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It’s not easy to get on the cover of South Africa’s biggest men’s magazine. That’s the first thing our Cover Guy winner, Casey McDonald, will tell you. It takes months of raising literal and figurative bars and countless pre-dawn alarm clock wake up calls that will leave you sweating, aching, cramping and in stitches.
BODY FAT: 6%
JOB: STUDENT, CLERK SUPERVISOR
For as long as McDonald can remember, he’s always been keeping score. He was hyperactive as a child and he took his surplus energy out onto the sports field. “I was very involved in sports growing up. I played cricket, rugby, gymnastics and soccer at school,” he says.
Competitiveness brought out the best in him. “Looking back, I learned a lot from sport. It builds your character.” McDonald continued with soccer after school, but only set foot into a gym five years ago. “I played soccer at Wits and then at Santos. I’ve played all different varieties of sports but I only got into gymming in 2008.”
STAY FIT, STAY ALIVE
Working out had become part of his routine, and he says he’d never go back to the days before gym. “Training has become a lifestyle for me – it’s been great for my overall vitality and I haven’t been sick in years.” And he says, it’s reduced his stress levels considerably. “After a hard days’ work, you train hard and your endorphins start soaring.”
FUEL YOUR FAT BURNER
When it comes to eating, McDonald doesn’t follow a strict meal plan. “In the morning I’ll have a cup of oats and some green tea because it keeps your metabolism up.”
He’ll try to eat as much as possible so as to fuel up before his training at lunchtime. “I eat relatively healthy – I usually eat chicken for protein, rice for carbs and then some veggies.”
He doesn’t believe in taking supplements, saying he tried it but he quickly lost the mass he gained. “Now I just go natural,” he says.
MAKE YOUR FORM FLAWLESS
McDonald trains Monday to Friday and when he does, he concentrates on how he lifts and not how much he lifts. “For me, it’s more about technique and form instead of doing as many reps as you can. I always say to people, ‘What’s the point going for heavy weights when you’re not even doing it properly?’ When I train, I make sure that my reps are more concentrated. I make sure I’m very slow on returning the movement.”
Don’t pick the heaviest weight of them all, he advises. “By using a relatively moderate weight you can complete your reps and sets without failure.”
REWORK YOUR WORKOUTS
McDonald is a big believer in altering his routine. “I try to mix my workouts up in order to shock the muscles,” he says. “After a while the muscle gets used to the workout so I try and switch it around and sometimes dedicate one day solely to a muscle group so I can build and maintain that muscle.”
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
There’s misconception that the more you left up, the bigger you’re going to get, says McDonald. “A lot of people think, ‘I’ll pick up heavy weights and I’ll be big by December.’ I see okes in gym who look the same for two years, and they lift more than me. That’s because their muscles can’t handle the weight and they’re not eating right. What they need is the right technique and rest in between,” he says.
BOOST CORE STRENGTH
While McDonald might concentrate on specific muscle groups, he never finishes a workout without working his core. “I always do abs and lower back after all my workouts.” He works his lower back, because core is really important for him andhis back supports that. “Eighty percent of your energy when you push a weight comes from your stomach.”
Carve abs with this killer move: PULL-UP WITH AB CRUNCH
McDonald’s finisher move of choice is a fat-melting extension to a pull-up. “When you’re in a pull-up formation, you engage your core and lift your knees.” You’ll do an ab crunch while you’re doing a pull-up.