It’s not easy to get on the cover of South Africa’s biggest men’s magazine. That’s the first thing that all of these finalists 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. The men in these pages have forged far more than a body; they now possess a formidable sense of self-discipline and an undeniable zest for a longer, healthier life. They’re not pros; they’re just ordinary guys – probably not too different from you and I. The difference lies in their extraordinary levels of motivation. Your best body starts now…
By MH Staff - Posted on 4th August 2014
You want the cover of South Africa’s biggest men’s magazine?
1 SCOTT KIMBLE
Body fat: 6%
Job: Trainee Accountant
Hometown: Durban, KwaZulu-Natal
Kimble got into shape with high-intensity training with very short (to zero) rest periods. His combination of simple body weight exercises such as push ups, pull ups and dips, added to his lifting routine.
“I use training as an escape from the pressures of life,” Kimble says. “I plug in my earphones and tune into my workout and for that hour I get to block everything else out – if you can do that, soon it will turn into something you can’t live without.”
Want a body like this? Take your training back to basics, Kimble advises. “Training with your own body weight is a great way to start, know your limits and, slowly but surely, attempt to push them.”
And start doing pull-ups while you’re at it, he says. “The pull-up builds raw strength and power and is paramount in building upper body and core strength. This is a fundamental exercise in progressing to more challenging ones, such as the muscle up.”
Abs start in the kitchen, Kimble says. “Too much of anything is bad for you, balance and moderation is key. I don’t believe in diets because they have a start and end date, eating healthily is a lifestyle choice and should be easily maintained, even as you get older.”
Don't deprive yourself, he advises. “During the week I eat clean, but on the weekends I allow myself the burger or pizza I've been looking forward to. You should treat eating as an "input/output" system by balancing how much you eat with how much you train, the more you put in, the more you need to work out.”
2 SIBUSISO JAMES
Body fat: 3%
Job: Former gym receptionist
James was one of the youngest contestants ever to make it to the final rounds of the Bar One Manhunt series. He used to only manage a 20kg bench press when he started training and now he regularly hits 90kg. “The people who use to laugh at me at the beginning when I stared my body transformation, are now inspired by me,” he says. “This keeps me aiming for better.”
James is a believer in the benefits of the Arnold dumbbell shoulder press. “This move creates a great impact on my shoulder shape and awakens my shoulder muscles with only a few reps.”
If you want to slash your body fat levels like James, run on the beach. He finishes his day with a 45-minute jog on Durban’s shoreline.
Have an egg a day, advises James. “It’s only the egg yolk contains cholesterol and saturated fat, so have as many egg whites as you want.” Up your plant protein with kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans or white beans, as well as split peas, chickpeas and hummus, he recommends. “Aim to make at least half your grains wholegrains,” he adds.
3 REABETSOE SESELE
Body fat: 9%
Job title: Sales Associate at Louis Vuitton
“It's easy to get motivated, the hard part is keeping that motivation,” Sesele explains. The goals that I set for myself keep me on the ball, he says.
2014 will be Sesele’s first year competing in physique competitions. “Knowing that I'm working towards either a target weight, being able to push a certain amount of weight or to be number one on stage. Nobody ever aims to come second best and so I work on being the best I can be. All of that motivates me wake up early to prepare my meals for the day and it drives me to give 120% at the gym, every exercise, every set and every rep.”
Make dead lifts your go-to move. “Out of all the power exercises, I find dead lifts to be the best all-rounder to build strength and mass,” Sesele says. “It also involves more muscles than any other exercise. The upper and lower back, legs, gluteus, traps and arms all come into play during every rep. Not forgetting that feeling of fulfillment when you slam on some heavy weight and still manage to get that bar up and down.”
Sesele’s key principles in eating is to count your kilojoules, make sure that you’re getting enough macronutrients in, and never substitute a solid meal with a protein shake. “In terms of supplements, I've always stuck to what my coach and I call the holy trinity of supplements: pre-workout, creatine and whey protein,” he says. “But I would always advise not to rely solely on supplements, which is a trap many fall into.”
