Michael Kan Lost 29KG And Became A Fitness Instructor, Here’s How

This full-time student bounced back from addiction and chased after his dream body. He's now a fitness instructor at SWITCH playground. This is his story.


Thaaqib Daniels, Photography by Marc Dryden-Schofield |

At school, Michael Kan was a jock on the sports field and a whiz in the classroom, but bad decisions led him down the wrong path: drugs. After three years of addiction, he cleaned up his act, lost 29kg, built the chiselled physique you see here and has dedicated the next chapter of his life to improving both his mind and body. And as a fitness instructor, he’s helping others unlock their full potential, too.

Michael Kan

  • Location: Joburg
  • Occupation: Full-time student and fitness instructor
  • Age: 26
  • Weight Before: 107kg
  • Weight after: 78kg
  • Time To Goal: 2 years

The Problem

I was always one of “those guys” in high school who excelled in sports and academics until I fell down the wrong path and got involved in drugs. What started out as “just fun” turned into something I could not go a day without. This lasted three years, and in that time I ended up weighing 107kg and was at 37% body fat. I had always been the outgoing type, but I lost all confidence in myself. I needed to get my mind and body back on track.

The Lesson: Take responsibility for your actions. It’s up to you to make the decisions that will get you to where you want to be.

The Change

With the support of my family and friends, I spent eight weeks in a rehabilitation centre to treat my addiction. I came out of the facility with a completely different outlook on life. I was hungry to get back to being confident, proud, productive and fit. The first step on my fitness journey was visiting SWITCH Playground, where I attended the fun and exhilarating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. I was hooked. After the first year, I saw major changes in my body and decided to begin weight training and build muscle.

The Lesson: Take baby steps. Fitness is not a destination, it’s a lifestyle.

The Strategy

My initial goal was to lose weight. I started by attending SWITCH Playground classes daily and making better food choices. I then made it by mission to build muscle while still losing fat. I began weight  training six days a week, using a push-pull-legs split as well as attending HIIT classes twice a week. 

The Lesson: Try different things and find out what works for you. With today’s easy access to info, there’s a near-unlimited knowledge available. Just make sure you’re tapping into credible sources with actual qualifications behind their names.

The Result

After the first year of training – just the workout classes – I had lost about 19kg and 20% body fat. In the second year, after adding weight training into the mix, I lost another 10kg and managed to reach a final weight of 78kg and 8% body fat, which became quite easy to maintain. But the biggest change was to my self-esteem. It’s now a year later and I am a fitness instructor at SWITCH Playground Sandton and also an IFBB Physique competitor and I couldn’t be happier.

The Lesson: Find your “why”. Remember your purpose and goals every time you step into the gym. And never forget that balance is key.

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