It’s my birthday again 🥳 and this time around I am my own superhero 🦸🏿♂️! I put the mask on and transformed into the Black Panther at 31! I’m going to share what I did in my final 6 weeks before stripping down for photos and putting up back bacon for viewing purposes.
5 kms daily. I’d either run this distance (8 mins per kilometer - turtle gang 🐢) or walk it uphill on a treadmill (5 km/h @ 10-15% incline). All that mattered was covering the distance on a daily basis and keeping my body in motion.
100 reps minimum of sit-ups daily. No days off. It's amazing how after a couple weeks of this practice you start see your stomach compartmentalise itself starting with the top shelf 😅. The belly must go was the motivation behind this.
Gym work 🏋🏿♂️
Changed my lifting formula to sets of 15 - 30 repetitions at a time. I’d pick a weight that would allow me to complete a higher number reps per set till it burns 🔥. The only exercise I moved heavy weight on was deadlift (400lbs +), the rest was lightweight with high intensity and short rest periods not exceeding 1 min. I trained everyday without exception, sometimes twice a day.
I adopted an 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol so my first meal was an early lunch at 11 am and last meal was at 7 pm.
5 - 6 liters of fluid a day, which was 50 - 60 mls x my body weight in kilograms. I peed often but generally felt good and ready to go at a moment’s notice . I tried to, and sometimes failed to avoid juice 🥤 but I did try to limit my overall intake. I’d opt for sugar free cokes and sprite where possible. I’d drink alcohol 🥃 but only on weekends where I’d take a multivitamin before bed to prevent a hangover 😵 the next day. You should try it!
I used the free Life app to track my fasting and eating windows and the free nutritionix app to log my food intake, hydration and daily weight. I believe that what gets measured gets improved so I’d track everything and make adjustments where required.
Photo credit 📸 Ryan J Banda 📞 0974-101553
Supplements for gym goers
Restarting your fitness journey
4 kilos down and counting
Intermittent fasting 101
The belly must go!
The Biggest Benefits of the Gym
I was at the gym 5 am sharp as per usual and a friend asked me “Nick. How’re you doing?” I cheekily responded with “The way you see me bro - I’m GOOD!” 😎. Wrapped up my session and proceeded to work 👨🏾💻 for another Q&A of how I am. 👉🏾 Same questions, same answers. When you’re in shape, in tailored fitting clothing that presents your body of work you’re high on confidence. Let’s explore what else you can gain from going to a gym.
Elevated self esteem & confidence 🦸🏿♂️
My brother Bongani said it best - “At the end of the day, you only feel as good as you look.”Engaging in gym activities will change your body composition and make you look better with and without clothes. You can ride that wave of confidence and achieve great things in other areas of your life.
Improved health 🫀, mental clarity 💭 & mood 😊
When you work out frequently you’ll unlock boundless energy, a better mood, fat loss and mental sharpness. Consistent exercise eradicates a spirit of laziness and gets you primed to dominate your day. If you have any ailments you’ll likely see improvements in your health markers at your next doctor’s appointment.
Better eating habits 🍱
Exercising often makes you a lot more conscious of your food choices. You’ll discover that you’re less willing to sabotage your efforts by bingeing on doughnuts 🍩 and cake 🎂. You’ll start wanting to feed yourself properly. In my case, I find that exercise is a fantastic appetite suppressant and cravings killer. It could be the same for you too.
Professional opportunities aren’t reserved for the golf course ⛳️, the gym has big boys and girls too! You can leverage that and land yourself something big if you’re a focused and pleasant individual with something offer.
🗣 Go to the gym and stay sexy!
Running na ma mbama
I was recently made aware of runners being mugged by people in cars that would pull up next to you and congratulate you for your efforts with slaps. I was disturbed by this and thought I might add a voice to the safety concerns of runners so here it is:
Ditch the headsets 🎧
You need to be aware of your environment and alert to threats so you can react accordingly. If you want to run with headsets do so on a treadmill and nowhere else.
Leave your phone 📱
Tell the people you live with your route and expected return time in case of anything. This advice applies for anything else of value such as jewelry, watches, and any other fancy gadgets and accessories. Run lean before you start looking like food to hungry people.
Carry something portable
You might want to consider carrying something portable that might help you defend yourself in scary situations. If attacked, respond in kind.
Wear a reflector jacket
If you’d rather not because it cramps your style opt for brightly colored clothing 🟨🟩🟧 instead to make yourself visible. I don’t understand runners that leave their house dressed like Batman. You’re effectively camouflaged with the tarmac. Don’t risk becoming roadkill for an outfit.
