The Perfect Fit
Megan Owen, May 25, 2017

Life in Parkhurst is working out brilliantly for celebrity fitness guru, entrepreneur and new mom, Lisa Raleigh. I caught up with her in her new home to find out how she is ‘doing it all’ and still managing to look so fabulous.

Being a Durban girl, what has the transition to living in Joburg been like for you?

I’ve been backwards and forwards between Joburg and Durban for the last eight years so I feel very comfortable here – most of my clients, activations and shoots have always been based in Joburg. It has so much to offer and mom and baby groups and exercise classes are helping me meet new people and settle in. Moving house also made the concept of Joburg more appealing to me and I think having Bella helped bridge the gap of Joburg being a part time place to becoming my home.

Why Parkhurst?

I feel it’s the closest to Durban I’ll get in Joburg! It’s small and has a community feel about it. It is very family and dog focused – I love the vibe! Everything is within walking distance and I enjoy popping down to 4th avenue and exploring cute cafes and shops. I can’t see myself living anywhere else in Joburg with a baby in tow.

You went into business based on your passion for health and fitness. What projects do you have on the go now and what are you excited about?

I’m going on 16 years in this industry, with my career kicking off more publicly as a trainer on SA’s The Biggest Loser. I write for many publications and am busy writing my second book that will launch early next year. I’m also excited to be working on a lifestyle programme aimed at mothers which I’ll be introducing later this year with an Elimin8 Cleanse Programme as well. I’m also thrilled to busy be producing and presenting a 7-month campaign on The Expresso Show.

As a new mom, one of my newest ongoing passion projects is Mumentoes – an online hub of content dedicated to pregnant women and parents.

One of my biggest passions is still motivational and public speaking and I’ve recently finished workshopping with the Miss SA finalists to help them on the journey to crowning Miss South Africa 2017.

How have you managed to find balance between work, family and staying super fit?

I’m very far from super fit at the moment! I resolved to go easy on myself for the first year of raising Bella – I’m still breastfeeding and I’m happy to make her my priority; I understand that I’m not going to get the perfect balance across all my priorities during this first crazy year. Sometimes workouts are compromised when Bella needs me and that’s OK. My priorities are to get to bed early so I can wake up really early before the rest of the house does and that means no time for old habits like social media browsing and lots of article reading before bed – sleep wins! I don’t believe there is such thing as perfect – one week work will get more of my focus and another week my family does. I have vowed to get stricter and train more like I used to before Bella once I have finished breastfeeding, and I’m happy with the time out I’m having until then.

What are your favourite Parkhurst restaurants/shops/salons?

I get my hair done at PHD Hairdressing in Greenside – I’ve been going there for two years because of their attention to detail, high quality products and care for their clients. I go to Sorbet for manicures – they do my hands and feet at the same time which makes the trip such an efficient one. When it comes to restaurants and shops some favourites include Vovo Telo (their Caprese salad is amazing), Polly Potters for Bella and Colourbox on the corner of 4th and 11th street for beautiful workout gear, sandals and beachwear. In general, I love 4th and 6th street – there are always new gems to discover when I take a walk down them.

Please tell us you sometimes skip workouts and eat badly? What is your favourite indulgence?

Absolutely! As I mentioned earlier I’m not able to train as routinely as I would like and since falling pregnant I have picked up a few bad eating habits that I have yet to shake. At the moment I cannot be without a daily glass of Nesquick and freshly homemade bran muffins with butter – shocking I know! But I still aim for a healthy balance and I’m probably sitting on 70/30 now versus the 80/20 I prefer. I’m still healthy, I exercise and take in a lot nutrients so I don’t beat myself up about it. If I miss my workout I aim to eat a little cleaner that day. That said, I can’t wait to get back into super fit mode after I have finished breastfeeding – I’m a firm believer in being as fit as possible before falling pregnant and I want to make sure that happens before baby number two!

What are your favourite things to do in Joburg on the weekend?

There are two things I love the most: markets and being out in nature. We relish exploring the many markets Joburg has to offer and supporting local produce – like the farmers market in Fourways, the organic market in Bryanston, Maboneng and Fox 1. Then I enjoy visiting Emmarentia dam – I’m lucky that it is only a 6-minute drive away! My pup and my baba appreciate nature so I like to run there once a week if I can, and other times relax there for a few hours with Bella.

What is your favourite feature of your house?

We’ve only been here for five months and our décor time has been seriously squandered by unexpected admin like sorting our damp flooring and electrics. That said, I like the double volume, open plan layout of the house, with the huge glass windows that offer so much natural light and warmth from the sun – so lovely on chillier winter days.

What one piece of health/fitness advice do you share the most?

Learn and set your non-negotiables. These are the few priorities you really need to keep yourself on track, balanced, resilient and healthy. I try to dedicate an hour or two in the middle of the day to myself, as well as an hour of exercise each day. That exercise hour is my non-negotiable, along with sleep and daily veggie juices – those things make me feel equipped to handle anything the day throws at me. Take some time to decide what yours are – then prioritise them above all else! I always feel centred and better able to handle challenges when those things have been ticked off my to-do list.

Favourite holiday destinations?

I love the contrast of first world western countries and third world eastern ones. I adore the States, New York especially, and would consider it a wonderful place to live in the future. Then I love Thailand and Cambodia and am lucky enough to have returned there often. My favourite holiday was probably honeymooning in Song Saa private island in Cambodia – it was such a special time with my husband and stepdaughters. Bangkok is also worth a mention – that city never sleeps and is amazing for late night shopping and street food!

If you are heading out of Parkhurst, where are you heading?

Durban every second month for two weeks! As a Durbanite I’m very spoilt in preferring places that take less than 10kms to reach – everything else just feels like a trek! That is also obviously influenced by having a baby in tow and we’re hoping to get a little more adventurous as she gets older.

Lisa seems to take it all in her healthy stride!

Megan Owen
Megan grew up in Bryanston and left for New York after completing a BA in Law and Politics at Wits. In the States she started working as a Head Hunter and spent her free time traveling extensively and immersing herself in her passions - all things cultural. Megan returned to Bryanston five years ago and has never looked back. She continues to place senior executives around the world, while also running a celebrity booking agency, Actorvate, with her sister, actress Hayley Owen. Megan and Hayley live next door to each other in Bryanston and enjoy soaking up everything the neighborhood and its surrounds have to offer, from food, to fitness, to entertainment, to spa treatments, to nightlife. This blog is designed to share some of the highlights and experiences that this part of Joburg has to offer.

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