Xoliswa Nkosi - Powerhouse and Inspiration!

Xoliswa Nkosi is a powerhouse!

This former professional female boxer turned personal trainer is the full package!

From an early age, Xoli was interested in sports – “I was an athlete a school; both Primary and High school. My uncle was a boxer and I would train with him. Later I took up boxing as a sport, and was fortunate enough to box as an amateur and then as one of the first female boxers who turned professional back in 2004”

After a start like that, it seemed natural for Xoli to pursue a career in sport and fitness, and she took up a role as a Fitness Instructor with the Virgin Active group.

With her energy and enthusiasm it was a few short weeks before she was promoted to Group Exercise Manager, co-ordinating all group exercise and group fitness events, mentoring and managing the group exercise instructors.

With her boxing background, Xoli became the face of “Rumble”, Virgin’s boxing program, and is a master trainer.

“I love my job – I get to work with people from all walks of life, who have one common goal. To be the best that they can be, both physically and mentally! There is nothing as rewarding as seeing someone transform before your eyes, and the feeling that comes with the knowledge that you have in some small way contributed to bringing about a positive change in their life is indescribable!” says Xoli when asked what she enjoys about her career.

“Being a women of colour, I have had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and prove that I can do the job as well, if not better than my male counterparts. But consistent hard work, commitment and passion won out – people no longer doubt my abilities.

Xoli advises anyone entering into the Fitness arena as a career to not rest on their laurels.

“Fitness and trends are always evolving, and you can never have to much information at your disposal. You need to keep yourself relevant, or risk being forgotten”

“If I had to give any female wanting to join the industry and start a career advice, I would tell her to stop. Ask herself WHY she wants to go into the industry and what she believed her purpose was.

Ask people who have been in the industry a long time, and ask as many questions as you can – remember, you will never had ‘made it’ or arrived- This is a constantly evolving field, and you need to evolve with it”

Xoli believe her personal brand stands for helping people be the best version of themselves.

“Always be humble, and have love for the people who entrust you to be part of their personal journey. And don’t forget to love yourself…And walk the walk!

I would like to leave a legacy – impart my knowledge and everything I have learnt to professionally wherever they may be – to help them be the best THEY can be and allow them to help others in their journey”

We asked Xoli whether she believed that fitness or nutrition were more important to staying healthy and in shape.

She responded saying “ both go hand in hand. To be in the best shape you can be, you need to fuel your body correctly. You cannot be disciplined in one and not the other – it would simply be out of synch. To me, fitness and nutrition are both equally as important”

When asking for a quick fix for our Summer bods, we were sadly disappointed.

“There are no quick fixes or short cuts in life – If you want it you have to work hard for it. Fitness is about 2 things : Consistency and following the right program for your individual goals.

When I take on a client, we sit and set goals, and agree on three things.

  1. Putting together a training routine best suited to help them achieve their goal, and agreeing to this.
  2. Commitment to train – to show up no matter what.
  3. Incredibly important – Mutual accountability!”

The quick fix summer body or course leads us into the all to common problem of “winter padding”

“Your body is designed to move, and it is up to you to keep it moving at the correct and sustainable intensity.
Ask yourself how bad you want it, and if you want it bad enough, there is nothing stopping you having it. Remember…Summer bodies are made in winter!”

And for those who don’t have access to gym facilities, Xoli has put together a few exercises you can do anywhere, anytime
(well, maybe not at work in your office while you should be earning your keep)

These can be performed using you own body weight – No fancy equipment required!

Perform each exercise to “failure” (until you feel you can’t do anymore), in rotation.
At the end of each round, take a one minute rest.
Do as many rounds as possible!

Remember when you start out, you may not be able to do many rounds, but work on improving this each week.

basic push up

  1. Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Straighten your arms and legs.
  3. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.
  4. Pause, then push yourself back up.
  5. Repeat.

*If you find it to difficult with straight legs, kneel and perform the exercise on your knees. Work improving this over time.*

jump Squats

  1. Set yourself up as you would for a regular squat with feet at shoulder width, with you weight on your heels.
  2. Once you get to the bottom of your squat, your hips should be at knee height.
  3. From the bottom stand up explosively and jump up off the floor as you pull your arms down and back behind your hips.

*If you have back problems, substitute ordinary squats for this exercise*

renegade rows

  1. Start in the push up position.
  2. Brace your body, then raise one Arm as though rowing with a clenched fist until your arm is slightly higher than your torso. supporting yourself on the other arm.
  3. Return to the push up position.
  4. Repeat with the opposite arm.

*As with push ups, if you find it to difficult initially with straight legs, try the exercise with your knees on the ground*

Alternating Reverse Lunges

  1. Stand with feet together. Take a controlled lunge  backward with your left foot.
  2. Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) is parallel to the floor and your right knee is  directly over your ankle. Keep your left knee bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor with your left heel  lifted.
  3. Step the left foot back in and lunge back with the right foot.
  4. Continue to alternate


  1. Stand tall, your feet hip-distance apart. 
  2. Take a breath in, then as you exhale, look down and start reaching your hands toward the floor in front of your feet, allowing your back to bend forward, gently rolling down. Bend your knees  slightly  to allow your hands to reach the ground.
  3. Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Inhale and walk your hands forward, one at a time, allowing your heels to lift off the floor as your body straightens.
  4. When your hands are directly under your shoulders, you should be in a full plank position – ensure that your core is engaged. 
  5. Keep your legs relatively straight and begin walking your feet forward, one at a time, toward your hands. 
  6. Stop when your feet are as close to your hands as you can comfortably bring them. 
  7. Return to standing by slowly rolling your back up from the hips and inhale as you go. When you’re back in the starting position, you’ve completed one repetition. 

Plank rotations

  1. Get down on the floor (preferably using a mat or towel to make it more comfortable) and place your forearms directly underneath your shoulders. Your hands should be extended and your body lengthened Engage your glutes, triceps, and abs to prevent your spine from arching toward the floor
  2. Tuck your toes under and lift your knees, so that your body forms a straight line.
  3. Slowly rotate your hips to one side without losing balance, all the while maintaining the plank position with your arms.
    Rotate back to the original position.
    Rotate to the opposite side.
    Rotate back to the original position


This is one most of us learnt as a child at play, and have probably let fall by the wayside as an adult.

If you don’t have a skipping rope – Don’t despair. 
You can still skip, using just your hands (and your imagination).

Remember if you are using a rope, find one that is right size for you. A longer rope is easier for beginners as it slows the skipping down.

When sizing a rope, the bottom of the handles should come up to your armpit.

If you are fearful of tripping or you don’t have a skipping rope, try taking an imaginary skipping rope and pretending to turn it over your head and skipping rope with it. This is a great way to practice your jump and form. Jump on the balls of your feet-Your heels should not touch the ground, and your elbows should be near your sides with your wrists doing the work.

Once you are comfortable with that, if you can progress to using a skipping rope if you have one.

Xoliswa offers personal training at Gateway Virgin Active, and you can get in contact with her by calling Gateway Virgin Active,
or look her up on Instagram: