How Given Aphane Ran His Way To Shedding 28KG

He found a way to build his confidence and lose weight – by running through his problems, not from them.


Thaaqib Daniels, Photography by Garreth Barclay |

Running His Own Race

“Man up!” “Fight like a man!”

We’ve all heard sayings like this before, and they give us the perception that men are not allowed to be weak or feel fear. Which in turn causes men to hide their emotions and weaknesses, in order to portray a “manly”, ultra-strong persona. 266-year-old Given Aphane has dealt with many body-image issues in his life, but he’s found a way to build his confidence – by running through his problems, not from them.

Given Aphane

Given Aphane – Before
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Johannesburg
  • Occupation: Private Banker
  • Weight Before: 91KG
  • Weight After: 63KG
  • Time To Goal: 9 months

The Problem

“Growing up, I always had body image issue but I never spoke about it because, as a boy, you’re supposed to be ‘tough’. These are issues that are not discussed enough,” says Given. “We can thank patriarchy and its societal structures and gender- specific generalisations for that.”

Given was unhappy with his weight, which made him self-conscious about the clothes he wore and how he came across to people. “It had a significant impact on my overall confidence, which I carried with me into adulthood and still struggle with today,” he says.

The Lesson: Self-image conversations should happen more frequently with young boys and girls, so that self-love and self-worth become ingrained from an early age.

Related: This Bodyweight Training + Meal Plan Gets You Shredded In 12 Weeks

The Change

“In 2016 I joined the gym and started exercising moderately, while trying to maintain a healthy diet,” Given recalls. “I thought I would lose weight, but I wasn’t getting the results. I’d reached a plateau; even though I was putting in the work, I wasn’t losing the weight I expected to, and was disheartened. And I decided to stop altogether.”

But in 2017 he’d gained weight, and was unhappy with how he looked. It was time to do things properly. “I’d reached my breaking point,” Given says. “So I immersed myself fully into a healthy lifestyle.”

The Lesson: Weight loss (and maintenance) is mostly about what you eat; a healthy diet, combined with exercise, is what gets results.

The Strategy

“I cut carbs out of my diet, and started running religiously and gymming more seriously this time,” says Given.
It worked. “I started noticing significant results. I developed a passion for running, and started entering half marathons – the Jacaranda City Challenge, and the Discovery run series in 2019.

“I enjoyed the runs; they helped me achieve my weight goals and kept me motivated.” They still do: Given is currently training for the Soweto Marathon, and his ultimate goal is to conquer Comrades.

The Lesson: Just start. Take baby steps, and set goals, no matter how small. Then ensure you work consistently on achieving them.

The Result

Given smashed his weight loss goals.

“I had initially set a goal for my body weight to be around 75kg; and with focus, determination and consistency, I reached my goal and even surpassed it,” he says. “I was dedicated to becoming the best version of myself I could possibly be – and still am. Currently I weigh 63kg; I can confidently say that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been, and I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.

“This journey has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I’m glad I pushed through.”

The Lesson: You can accomplish anything that you want in life through hard work, patience and consistency. Your dreams, goals and aspirations are achievable.

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