How Jaco Smit Heavy-Lifted His Way To Losing Weight

Jaco Smit lost 8kg; but more importantly, he transformed his previously out-of-shape body into solid muscle along the way.


Thaaqib Daniels, Photos by Martin de Kock |

You’ve heard the story plenty times before: skinny lad, picked on at school simply because of how small he is. The bigger boys target him, and label him “wimp”. Jaco Smit was that kid; but in true triumph-of-the-underdog style, he didn’t let the bullying get him down. Years later, he returned to the classroom – not as a scrawny teen, but as a strong and confident teacher his learners could look up to. He lost 8kg; but more importantly, he transformed his previously out-of-shape body into solid muscle along the way. This is his story.

Jaco Smit – Before
  • Location: Mokopane, Limpopo
  • Occupation: Primary school teacher and sports coach
  • Age: 35
  • Weight Before: 90kg
  • Weight after: 82kg
  • Time To Goal: 5 years

The Problem

“At school I was always the small guy, the scrawny boy who was picked on and bullied, time and time again. But I never fought back. This went on all through primary school and high school. I first stepped into a gym while I was at university. My main goal was to get as big as possible – I wanted to lose the image of the small, skinny kid, and to become the guy people didn’t want to mess with. I didn’t want to be the target anymore. It took a while for me to adjust to training because I had never done anything like that before, but I knew it would benefit me if I gave it my all.”

The lesson: Take a step outside your comfort zone; you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.

RELATED: Weight Loss Advice From A Body Transformation Specialist

The Change

“By 2014, going to the gym had become such a big part of my life, I needed a new challenge. I started looking for something new, and found it in the form of competitive bodybuilding. That’s when my transformation really started. I had a new mission to pursue. It changed my outlook on life, my relationship with food, and the way I looked at myself – and the way I set goals for myself. I realised that I could do anything I set my mind to. Prepping for the bodybuilding stage is one of the toughest mental and physical things I’ve ever had to do.”

The lesson: Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Train your mind first.

The Strategy

“I’m a dad, and I believe in setting a good example for my kids, especially when it comes to staying healthy. I believe that the way I live every day speaks of hard work and dedication, and this will inspire my children to work hard too. With the help of my coach, Dave Watkeys, I’m tracking my kilojoule intake and exploring a few new things. His guidance helps me make responsible choices in terms of feeding my body properly to achieve my goals.“

The lesson: Fitness is not one size fits all. Adapt your strategy to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself; be the best version of yourself, not someone else.

The Result

“I live a healthy, balanced life, while enjoying food and all the food groups in moderation. I have built the body I’ve always dreamt of, but I’m still pushing myself to do better. I believe you should always set new goals, to make sure you stay motivated. The result of this journey is most definitely a great balance between being a dad, achieving personal goals, and setting an example of hard work, dedication and balance to my family. And that’s all I could ever hope for.”

The lesson: Never lose sight of the important things in life. Having the ones you love at the finish with you, celebrating those goals you’ve smashed, is priceless.

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