Your self respect can be your biggest ally or worst enemy. For Justin, it was the latter, and unfortunately he wasn’t even aware of the damage that was being done. Growing up Justin was obese, but convinced himself that it wasn’t a real issue – so much so that he even made fun of himself. “I often heard kids making fun of me behind my back,” he explains, “and I thought I was countering the psychological warfare by laughing at myself.” In his mind, this helped him deal with the verbal abuse and his self image, but all of that changed with his transformation. He studied at Health and Fitness Professionals Academy (HFPA) and became an online coach and trainer. Now he empowers men to become better as an online coach and trainer at wellIam. “Never let anyone else tell you that you’re not good enough, fast enough, or strong enough. Take it out of their hands and become the best version of you that you can be.”
Location: Glenvista, Johannesburg
Weight Before: 138kg
Weight After: 95kg
Time To Goal: 15 months
“Growing up, I was always considered overweight but didn’t take much notice of it – or at least, never really faced the reality of my obesity. It never really bothered me that much until I was nearing the end of my matric year where I discovered I tipped the scales at 138kg. Looking back, my lack of desire to look after myself and treat my body with respect left me heavily depressed and unmotivated in all aspects of my life.”
The Lesson: Depression and an unhealthy relationship with food can form a cycle that makes you heavier and more prone to lifestyle diseases. Break this circle by seeing a dietician to create an eating plan for you.
“I often get asked the question ‘How did you do it?’ Or, ‘What was the changing point in your life that triggered the dramatic weight loss and ultimate body transformation?’ In my first year at university, I decided to face reality by reading the health risks associated with being overweight. From possibly suffering a heart attack to becoming bedridden, I realised that I wasn’t just damaging my own body, but more importantly letting those that I love down – my parents, brother and friends.”
The Lesson: Heart attacks don’t just happen to old men.
“My first step was to cut out all white food starches and fizzy cool drinks. I’ve always had a gym contract but never really used it. I knew I had to consume less energy than I burnt. So my main focus was to perform cardio five times a week and keep active wherever possible. The diet was simple: three meals a day with two servings of fruit as a snack between meals. The only liquids: water, black coffee with no sugar, and green tea. Although my journey has had many ups and downs, I kept going by keeping my goals in mind.”
The Lesson: Taking photos regularly shows your progress and helps keep you motivated.
“Most of the 43kg I lost was over a period of 12 to 15 months. Although I’d lost all the weight, my body lacked definition. I needed to increase my weight-lifting training, which has taken priority in the past year. I currently sit at 95kg and train each and every day.”
The Lesson: Change your training plan every 6 weeks to avoid plateauing and to reach new goals.
Justin’s Six Best Exercises:
Move 1/Smith Machine Standing Calf Raise – Put some weight onto the bar, and put two plates on the floor below you. With your forefeet on the plates, raise the bar and hold at the top. Do 3 sets of 10.
Move 2/Cable Crossover – Grab the handles of the cable machine and tense your core. Then pull the handles together in front of you. Hold, then return to the start. Do 3 sets of 10.
Move 3/Incline Bench – Sit down on a 45 degree bench, feet flat on the floor. Lower the barbell until it touches your chest, then push up until your arms are straight. Do 3 sets of 10.
Move 4/Dumbbell Front Shoulder Raises – Stand holding a light dumbbell in either hand. Raise the dumbbells up forwards while keeping your arms straight and without using momentum. Once your hands are parallel to your shoulders, lower down to the start. Do 3 sets of 10.
Move 5/Leg Extensions – Sit in a leg extension machine, and make sure your back is flat against the support. Raise both feet towards the ceiling, keeping your toes curled towards you. Lower to start. Do 3 sets of 10.
Move 6/Decline Push-Up – Start with your feet raised up onto a platform or bench, and your hands resting on the handles of heavy kettlebells (light ones will roll). Do 3 sets of 8 push-ups.