Commonwealth Games silver medallist Henricho Bruintjies admits that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced him to not only rethink what happens on the athletics track but in life itself.
‘Sometimes, one’s life as an athlete can become really small. All that matters is the next race, being faster than the previous time. Then lockdown happened. Suddenly there were no athletics meetings. We were not even allowed to train on the track. It got me thinking and made me realise the importance of planning for life after athletics,’ the former South African 100m-record holder (9.97sec) explained.
‘I have been fascinated by the fitness industry since I can remember. The rules are simple. To become fit takes hard work and discipline. There are never any shortcuts. But nothing comes close to the sense of achievement one feels if you can stick to what you set out to achieve.
‘That is why I decided to qualify myself as a fitness instructor. I am currently doing an online course. I also started coaching people online. My aim is to guide people to achieve the physique they have always dreamt about or simply to be fit or even lose weight.
‘What I have realised early on is that you should never force someone to do anything against their will. My role as an instructor is only to give guidelines. The rest is up to you,’ the Tuks sprinter said.
Bruintjies is not really one to brag, but he can’t help but to casually mention that his ’21 Day Challenge’ seems to be working. Some of the people he is coaching have already lost up to 10kg. He also has received quite a few testimonials from fitness fans saying that they are physically stronger.
If people can only do three exercises a day, what should it be?
‘Body squats, “Jumping Jack” and pushups. It is a quick and easy routine.’
Bruintjies’ success has led to him encouraging some of his training partners and fellow athletes to think about a job in the fitness industry. Some are starting to do so, which excites him.
‘All athletes should realise there will come a day when you will race your last race. What are you then going to do? Every one of us should think about that.’
The 26-year-old has not given up on his own dreams. There’s still next year’s Olympic Games. Even getting a medal there. But it is a case of first things first. When back on the track, it is all going to be about consistency.
‘My aim will be to run 10 seconds flat nearly every time I race. If I can do that I know it is only going to be a matter of time before the big breakthrough race happens.’
Photo: Henricho Bruintjies and Akani Simbine at the 2018 Commonwealth Games