Johannes Petrus van Zittert
23, Potchefstroom, Industrial Psychologist
HEIGHT: 1.76m
TIME TO GOAL: 2 years


JP van Zittert’s biggest health risk was his own denial. This is how he overcame it.

THE GAIN: I was very active at varsity – I played semi-professional rugby – but my diet was only fast food three times a day, every day.  I thought that if I trained hard I’d be able to just train it off, but the kilograms started piling on. Once I ended my rugby career my weight worsened. I am only 1.76m tall, but I tipped the scale at 110kg – I was huge. And I was in denial. Instead of facing my body, I just bought bigger clothes to accommodate my huge size.

THE CHANGE: Two family members were diagnosed with diabetes and the doctor told me that I was on the same path. For the first time, I was scared about my health and had no more clothes that fit. I realised something had to be done.

THE STRATEGY: At first I went back to my old ways and focused on training hard, but I ate badly. That was unsuccessful. I decided to consult sports nutritionist Waldi Bosman. He helped me design a proper plan. With the new lifestyle and cardio plan I initially lost my first 15kg in about a year. After this I realised that weight training was essential. Combining cardio and weight training allowed me to lose those last 10 kilos. The biggest change was sticking to smaller portions and eating seven times a day – forcing my metabolism to speed up. Alcohol and junk food are history, and the focus is on healthy veggies, high-protein meals and just enough carbs to keep me going at training.

THE REWARD: The rewards are endless. My self-esteem is back, I feel better about my lifestyle and I participated in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, as well as in a couple of triathlons. I’m also more social, active and outgoing. I want to share my story because I want people to realise that they shouldn’t wait until it’s almost too late to start living healthily – you can start today!

THE RESULT: I went from 110kg to 85kg in two years and I’ve been keeping the weight down for a year now. My body fat percentage dropped from 30% to 9%. I am also undergoing training to become a spinning instructor and now my main goal is competing in an Ironman triathlon.