athletics, soccer, chess, karate and mind sports.  As a sport officer, Joseph also oversees the campus’ inter-residence league and the staff football league, and heads up the campus fitness club, which aims to get staff and students active and healthy.


Those health benefits are real


It goes without saying that physical activity and exercise have immediate and long-term health benefits that improve our quality of life.


Being more active can help you lower your blood pressure, boost your levels of good cholesterol, improve circulation, keep your weight under control and prevent bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis. These benefits in turn add up to fewer medical expenses, interventions and medication.


The club, which was founded back in 2012, is Joseph’s pride and joy and he is quick to tell you that healthy living encapsulates more than a mere fitness routine. “Crash diets, overly aggressive exercise routines and quick fixes that promise you maximum results in the shortest possible time are all snares on the road to optimal health and fitness,” he says.


Results count


Over the past seven years Joseph has had to work hard to motivate staff to join the club, and he has found that his best marketing tool is the results obtained by colleagues.


He laughingly shares the story of how he had to change the club’s name from “jogging club” to “fitness club” because people were “totally intimidated” by the prospect of running across the campus grounds after a day at the office.


At present, the club meets five times a week, which includes Saturday mornings, for just under two hours per session. During the sessions, participants of all ages and fitness levels are put through their paces in what Joseph calls his “crossover fitness routine”.  It includes elements of adventure boot camp, CrossFit, cardio and weight training.


Asked if anyone can take part, regardless of how unfit they are, Joseph explains that all exercises start off from a zero base, meaning that as a participant’s fitness level increases, so does the intensity of the fitness regimen.


His greatest sense of satisfaction comes when he can see participants reach their fitness goals and by doing so, take charge of their physical health and wellness.


What does he do when not in the gym, training staff and students or facilitating sporting activities on campus? He watches sport on television, of course!


For more information about the fitness club, please send Joseph an email.  The training sessions are free of charge.

Joseph (right) takes members of the club through their paces.


Would you like to join them? At present, the fitness club meets five times a week, including Saturday mornings.