Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

Words: Jess Spiro

Irène Scholz can only be described as a firecracker. Quick moving, lithe and chatty, she’s the type of person that you would love have as your fitness trainer. Irène is the owner of Bold, a gym that can’t quite be defined in one sentence. Irène calls what they do functional training where classes incorporate a number of different techniques and styles. If you’re thinking CrossFit, don’t. Bold wipes the floor with CrossFit. There are ropes and bars and tyres and weights and each session will see you use everything differently.

Irène is a qualified personal trainer, has her CrossFit L2 and she is a SISSA health profile assessor, in case you need credentials. Her body is testament to the work she’s put in to making fitness her life – she is strong, toned and inspirational. Easily the best things about Irène are her cheeky sense of humour and her disarming smile which probably puts her students at ease. She just loves what she does and she wants other people to love it too. Her goal is to get people active – regardless of how they do it. We (barely) managed to make her sit still long enough to answer some questions, to find out just what makes her tick.

Crush: Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you found your passion for fitness and training?

I have often thought about this exact question and the answer is – I didn’t find that passion, I was lucky enough to always have it. Growing up in a sporty family, trying to fit it all in – tennis, athletics, ballet, volleyball. My best marks at school were always in sport and most of my friends were part of either my volleyball team or my ballet class. So, I’ve always had the passion sitting there, waiting to be unleashed. It took me 30 years to follow my passion and to make it my career. There are many reasons why I didn’t choose to do it earlier on in my life and in retrospect all of the reasons somehow benefited the path I have chosen – to open my own gym and to become a full time coach.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

What brought you to South Africa?

I studied Marketing and Business Administration in Germany and although it never quite felt like the right thing, I wanted to stick it out and in a way to do what one is supposed to do, finish your studies and get a real job. Besides studying, I always worked at gyms as well as playing various sports. I always knew I wanted to work abroad and in sports, so the goal was to improve my English skills with 6 months in South Africa and 6 months in Australia – well, I never quite made it to Australia. I was offered a project management contract with Adidas in SA and there was no way I could decline it. I stayed and I am still here.

What inspired you to open Bold and what sets Bold apart from other gyms?

Bold is a safe zone, not to be confused with a comfort zone. A space for people to enjoy exercising and to be challenged without feeling intimidated. While some people think that we are only about being a happy clappy community, I think we are happy, and sometimes clappy, but most of all we are committed. We encourage each other and we get results without needing to be seen while doing so. Every type of gym has its fans. The beauty is that there is room for various different gyms following their own principles. BOLD will always follow the principles of improving health and making you sustainably stronger for life, while having fun and being challenged. Other places focus more on stimulation with music and disco lights, while others are all about competition – there is something out there for everyone.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.
Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

Choosing a favourite form of exercise might be like choosing your favourite child, but is there one particular activity that gets you really excited?

Sjoe… that is a tough one, there are so many – everyone would expect me to choose burpees. I think I’d go with a combination of free weights, gymnastic work and sprints – oh, and maybe add a challenge like rope climbs. Whatever it is, move.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired?

Like many other people, I find my inspiration while traveling – I totally love being coached by other coaches, exploring other methods and programming. Social media/digital media has made it a lot more accessible to follow a coach across the globe and to get ideas for new training programs.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.
Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.
Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

What does a typical week of training look like for you? Do you mix it up at all?

I mix it up as much as I can. I also have weeks where work takes over completely and I have to be creative about what I do. My favourite schedule would be to train 5 days a week – 1x strength, 2x runs (one interval and one longer), 2x high intensity. On day 6 and 7, I would try to add a hike, beach volleyball or some form of fun physical activity, and then there is 1 rest day where I force myself to sit on my ass!

What has been the most rewarding part of opening Bold?

The people. To see them grow, to see them believing and trusting in themselves and to see the way their attitude towards themselves changes. It’s pure beauty.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

We assume that you’ve experimented with most forms of exercise, but is there one you’ve recently tried out that you’re excited to explore further?

Does laser tag count as exercise? No probably not. I used to play touch rugby and I miss it a lot, that’s what I am going to do once I managed to free up one evening. Other than that, pole dancing, I still have an open date on that.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.
Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

What do you wish more people knew about exercising and keeping fit?

That it can be fun and if it isn’t they haven’t found the right form of exercise. Everyone always preaches that we should move more and exercise, they make it sound like another thing we “have to do” and I think that’s where it all goes wrong. It is a beautiful thing becoming body aware and realising what you are capable of, but to get there you’ll have to start somewhere.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.
Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

With being so active, you must keep a rather strict diet but do you ever let yourself pig out at all? What food makes you weak at the knees?

No I don’t have a strict diet, I am trying to eat balanced and I also experiment and tweak it here and there – the biggest impact on the way and what I eat came when I decided that food is fuel and not therapy. My dietician put me on a lower fat diet, apparently my body has been struggling a bit with processing fat – so my biggest weakness is CHEESE, goodness I love all forms and shapes of cheese.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get fit?

Start. Now.

What is next for you?

My big adventure next year will be two-three months of traveling and I am also planning on opening BOLD in Germany, its a long way till then so for now – enjoy summer to the fullest.

Irène Scholz: Bold, Beautiful and Badass.

Quickfire Questions

Most recent splurge? A skateboard, some say its a midlife crisis, I say I should have bought one years ago, love it.

The world is ending, what would your last meal be? Cheese? No it would be spaghetti Bolognese with Parmesan obviously.

Food you dislike? Kale, I hate kale – but it’s so good for you, so I am trying to hide it in my juices somehow, haven’t quite found the best way to hide it yet.

Best career advice you’ve ever been given: I’ve got two and they are stuck with me forever – ‘if you want others to believe in you, you’ve got to believe in yourself first’ and ‘paddle your own boat, nobody will do it for you’.

Favourite drink after a long day? Ice cold sparkling water, I sound so lame – but that would be it.

Favourite emoji? This is the toughest question out of all of the above! I think it’s the poo, yes and I dig the monkeys and maybe the eyes rolling one, also… I am getting carried away.

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