Chané Mynhardt, 28, originally an admin clerk from Bloem, is now also a Survivor castaway with 27 days under her belt. When the call to join the island challenge came through, Chané added jogging and strength training to her daily routine. She also started eating smaller portions of food and watching YouTube vids on how to open coconuts. “I thought this would be adequate preparation… I was wrong,” she jokes.
What made her sign up? “I was going through a quarter-life crisis,” Chané says. “I just felt that I could aspire to be more – that I wasn’t achieving my full potential.” Opportunity came knocking in the form of a call-up to the island. Finally, a chance for Chané to find out what she’s really made of.
“I’m not obsessed with my weight,” Chané says when I ask her about shedding kilos on the island. “Look, a kilo or six, I’m not complaining, but it’s all about being healthy for me, both mentally and physically.”
Survivor SA is not for the fainthearted and is challenging even for the strongest contestant. "(Survivor) made me dig deep and spend time with my inner self, personal demons and all," Chané admits. "I wanted the answers to life. I didn't get them, but what I did get is that I am a strong, capable, self-sufficient woman."
Food was scarce and Chané had to go five whole days without a crumb of sustenance. “I wanted to give up,” she recalls. “We had a challenge that day that Palesa and Tom won for us, and we won Steers.” A miracle in the form of food.
“So, you don’t know in what weird ways doors will open for you, but they will!” she exclaims. “Never give up.” Chané is taking this important lesson into her regular life – plus another vital tip: listen more, talk less. “There is more power in that than bombarding people with instructions and words,” she explains.
Goodbye Survivor SA
The finale of Survivor SA recently aired, along with a reunion for all the contestants. But Chané has already been back in the “real world” for a while. She shared what it was like returning to reality.
“For us, the world stood still [while we were on Survivor],” she says. “That was not the case at all! I mean, while we were gone, our country changed presidents!” After being stranded with no connection to the outside world for about a month, returning to civilisation (and technology) was a shock to the system. “I got very vocal and upset when people around me would waste food,” Chané says. “I’d even shout at them.”
Not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe we all need the Survivor experience?
“It was sad to return to the usual mundane everyday tasks after going through a life- and perspective-changing experience,” she admits. But at least there was food. “Steak and cake!” Chané shouts when I ask her what her first post-island meal was. “I am a farmer’s daughter after all, but I also had the weirdest cravings!”
“After devouring the world’s food resources, I decided to get back into shape and eat healthily,” Chané jokes. “I joined Crunch 100 gym in Bloemfontein and started with functional and weight training.” Chané had previously steered clear of the weights section, but inspired by what she’d accomplished on the show, she decided to give it a go. “I’m addicted now,” she adds. “It’s so much fun training in a group. It gives you a sense of accountability and motivation, which you really need in the beginning when you’re still unfit. I wake up every week day at 5:30am to go to gym.”
Chané is healthier now than she ever was before Survivor. “I’ve gained muscle mass and lost three kilos,” she says. “I’m physically much stronger.” And mentally tougher after all those Survivor mind games…
A word of advice…
Or, rather, a few words from this woman who survived Survivor. “You can train all you want, but if you don’t follow a healthy eating plan, you won’t see the results you’re working towards,” Chané says. “I came to this realisation the hard way.”
“We all know what we shouldn’t be eating,” Chané continues. “It’s about conditioning yourself to choose the healthier option. I find that eating vegan meals in the evening (I struggle with IBS) has made a world of difference. I wake up feeling energised, not heavy and bloated.”
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