4 SHERMAH THABANG GAY
Body fat: 8%
Job: Attorney and Lifestyle coach
This 35-year-old attorney is also a wellness coach, and he got himself into the best shape of his life by regularly asking himself if he wants change in his body’s current state. If the answer is yes, then he asks another question: “Am I willing to do what is necessary?” If you can answer those two in the affirmative, then get on with it, Gay says.
Use elastic resistance bands to strengthen your legs, core, chest, shoulders and arms with multi-joined single movements. The goal of movement is not to burn kilojoules, Gay explains, “but to change hormones.” He also favours training with alternating intensities by doing a combination of high speed and endurance running.
Wise up on what you’re putting into your body. You need to have an understanding of how food affects physiology, Gay says. Make sure that whatever you’re eating is going to fortify and support your key metabolic traits, including inflammation control, insulin control, protein and carbohydrate balance and pH control.
5 GILBERT NTOBENG
Body fat: 14.8 %
Job title: Student and model
“Progress is vital to me,” says the 22-year-old student and model. And he draws his inspiration from stepping onto the scale and seeing a better number. I always try to grow as much muscle and burn as much fat as possible, and I keep the numbers of my weight in mind with each session. Every week, my challenge is to add at least one kilogram of muscle.
Need more power? Do more squats. Ntobeng learned the importance of this through rugby. “Running, scrumming and tackling meant I would be using my legs more often. The other benefits that come with squats was that they helped me build the rest of my body through releasing testosterone.”
Cut out fast food and soft drinks from your diet, Ntobeng advises. “I consume high-carbohydrate foods before and after training, and protein is always a key to any weight training schedule. Before training I normally fuel my body with carbs, BCAAs, protein and a bit of supplemented creatine,” he says. “That way I lose less carbs in my sessions, and after training I'd fuel up with some carbs, protein, and glutamine.”
6 NEIL VAN ROOYEN
Body fat: 7%
Job title: Business manager
Van Rooyen’s motivation to train comes from his history. “In high school I was the skinniest kid around, suffered from low self esteem and had no confidence. At varsity I had too much junk food and alcohol led to me going from the one extreme to the other.
He joined a gym, shed 20 kilograms and slashed his body fat from 24% to 7%.
“I used to be intimidated by the guys at the gym; I'm now the guy getting approached at gym by others and being asked for training tips and advice. If your mindset is right, you're halfway there!”
No gym? No problem. Van Rooyen’s preference for using his own mass as a piece of training equipment helped him make the top 10. “I really enjoy body weight exercises such as pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups and tricep dips. My favourite training move is a superset starting with 20 push-ups, followed by 15 pull-ups and then 30 sit-ups,” Van Rooyen says. “Then take a 60 second rest and repeat three or four times. It works most of the upper body, gets the blood pumping and makes me feel awesome.”
“I eat six times a day and have lean protein – such as chicken, tuna, ostrich or venison – with every meal, Van Rooyen says. “I'll have healthy carbs such as wholewheat cereals, brown rice or potatoes with my breakfast, mid-morning snack and lunch, but restrict my dinners to protein and veggies. I also use only fat-free dairy products and sugar-free soft drinks.”
7 DAMIAN SCHECHTER
Body fat: 5%
Job: Personal trainer and fitness model
Hometown: Cape Town
Schecter is a dedicated fitness competing athlete and who needs his body in peak condition when he takes to the stage in competitions. He’s found the best fat-frying exercise to get him under the spotlights is swimming. “There is nothing better after an intense shoulder, back or chest workout, than to jump straight into the pool and kick 30-40 laps in their chops!”
Schechter’s go-to move is the incline bench press. “With well practiced form, correct resistance weight, and a 45 degree angle, this exercise has helped me achieve and perfect my chest’s lifting capabilities,” he says. “I find maxing out on my resistance, at nine sets of this exercise (three light sets, three medium sets, three heavy sets) helps develop a thick and striated chest.”
Looking for the nutritional edge this summer? Boil yourself another cuppa. Schechter swears by green tea. “The CLAs in green tea have been my wonder nutrient; it causes the body to burn stored fat for energy. I drink between two to three cups a day.”
“A solid calcium intake is necessary to strengthen the bones,” Schechter says.
I consume between 500 to 800g of low-fat Bulgarian yoghurt per day, sometimes adding in my whey isolate protein in it.”