By Andrew Carruthers, Editor-In-Chief. All Photos by Marc Dryden Schofield @mds_fitness_imagery
At 27 years old and with only 9 months of training before dominating her first show, the gorgeous Monique Jansen Van Vuuren has launched herself onto the fitness stage with no intention of slowing down! Small in frame but carrying good quality muscle, it’s easy to see why she is a crowd and judge favourite at any show she participates in. Watch this space! This girl has the potential to take the bikini division all the way to the top!
Born: Klerksdorp, North West province.
Trains: Virgin Active Greenstone, Body20 Stoneridge and more recently, at home.
Occupation: Operations Manager at Body20 studio in Stoneridge & Personal Trainer.
Competing for: New to all of it. A short but life-changing 9 months.
Division: Fitness Bikini.
Training history: I was a dancer for 16 years since I was 3 years old. I started weight training after my dancing journey ended. I instantly fell in love with weight training. I have been training for about 6 years now.
Federation of Choice: I started with IBFF for my first two competitions. I did well and decided to move over to the IFBB federation. After my win I was invited to compete at the 2020 Arnold Classic Africa.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I completed my B Com Honours degree in Industrial Psychology. I’m passionate about inspiring others and helping people. I love the fitness and health industry so much that I decided to change from a business career to working in the health and fitness industry. Waking up in the mornings doing what I’m doing today is a lot more worth it and rewarding than a desk job that I did not look forward to. I will always be an active person, It’s who I am. Training is my go to place to clear my head and the place where I can 100% just be myself.
How did you get into fitness and competitions?
I came across many people asking me if I competed and then asking why I don’t compete. My answer was always ..”I don’t want to be a pony on stage getting judged for what my body looks like”. Little did I know about the discipline it takes to get your mind and body prepared for that stage and the most amazing proud feeling that goes with it! My coach Warren Germishuizen reached out to me telling me that I had potential as an athlete and that he would sponsor me if I started competing. After the first comp I was hooked after winning my line-up and took overalls. I will forever be thankful for the opportunity Warren gave me. The door opened for me and I found my passion in life and it gave me a reason for training as hard as I did all these years.
Tell us a bit about your training methods.
I follow a training program when I’m prepping, but it doesn’t take me too long before I start deviating from the program. I find my best method is to make sure I make the time to train every muscle group weekly. I basically listen to what my body wants and needs. I know my body well and resting the muscles that need recovery and training the muscles that need to be targeted again is a priority. I enjoy doing HIIT workouts off-prep-season. I love the sweat and endorphins that goes with it! When I am on-prep-season I do slow-paced fasted cardio at 5 am in the mornings followed by a weight training session in the afternoons.
What are your favourite things to do in the gym?
DEADLIFTS AND SQUATS all the way all damn day! Hehe. I love weight training exercises that are challenging enough to push me almost to the point of crying. I’ve learned that the most painful and difficult exercises are the ones that give the best rewards mentally and physically.
What do you enjoy the least when training?
I’m sure no one enjoys the discomfort or pain from performing certain exercises, but for me…. I prefer the pain, the discomfort, the burn. Knowing that it’s just a brief moment to push yourself through that painful feeling in order to get the reward afterwards. It’s what you make of it, thus, I enjoy all exercises.
What are your favorite foods when on diet?
I never diet. I always prefer consistency when it comes to my nutrition rather than a diet or meal plan. It’s a lifestyle. It’s how I keep my body in shape on and off prep-time. I believe it’s healthier for my body in the long run and I do enjoy healthier options in general. My favourite foods are fish and veggies. I have always preferred white proteins over red meats and I could eat roasted sweet-potato fries every day of my life!
What are your favourite cheat meals?
I make sure to have my cheats every week at least once. I’m definitely a sweet tooth girl. My go to would be Haagen Daz ice-cream, baked goodies, jelly babies, and the list goes on! Anything sweet makes me smile.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing when not training or dieting?
I like cleaning, organising and decorating my home. I also enjoy going on mountain hikes and spending time with friends and family.
How’s lockdown treating you? What have you been doing to stay in shape?
I’d like to say that I am treating lockdown just fine. If I don’t have control over things the best I can do is to keep a positive mindset by make the best out of a ‘not so nice’ situation. I wake up every morning to do my home workouts and try to not only keep to a new routine but also enjoy it at the same time. For the first time I have my own space and I find myself more motivated than ever. I’m still eating healthy and allowing myself 1 cheat per week. Missing a nice gym facility? yes I am, but I believe that ‘change’ or ‘different’ is also good for the body and I’ve learned to appreciate and adapt what I can do from home and still have challenging training sessions.
Tell us something about you that no one knows?
I talk to myself almost all the time when I’m alone. Thinking out loud. I am weird like that.
What are your future goals and ambitions both with fitness and outside of the sport?
In fitness, I see changes in my body every year. I am working towards my best physique so I can earn my Pro-card as a Bikini fitness athlete. My dream is to compete internationally one day. Professionally and career wise, I want to own a Body20 branch and expand the brand into New Zealand where I would like to live one day in future. Personally, I want to grow into a better version of myself. I am still working on that everyday. Nobody is perfect.
What motivates you?
Being alive and healthy is enough motivation to keep me going. I will always be thankful for that.
Who inspires you?
My partner Shane. He also shares the same passions in life like I do. He has taught me loads when it comes to my training and about working hard for what you want in life. His journey from where he came from in his childhood, where he started and then to where he is today…that inspires me every day.
What’s it like being a part of team Nutricon?
THE TEAM IS SUPER AMAZING! We are like a family and I am unbelievably thankful to be part of the Nutricon brand. Nutricon’s supplements help me in my fitness journey in many ways. If I wasn’t chosen as one of their ambassadors, I would definitely choose their supplements over any other brand. It works for me. Proudly NutriconSA.
Run us through a typical day in your life when you’re not on lockdown?
I get up at 4 am to be at the gym at 5 am for a quick cardio session. After that, I work an 8 hour day job at Body20 EMS studio as manager and trainer. After work I go home prepare my meals for rest of the day. Go to gym at about 4 pm for a weight training session for about 2 to 3 hours. I can easily lose track of time when I’m in ‘the zone’ at the gym. It’s my favorite part of my day. I’ll then go home to prepare dinner and prep my meals for the next day.
Whats the first thing you are going to do when you’re finally let out of your house?
Run in the streets barefoot and never come back! LOL! Nah. I’ll definitely appreciate the smaller things more that we sometimes take for granted. Driving around in my car, interacting with the people around me, my job, and the freedom for doing what I love to do most and that is training.
Where is your favorite place on earth?
I have never traveled. But I would love to explore numerous amazing places one day. I’d say on the top of any mountain sitting on a rock would be my favorite place for now.
What motivating and inspiring words do you have for girls that would love to follow in your footsteps?
Always work extra hard and do your very best in what you want to achieve. Don’t ever compare yourself to others but only to yourself. Most importantly… Never give up on your dreams. They matter. You matter. And YOU CAN DO IT!
Famous Last Words?
God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. Be BRAVE.
For more on Monique, check her out on @moniquejvv11 on Instagram!