My Story...

I am the co-owner of an MMA gym in Cape Town, Pride Fighting Academy which I run with my husband. I am a qualified yoga teacher, personal trainer, and prof MMA fighter. I am also a mom of two.

Empowering Women and bringing their inner B.O.S.S to life

Balanced. Optimal. Strong. Sensual

From drug addict to wellness junkie...

From drug addict to wellness junkie I am the co-owner of a MMA gym in Cape Town, Pride Fighting Academy which I run with my husband. I am a qualified yoga teacher, personal trainer, and competitive MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athlete. I am also a mom of two. I am passionate about helping busy women combine FUNctional movement patterns into fun workouts that build strong and healthy bodies. This wasn’t always the case though Full Disclosure! I am a recovering drug addict. I started using drugs and alcohol when I was 9 years old! It started with stealing my dad’s weed and booze and escalated to sniffing glue, butane gas, and Tippex thinners. By the time that I was 13 years old, I was running with a much older crowd and doing a lot of mandrax and ecstasy. By 17 years old I was a cocaine addict needing to use daily. I managed to use pretty ‘successfully’ for a while. I maintained grades at school and held down my jobs.

By 20, things came crashing down quite hard! I was stealing from work to buy drugs, I had messed up many of my relationships with friends and family and I was getting into trouble with the law. It was only when I was faced with the hard truth of losing a friend (my now husband) that I realized just how unhealthy my life had become- and I finally sought help.

When I was using drugs and alcohol, my life revolved around late nights, very little sleep, and a very poor diet- plus of course all the toxins I was ingesting from drugs and alcohol. At the time, I may not have looked all that unhealthy on the outside but inside my body was screaming.

Growing up, I was always ‘the skinny girl’, so much so that I would get teased for it. I struggled to put on weight or muscle and I lacked confidence in my body’s abilities. I felt weak and fragile.

In my early twenties, I made lifestyle changes from hanging out in clubs and partying to being sober, but I hadn’t found a healthy replacement or habit. I started working out at the local gym but felt bored and unstimulated. It all felt very repetitive and like a lot of hard work! I dragged myself to gym maybe once a week but realized I had a lot of internal health work to do too.

Instead of falling in love with exercise, I spent time working on a healthy mind and healing my internal body. It took time to unlearn the bad coping mechanisms and rebuild the low self-esteem and poor self-image that I had carried around with me for two decades. I got married and really struggled to fall pregnant. It took nearly four years to start to undo the damages I had done to my organs and headspace from the years of drug abuse. I eventually fell pregnant and now have two beautiful kids by the grace of God.,

It was only after having my second child when my fitness journey really started. I started showing up for classes at the gym my husband ran (the one we now own together) in a bid to “get my pre-baby body back” and got stuck into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This is where the bug for competing really hit me! Since then I have competed in multiple BJJ and MMA competitions. 

After having my two babies, I set off on a mission to start my own marketing agency. The agency was a roaring success, but whatever startup required, many sleepless nights slogging it out crouched over a laptop. In three short years, we grew from a 2 person startup from my living room coffee table to a fully comprehensive 20 team agency in the centre of town servicing top-tier clients.
 
By this point, I was working 12-14 hour days, mostly at my desk and I was undersleeping and over caffeinating to make it all happen!
 
Just before I turned 30 I was inspired to write a book about surviving and thriving through the startup phase of business. You can actually buy that here 
 Writing a book had always been a bucket list action for me. I was incredibly proud of it and how it was received but it sparked a realization that I was no longer happy with what I was doing with the 14 hours of my day. My life had started to feel a little empty. 
 
I really felt like I wanted to make more of an impact in people’s lives and marketing just didn’t feel like it was it for me anymore. It would take severe adrenal fatigue and an infection in my heart to finally put me flat on my back for long enough to really make some hard decisions for my future.
 
In late 2017 I began my own wellness journey, one that was not so much focused on losing fat or getting shredded, but more about my mental and emotional health. I needed to heal my relationship with food, alcohol, painkillers, and everything else I had been using to get me through the day. I found that once I started getting healthy on the inside, both mentally and physically, the rest really did follow.
 
I am so grateful for every tear and therapist session and doctor’s appointment on the road to recovery because it is what launched my deep passion to help women find themselves and become their best BOSS versions of themselves that they can be.

 

I love who I am when I am training for a competition or fight. It’s 12 weeks of laser focus on a goal and my mindset, diet, and body have my full attention-

These days, I get my highs from smashing my own wellness goals, loving my family hard, and helping other women reach their goals!

Training for a fight doesn’t feel like work for me, it’s FUN and getting fit is just the byproduct of the training and that’s the kind of energy and ethos that I aim to share with my clients. I don’t believe that wellness should feel like work. I don’t encourage obsessing over calories or any other unhealthy fixation that the fitness industry is guilty of perpetuating.

I am hyper-aware of helping my clients cultivate a healthy relationship with food and exercise that results in a sustainable healthy lifestyle. After all, a healthy outside starts with a healthy inside!

Over the last seven years, I have studied nutrition and exercise science, coaching as well as various training styles so that I can bring my clients a hybrid and holistic approach to overall wellness.

I have seen firsthand how moving my body daily and nourishing it with good food can impact both my physical body as well as my mental and emotional health and I want to help you do the same!

JESS x

 

Let's get to work...