What it Means to Have a Well Balanced Body, Mind, and Soul | Lukafit
Mbali Z. Ndlovu recently quit her full-time job to pursue her passion of motivating women through fitness! She is the founder of 'Lukafit' which is a community of like-minded women that support and inspire each other on the road to a healthy lifestyle. Lukafit is partially derived from the Zulu word juluka, which means to sweat. Sweating releases “feel good” endorphins, detoxifies the body, and gives you a healthy glow. We caught up with the Founder of @GetLukafit on what it means to have a well balanced body, mind, and soul.
What do you do during your 9-5?
Well actually…. Tomorrow will be my last day of my 9-5… (WOW! CONGRATULATIONS!!!) Yes, it is very exciting and I am a little anxious. But currently I am a development manager for a non-profit called Firelight Media. We are a production company that produces films, while mentoring up-and-coming documentary filmmakers of color. The mission of the organization is to help diverse filmmakers finish their first or second films, and get broadcasted. We provide mentorship, professional development, and anything that will help the filmmaker.
What businesses do you own? What is the purpose of the business?
The purpose of Lukafit is to inspire and motivate black women to be healthy and fit. Lukafit is a community of like-minded women who motivate each other. I feel that as humans we all want to be apart of a community, and Lukafit is that community for women. Everyday I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes, an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
What ignited the spark in your business venture? How did you get the idea?
I’ve always been health conscious but as far as exercising I would go running once, and then not go for another two weeks. I was eating pretty healthy but wanted to get more toned and stronger. I just wasn’t always consistent. My friends and I created a group where we would consistently check in on each other through Whats App. We had a group calendar also. We would hold each other accountable to working out and attending various workout classes in the city.
I am from New York, so I do have friends in the area. But a lot of my friends began to move out of the area. Lukafit started when each of my New York friends would bring a friend to the workout, and then that friend brought another friend. Lukafit began as a group of dope, dynamic women of color that wanted to stay fit and be healthy. Meetup.com has also been very helpful. Now Lukafit has grown to more than 600 women in the New York/New Jersey area.
What does it mean to be healthy and fit?
In my opinion, being healthy is holistic. Holistic health is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Being healthy means that you are making sure that you are tending to the different parts of you on a daily basis. Just check in with yourself and making sure that you are taking care of all aspects of your health as often as possible. Not just working out, because you can work out everyday and still become stressed through work and family. You can drink green juices all day, but if you are not taking care of your emotional and mental health then there’s no point. Being healthy means taking care of all aspects of your health.
What do you recommend for the Twenty Somethin’ and Black woman to keep a well balanced body, mind, and soul?
In terms of physical health you can stay fit by exercising, dancing, or if time is strained, walking. I live in New York so we walk everywhere. I walk to work, I take the stairs whenever I can, and in my office I take breaks to walk around. Physical health means taking the time to get up and move around in whatever way is your preferred method.
Being well balanced when it comes to emotional health is having healthy relationships. Making sure I am not entertaining toxic relationships when it comes to family, work, romantic (obviously), and friends. Talking things out, and eliminating negativity, calling and speaking to my loved ones more (that’s something I am working on) are ways to become emotional and mentally healthy.
I try to meditate everyday when I wake up. I know some people pray. Having a well-balanced body, mind, and soul, means having at least 10 minutes to your self every day. Having time to your self is a game changer! Start each day with a clear, calm, collected mind. Mediating helps you become more patient with yourself and controls anxiety.
I also created my own affirmation that I say every morning to help keep me well balanced. Daily affirmations are helpful to control your mind towards things you may feel self-conscious about, and things you may be unsure about. If you have low self-esteem, you can create an affirmation to make you feel better. Fake it until you make it!
How should we handle stress and pressures of life? Any tips on what to do when life gets stressful?
My biggest piece of advice is meditation. Every morning I wake up, brush my teeth, and then complete a 10-minute meditation. Mediating puts you at ease and helps you deal with everything better. Meditation helps you forgive yourself, not get too attached to what is happening in life, and helps you start each day with a clean slate.
What do you have to say about the company you keep? How important is your choice of friends to your health/well-being?
There’s a well-known quote, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” You want to surround yourself with people who motivate you, and push you to become a better person. Don’t have people in your space that bring you down. My friends are not all in the same career field, but everyone is hustling. We are always checking in on each other. We hold each other accountable. It is so important to have positive friends, who are also trying to be their best selves. Good friends are people who don’t complain about life, and try to make the best of a situation.
How has health and fitness changed your life?
I feel that I am finally taking the leap in entrepreneurship! My wellness practices this past year has helped me become more confident and less scared of the unknown. I don’t know what the next few months will look like, but I am more confident now than ever in myself and in my ability to make it happen. No matter what happens I know I will be OK! And the only reason I think in this way is because of the meditation, affirmations, staying positive, and building myself up everyday by putting my health first.
How can I be a better friend who is supportive to others heath/wellness, well-being, and state of mind?
By being a good friend in general. It is a great idea to check in on your friends, ask your friends how they are doing, and how they are feeling. Double tap check-ins (liking photos on Social Media) does not count. Try calling people more. Step out of the group chats, and start calling your friends! Yes, life can get busy and hectic but at least try messaging people individually. If you know someone is going through something follow up, and ask direct questions so they know you care. Those are ways to be a good friend who supports others wellbeing.
I know healthy living is important, but I already have so many responsibilities and demands for my time. What can I do to find the time for good health?
People ask me this a lot... And I know everyone is so busy. But my thing is… I think people think they need to exercise for an hour everyday! People think being healthy is working out and sticking to such a strict daily schedule. This kind of thinking can become overwhelming. I think it’s okay to start small, even if it is just for 5 minutes. If you’re a mom it is okay to exercise with your kid. Doing squats while you’re watching your kids or cooking.
Everyone has a mandated lunch break. It’s the law. You can walk around the office a couple times. You don’t have to go from 0 to 100. If you take public transportation to work, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. There are different hacks to embed healthy living within your life; instead of thinking it as a separate entity. Be more creative, in terms of what we think fitness looks like.
Mbali's story and more information about Lukafit can be found on https://lukafit.com. Learn more about how this fitness lover created a community for fit-driven black women.