By Andrew Carruthers, Editor-In-Chief
Starting off 2020 with one of the hottest girls currently dominating the bikini circuit is none other than the incredible and gorgeous Jenine van Der Merwe. Those that were avid readers of Muscle Evolution will know that we first featured Jenine 7 years ago in Issue 57 (Jan/feb 2013). This girl is simply amazing! Year after year her body has transformed into a masterpiece, and if you think she was hot back then, take a look at her now.
Full Name: Jenine Van Der Merwe
Trains: Moove Motion Fitness Club Secunda & Grip and Rip Cross-fit.
Competing for: 9 years
Training for: 10 years
Competition weight: 48kg
Most Notable Achievement: Obtained PCA Pro status in 2018
It’s been a while since we’ve featured you. What have you been up to since our last babe feature?
It’s been a busy few years for me. I’ve had 2 more babies, making me a mom of 3 now! I reached my ultimate fitness goal and received a PCA Pro card in 2018. I am also a qualified PCA Judge for the Gauteng region.
What are the biggest improvements you’ve made over the past few years?
Mentally I’ve made the most improvements. I’ve learned that this lifestyle has its ups and downs, giving you different shapes and sizes. All of which are perfectly fine and I own them all. I’ve found what works best to keep me in relatively good shape all year round. Physically I have more muscle maturity and slightly different proportions, some built and some bought.
Tell us a bit about your experience taking these new pics. Did you have fun?
It was tons of fun thank you. I really enjoy photoshoots! I was hoping you would demonstrate some poses for me again like last time though, but I guess you haven’t been practicing like I have.
What do you feel has changed the most about the Fitness Industry since we last saw you?
Social media has taken it over. Social media has become a vital tool for brand marketing because the reach is far greater. This gave birth to a wave of influencers who tell us what the most popular thing to do is every day. Some influencers have never done a bodybuilding show, have a bigger following and more sponsorship opportunities than some serious top quality athletes.
Is competing still the same for you these days or has your approach completely changed as opposed to when you first started competing?
It has changed for sure. In the beginning I was obsessed with the small things that don’t matter, like timing meals to the second and cardio (lol). I don’t stress about prep like I used to. I know what needs to be done and I get it done no matter how difficult it gets.
Tell us a few things about your training and how it has evolved over the years.
In the beginning I focused more on isolation exercises. A few years into training I found my body responds better to heavy compound exercises. I love to challenge myself with every workout. I want to be able to do all the difficult exercises with ease. I also enjoy functional training and that’s why I do a few cross-fit sessions every week as well.
What has been the single biggest thing you’ve learned about competing from when you first started competing to now?
That there are many different ways to prepare for a show and each can produce a completely different outcome and package on the day. I’m coached by Tarryn Zelow and she proves that the right combination of training techniques and diets can take a girl from 10th place to 1st. Finding a good coach that fits your needs is absolutely vital.
What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about training that you’ve figured out over the years?
The one that never loses traction is the misconception that when a woman lifts heavy weights, she will build huge muscles and end up looking manly. I wish it were that easy to build muscle, but unfortunately it’s not that easy for women and I wouldn’t still be wearing the same dress size I did before I started training.
How long have you been training now and tell us again what made you start competing?
I’m going into my 10th year now. I’ve trained through 2 pregnancies, which made it a lot easier to get back into shape.
The story of how I got into training is an embarrassing one. 10 years ago I was a tiny woman who weighed 41kgs. I was too weak to carry shopping bags. Nothing wakes you up quite like getting out flexed by a 70 year old lady who helps you take your bags to your car.
Where does the future lie? What are your future goals and aspirations both short term and long term?
Short-term I plan on doing the PCA Battle of the Titans Pro/Am and one International show. I would love to hold a Pro world championship title within the next 3 years. I also plan on furthering my studies in sports science and nutrition.
You’ve been with Evolve Nutrition now as a sponsored athlete for a few years. What’s your take on the brand and their products?
It’s been a very exciting time and Evolve are a great team. They’ve grown from strength to strength over the past few years and I am really grateful for all their support. I was never big on using supplements before I joined the team but since I’ve been using Evolve I’ve managed to reach new levels with both my training and my physique. I’m very happy with their range of products.
What do you love and dislike about the bodybuilding/fitness industry in SA?
I love that I’m not new to it. I love that I am in a position to help others and doing what I love. I dislike being criticised by strangers, who question my character from a single photograph. Social media has made it easier for bullies to pick on people. I’ve become used to it but I see a lot of athletes struggling to find a balance. Some athletes pick up a lot of weight after a show and are so ashamed that they hide from the world for fear of this criticism.
Who has inspired you throughout your competitive career and why?
My husband Neil is my biggest fan and supporter. There is nothing that I do, say or post that he doesn’t approve of. He has been working really hard on his own fitness goals and it’s inspiring to see. My 3 girls also inspire me. Naturally I want to show them that being in good shape or being a Pro does not give you the right to put others down.
Do you still eat tons of chocolate? At the last shoot we may have seen you smashing a slab before the shoot.
You know I am addicted, but I’m more hard-core now.
What’s your favourite cheat meal?
A good cheese and bacon burger and anything chocolate. And Cheese Curls… If you want to see me happy, give me chocolate in the form of Nutella and a bag of Cheese curls that’s been open all night.
Run us through a typical day in your life.
I get up at 5am to drink the juice made from magic brown beans that brings me back to life. Then it’s getting my 3 girls (11, 6 and 3 years old) up and ready for school. I then get all mine and the girls’ meals ready for the day. I pull my hair out before we get to leave to pick up 3 more kids for carpool to school. The mornings are a big rush but somewhere in there I have my 1st meal. After drop off I have my Neuro Pump Pre workout and head to Moove or Grip and Rip or both of my workouts.
You’re fast becoming the Meme Queen on Instagram. Do you wanna tell us about that?
LOL Am I? It just sort of happened. I love to laugh, it makes life so much better. I’ve always had a huge meme database. So one day I decided to share the random things that make me laugh with all my friends, family and followers. I think people like it because they get to see my humorous side to.
Do you have any famous quotes that you live by?
“Don’t worry what others are doing. Do you!” – Russell Simmons. As a competitor I used to look at other athletes and worry that if I wasn’t doing the exact same thing, I was doing something wrong. I stopped looking at others and focused on doing me passionately. Wait that doesn’t sound right help me with the wording here!
Nope, we are gonna leave that just as we found it!
Famous last words?
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are doing enough. You can work harder, you can lift heavier, you can do one more rep. You just need to believe that you can!
If you wanna see more of Jenine, check her out on:
Facebook: Jenine Van Der Merwe