Provincial hockey player and NPL ambassador Simhle Plaatjies has used the foundation that competitive sport created to build a thriving career as a fitness professional and industry influencer.
Simhle’s sporting development started at an early age, after her mom enrolled her in Playball sessions, which helped to hone her hand-eye coordination, balance, and speed and agility from the age of seven.
Feeding her sporting passion
Her physical development continued on an accelerated trajectory as she played different sports and focused on improving her fitness at school. During her formative sporting development, Simhle fell in love with hockey.
“It was the culture in the sport and the sportsmanship that comes from belonging to a team that attracted me. I also enjoy high-impact sports,” explains Simhle.
Her passion and commitment to the sport have paid handsome dividends as she amassed an illustrious resume.
Her hockey career highlights include winning both indoor and outdoor inter-school tournaments in Cape Town in her last year of high school, winning the elite hockey challenge in Durban while playing for Wanderers in 2018, and becoming USSA champions with Wits University in 2015. Simhle has also earned provincial colours for Western Province and Gauteng.
A natural influencer
But it was her stint as a cast member of Top Actor Africa in 2015, where she made it to the Top 12 finalists, that helped to build her now prolific public profile.
Simhle now blends her sporting and fitness passion with her business savvy and unique appeal as a media personality, model, brand ambassador and influencer.
Her natural and organic content has also resonated with brands, which have increasingly sought to partner with her in recent years.
“I have never strategised my approach. Everything I shared on social media, I was already doing. I was simply honest and transparent about my personal journey. That’s when brands started working with me. I did get a manager much later, who then assisted me with the business aspect of it all and growth.”
Hooked on hockey
And she still plays hockey and has spent time coaching to share her passion and knowledge for the sport.
“I usually have hockey training twice a week and a weekly hockey game. My training consists of two gym sessions a week for strength, and speed and agility work.”
Her time in the gym benefits both her body and her sporting performance as weight training improves her posture, strength, and endurance.
“Weight training also reduces your body fat and increases muscle mass,” adds Simhle.
Simhle took time away from hockey during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic to focus on strength training in the gym, upping her weekly sessions from two to 4-5 times a week.
“I add variety to my workouts with hill sprint repeats if I’m not inside the gym. I also enjoy fun activities outside of the gym like hiking and surfing which I do whenever I visit home in Cape Town.”
Simhle’s toughest workouts
- 10 sprint repeats up a steep hill.
- Running up 46 flights of stairs with ankle weights
- Ab workout – 20 reps x 4 sets
- Exercise ball pass-over
- Exercise ball extended crunches
- Exercise ball reverse crunch
- 3-point planks
In terms of her diet, Simhle defines a healthful diet as a balanced eating plan. “This entails eating smaller amounts of comfort foods and being mindful of my food and drink choices. I make sure that whatever I eat is mostly beneficial to my nutrition plan.”
Her diet typically includes fruits and veggies. “I mostly follow a pescatarian – I enjoy seafood a lot – and plant-based diet. I have to crave chicken before I eat it, so I don’t have it often. I also enjoy a good gourmet burger when I feel like grubbing.”
Simhle’s go-to meal? “A warm prawn salad with different beans. I generally prefer quick, easy and tasty meals.”
And she supplements her diet with various NPL supplements, including:
- NPL Vita Sport for essential vitamins
- A multi-mineral complex like NPL Immune Pro+
- NPL Carni Lean
- NPL Amino Armour
- NPL Platinum Whey Protein
“I love blending additional fruits and veggies with my NPL whey protein when I make smoothies.”
Simhle credits the fundamentals she learnt through sport for her success in crafting her desirable physique.
“I have never tried an approach that didn’t work when it comes to training and diet. I grew up understanding how training and nutrition work hand in hand, and I’ve always worked to find that balance.”
And Simhle believes that, when you understand what benefits you and focus mostly on that, you’ll achieve success.
The other important lesson Simhle believes is worth sharing is that body types and genes are different for everyone.
“It’s another important reason to understand yourself. Ultimately, health doesn’t have a body type. It has nothing to do with appearance. Skinnier people are viewed as healthy based on their body type, which isn’t always the case, and we can’t all get an hourglass figure.”
Moreover, Simhle wants women to know that results show at different times for everyone and there’s no quick fix. “You need to apply yourself and live it. It’s a lifestyle with no endpoint.”
Through her influence, Simhle wants to change this narrative around what popular culture deems as successful, attractive, and acceptable.
“My greatest ambition in life is to travel and help people wherever I go, starting with rebuilding their confidence and embarrassing our differences.”
- Favourite music to train to? It depends on my mood that day. I can listen to electro, hip hop or house
- Favourite exercise? Burpees and hanging barbell split lunges
- Favourite cheat meal? Ice cream
- What do you do to relax? I sleep, visit a spa, create or buy artwork or prints, or read a book. I also enjoy eating out and buying perfumes
- What’s in your gym bag? Skipping rope, headphones, gloves, resistance band, water bottle, ankle weights and tampons