Writing Off Bad Weight
Xola Magwaza used HIIT and a strict nutrition plan to get into the best shape of his life
THE GAIN After I was diagnosed with severe asthma and forced to give up on my dreams of becoming a pro soccer player, I gradually became a couch potato. Completely unaware that I was eating far more than the average person should, I ate my way to 110kg. I also wasn’t getting any exercise, and I managed to pack on 33% body fat in the process.
THE CHANGE I just reached breaking point. Something in me clicked and I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I took “before” pictures of my body, did all my measurements and set goals that I felt were attainable. I got a big wakeup call when I looked at pictures from my teen years; I realised it was going to be a mission to get into shape, but I was determined to make it happen. From that moment on, I knew my lifestyle had to change.
THE STRATEGY My dietician, Jenny Meyer, made a plan that suited my needs and lifestyle. I gave up all forms of junk food, cake, sweets and sugary juices for a full year – and I’m still going strong. I started learning about weightlifting and cardio exercises, to make sure that what I was eating complemented what I was doing in the gym. I stuck to a rigid bodybuilding style of training, going to the gym six times a week and using HIIT for 45 minutes each session. What was also crucial was the timing of my meals, and what I ate before and after gym. Now, I prefer eating six or seven times a day: either four full meals and three snacks, or vice versa. Supplements also played a role, although I kept it simple, with whey protein before gym and BCAAs during (and sometimes after) sessions.
THE REWARD I can finally wear some of the clothes that have been catching dust in my cupboard for years. I stopped making excuses for not swimming, and now feel more confident when I go to the beach. I aim to bring the same mindset and dedication to other areas of my life.
THE RESULT I’ve lost 35kg and dropped 18% body fat. At one point, my jeans were a 40 and some of my shirts were up to XXL. Today, I’m rocking size 30 pants with medium tops, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and my girlfriend loves the fact that I don’t have to wear the same clothes over and over.