Fabian Lopes didn’t have the money for supplements, but found other ways to get the body he wanted

Age: 33
Occupation: Internal Auditor
From: Cape Town
Weight before: 96kg
Weight after: 86kg
Time to goal: 5 Months

The Gain

I was always the thin guy at school, but that all changed when I started working, got married, had kids and started studying part-time. My job also involved a lot of travelling and it was difficult to exercise and eat healthily when I was away from home, so I often lived on junk food. I had been going to gym for about six years, I had used all kinds of supplements, but my eating was average. Every year I would say, “I’m going to look like those cover models on the front of Men’s Health Magazine”, but it never happened.

The Change

My wife was retrenched and with two young kids there were no longer extra money for supplements. I thought that looking like a cover guy was impossible, and started to lose hope. But then our church had a fast, and I cut out bread. Slowly, I started to slim down, which gave me hope that I could still try and achieve my goal. Most importantly, I realised that it wasn’t my finances that were holding me back, but my mindset. I realised that it’s not always the guy with the means that’s successful, but the guy who wants it the most.

The Strategy

I approached some of the local bodybuilders at the gym and went through some of my old Men’s Health issues – which helped me clean up my diet. I changed my eating plan (which didn’t include supplements) and still managed to come out on budget. I included lots of protein and low-kilojoule carbs, as well as food that was high in potassium. In winter I started training eight times a week – four morning sessions of cardio at 5am and four weight-training sessions after work. I became more motivated when I started seeing the results. Soon I realised that I had made a lifestyle and was no longer just on a diet.

The Reward

I have so much more energy and I am much stronger. People have noticed the difference and ask for advice – which I always give because I enjoy sharing something that I love. The hard work is done, so now I just focus on maintaining it. I also don’t have to train as often, which means I have more time to do other things, like spending time with my family.

The Result

I got stuck at 96 kilograms, but with an extra bit of effort and determination I managed to lose the last 10 kilograms in five months. I had to change most of my wardrobe and went from an extra large to a medium shirt.