Women’s Month: Local gym member speaks to the importance of inclusivity

Rose Ilunga, who resides in Milnerton, is a thriving example of commitment resulting in success, and she believes in celebrating those achievements! “As a woman, Self-celebration helps to foster increased self-confidence and self-worth, empowering women to recognise and embrace their strengths, achievements, and unique qualities. By actively celebrating themselves, women can break free from society’s expectations and stereotypes, instead embracing their individuality and standing proud in their own skin,” says Rose.

On the road to being healthier and showing up for herself, Rose has signed up at her local gym – Ignite Fitness in Milnerton. “My main objective is to lose cm around my waist as well as gain muscle; I want to not only feel strong but also look it.” she laughs.

When searching for her fitness partner, Rose was looking for a gym partner that really spoke to her mindset and her body type, “I don’t want to be boxed into a specific body type or size. My body fluctuates and my goals change, I wanted a partner that will be there to support me on my road to success; a partner that understands the value exercise has on all of us. I found that at the Ignite Fitness team. It wasn’t only about fitting in but rather, standing out and achieving the goals I set for myself” says Rose excitedly.

“My fitness journey has certainly not been a straight and narrow road; in fact, a rollercoaster is a better way to describe it.”  As with many of us, at first, it was going really well for Rose, with the help of her Fitness Coach, but as the journey progressed so did her need to look more like the Fitness Influencers you see online resulting in trying various exercises and diets she saw online. “I was doing more damage than good at this stage in my journey, and I had to really have a pep talk with myself to get back to my coach’s plan to achieve my goals,” says Rose.

“Going to the gym is not always easy, I am sure many can relate, but I always remind myself of the journey completed and the goals ahead and I celebrate the small wins. The vibe at Ignite certainly helps to keep me on track too”, she laughs. “I love a little boogie on the music,” she adds.

“In addition and what I think is really important, is that your gym partner/facility/community needs to understand and value creating a safe, inclusive, and judgment-free space, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and supported in their fitness goals. On my journey, I don’t only feel like I’ve contributed to my own well-being but also joined a movement towards a cultural shift of acceptance and celebration of all bodies,” adds Rose.

What really stood out for Rose is that an experience from her mom speaking negatively about her body has really motivated her to make the change. “Sometimes I train purely to show my mom that I can – in fact – do it!” she says. “My mom has been complimenting me more and more which is kind and nice change in behavior,” says Rose. “I cannot wait to see what I will achieve in the next few months!” says Rose excitedly.

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