Keeping the King fit

Keeping the King fit

MASERU – WHEN Nthabiseng ’Matlhokomelo Motjamela was called to be King Letsie III’s personal trainer she did not believe what she was hearing.
It was in 2006, twelve years into her career as an aerobics and spinning instructor as well as fitness and personal trainer. She has been training the King and the Queen at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre.
“I was so scared to be His Majesty’s personal trainer but after meeting him and discussing his health issues, I was able to calm down,” Motjamela says.
For 12 years, Motjamela was used to be the dominating figure in the gym, instructing and telling her clients with a straight face the dos and don’ts of training.
Now here comes the King of Lesotho to be one of her trainees.
She says the title itself was intimidating enough to send shivers down her spine.
But since it was the King who called and said he wanted to be trained by her, she had to honour the call.

Motjamela says it is not easy at all to train Their Majesties because she has to think of the level of respect they command when she instructs them.
But she says they are always humble and eager to follow her instructions.
“This profession needs a person who is firm and who is able to apply the skills to help everyone regardless of their status,” Motjamela says, smiling.
Wearing maroon track pants, with fresh make up as she had just got out of the gym, her body showed that she was used to training and on good diet.
Talking about how the King responds to her training regime, she says over the years she has learnt to treat him like any other client so that he feels comfortable.
“They won’t be able to reach the targeted health goals if I place the respect I have for them above the training instructions I give them. There has to be a balance,” she says.
For example, she says the King’s schedule is very tight and if she gives in to that then he will naturally have excuses not to attend training sessions.

“No, they would not have enough time for training,” she says.
She says she is a “very tough and serious person when it comes to my profession”.
“Even my clients know me as a very tough person,” she laughs.
She says her firmness and her love for this profession helped her to be able to convince the King and the Queen that their commitment will help them to reach the health targets.
She says she was able to convince the King in all aspects to understand the importance and the need for training.
“Indeed his commitment helped him a lot to reach some of his health targets,” she says.

Motjamela says the overall performance of the King is very good and she learnt that he fully understands the importance of training and the consequences of dodging sessions.
“He is very passionate about keeping time although sometimes he skips some training sessions due to his tight schedule,’’ she says.
She says for a trainee to reach his or her health targets or any target, such a person has to be self-disciplined.
She learnt that the King has achieved more progress in disciplining the way he lives and the way he eats to maintain a healthy life style.
“He now understands training as a life style,” she says.
The King on many occasions in the company of his wife on weekends hiking.

She says throughout these years, she has been self-conscious that she is training the King, especially when it comes to toughness.
She manages to keep the training professional all these years so that she can be able to help the King to reach his health targets and goals.
“In the first month, the King had a muscle pull, I was so worried because that incident occurred to the King.”
She says she was so stressed to see to it that he got help quickly.
Motjamela says it happens often that when the King is training, he will just rest within the session like anybody could do.
“In such situations, I have to be very tough so that he can finish up the session he is supposed to take,” she says.

She says she is treating him like any other clients so that she can be able to do her work the way it has to be done.
“If you treat others differently from other clients, they are going to cause more trouble,” she says.
She says it requires a tough mentality to be a personal trainer.
“I am the only woman in the office of nine men, other women quit,” she says.
Motjamela says she encounters challenges daily but she has to be strong.
“If you are a female personal trainer, most clients won’t trust you,” she says.

She mentioned that most of her clients are women who have husbands who have insecurities when being trained by men.
“In this profession, there is still discrimination.”
She says a person has to be more brave.
Motjamela says being a personal trainer for the King is an honor to her, and she never thought that someday she would be training the King.
This also boosts her confidence even more that she is good at her work if the King still trusts her to maintain his health targets.
“I say this because he can still choose any personal trainer any time he wants,’’ she says.

Refiloe Mpobole

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