Fitness expert Johno Meintjes and his family have pioneered Johno’s eFitness Faculty (JEFF), which has helped South Africans keep fit throughout the lockdown.

South Africa’s national lockdown has proved a life-changing event for many, and has led thousands of South Africans to seek new and innovative ways to keep fit and healthy. For fitness expert Johno Meintjes, the lockdown brought with it its own anxiety and worry – primarily about his well-being and that of his loved ones.

As the lockdown compelled gyms as well as fitness and health centres to close, the change meant that Johno could no longer operate his own coaching and training enterprise.

Johno, who has trained several of South Africa’s top athletes, adapted his practise to perform online training sessions – but it wasn’t until a congenial family moment, where his daughters interrupted his live stream, that Johno’ next big innovation took off.

“The first sessions were so chaotic. The kids were running around, we didn’t really know what we were doing from a technical point of view and we were still figuring this out” says Johno, who later found that his this new and authentic approach resonated with his audience.

“Prior to lockdown, we used to offer the one-on-one coaching programme as our primary product, with great success, but when Covid-19 hit, we saw the opportunity to help keep South Africans fit and healthy in a supportive and fun way”, adds Johno.


When Covid-19 hit, we saw the opportunity to help keep South Africans fit and healthy in a supportive and fun way.

Within weeks, South Africans had flocked to Johno new online fitness movement, called Johno’s eFitness Faculty (JEFF).

 “I think people enjoy relating to and connecting with us because we’re so open and authentic,” says Johno.“We bicker during the workouts sometimes, the kids run wild and knock over lights, and it’s something everyone can relate to.”

South Africans seeking to work out from home agree. Following on some eight weeks later from the launch of JEFF, Johno succeeded in attracting more than 40000 new workout participants from over 99 countries – the impressive achievement has also meant that Johno, through JEFF, now employs around 40 people – many among them fitness coaches.

“Everyone is the same, but they need to have a unique approach to getting to their best”, says Johno, and that’s why, for subscribers, JEFF has developed a range of fitness classes at various times to suit all of its worldwide subscribers, and the sessions themselves require little or no equipment. Sessions can range from intense high-intensity training, guided runs, yoga, workouts for youngsters and can even include cooking classes.

JEFF’s interactive Live Daily Workouts, allow people to engage with each other while exercising, and thousands of people around the world now attend Johno’s special 30-minute workouts held at 8am and 3pm South African Time – which often include his family in attendance.

For Johno, the chance to see friends and families separated by continents taking part in workouts together is rewarding – noting that “The stories coming out of this community are really inspiring.”

As a means of giving back, some of the funds generated from JEFF’s paid classes have been donated to the Solidarity Fund.