Run in groups 🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️
Group sessions are a strong deterrent for theft so where possible you might want to consider partnering up with running groups like the Lusaka Fitness Squad or a couple of your buddies to discourage potential thieves.
Trust your instincts 🧐😶🌫️
If an individual or group of people make you uncomfortable out on your runs INCREASE the social distance. I share my experience trusting my gut here, and I believe it saved me from a trip back home naked.
Don’t run in isolated areas and during dark times (early morning, evening or late at night)
This makes you a mark and easy pickings for opportunistic theft. Try to identify well lit places to run in if you can’t run later in the morning when it’s brighter or earlier in evening before it gets dark due to time constraints. We have a couple places with solar street lights so that can help the situation. You should also identify places where there’s activity.
Don’t run in residential areas unless you know the area well
The reason for this is simple: dogs 🐕. Losing weight from your rear end doesn’t have to be a painful process. Read about my experience with dogs here.
Recovering from exercise
I have an office mate that recently embarked on a fitness journey and she can’t believe how sore she is! Restarting her fitness journey is threatening to change how she walks in heels 👠 😄. Here’s how I advised her to deal with it all:
Massage aka ukuchina💆🏾♂️
Go and spend a little money on getting rubbed down, it’ll do you a world of good. M'kango golf view off Great East road has the best sport massage services in the city! Call 📞 0979897124 and ask for Ruth or Catherine. They’ll get you right back to default settings or better! If you’re a cheap skate you can foam roll or purchase a massage gun/machine and do it yourself. Game stores is the plug for these items. Either way you’ll relieve muscle tension and pain and increase blood flow to the affected area to jump start recovery.
Basic stretching might be a little painful but trust me you’ll feel a whole lot better after you’re done. Thighs are sore? Get on your knees and sit on your heels to stretch. Back is aching? Lay on your back and hug your knees. Chest is on fire? Have a friend pull your arms back gently. Find whatever movement is convenient for the sore muscle group and stretch to a point of slight discomfort for 30-45 seconds. Repeat 🔁 2-3 times every couple of hours and you’re well on your way to feeling better.
This is about doing more of things that got you sore in the first place minus the overzealousness. Squats got your glutes on fire 🔥? Do more squats with a lighter load and lower intensity. You need to get blood flow to the affected area to facilitate recovery. Blood has all the nutrients and oxygen to bring life back to sore muscles so you want to get that going before you end up stiff as a board. ⚠️ When you’re sore from a gym session the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Eat 🍱 & hydrate 💧
A low carb diet on a high training volume program will sabotage your efforts. If you find yourself low on energy and motivation and high on pain you need to carb up with things like rice 🍚 or pasta 🍝 to replenish glycogen and elevate your mood while simultaneously increasing protein intake from sources like fish, chicken and eggs to help repair damaged muscle tissue. Fruits are an excellent top up to combat inflammation and give you a natural sugar boost. When it comes to fluids you need to drink up to flush waste from your body and remember to check your urine color to assess your hydration levels. Light yellow is the sweet spot. Urine the same color as the water you drink is a sign of over-hydrating while urine the color of tea is a sign of dehydration. Lastly, consider incorporating a daily multivitamin 💊 in your diet. Wellman & Wellwoman are decent options and are available locally. ⚠️ Note that multivitamins will turn your pee to a bright yellow, do not be alarmed 😱 . Your body is simply flushing excess water soluble vitamins i.e. B vitamins. It’s no cause for concern.
Hot 🥵 & cold 🥶 showers 🚿
Alternating between hot and cold water during shower time for a minute or two at a time will improve circulation and facilitate total body recovery by reducing inflammation. I’ve found this practice to be highly effective and simple to incorporate. It's a refreshing experience.
Hot 🥵 & cold 🥶 gel packs
Applying hot and cold gel packs to your body follows the same principle as hot and cold showers. It’ll combat inflammation and reduce pain. I personally use hot and cold packs on my joints as opposed to the muscles. It helps me deal with the pain and strain of moving heavy weight 🏋🏾♀️ and pounding the pavement 🏃🏿♂️. I mostly apply it to my elbows and knees for 20 mins at a time, alternating between hot and cold. Myprotein UK has really affordable, effective options for this. If you’re interested, follow this link.
As someone with a supernatural ability to gain weight by just looking at food I’ve had to make a determined effort to suppress my superpower. I’ve tried various crash diets in the past with varying degrees of success but ultimately I’ve realized that keeping my weight stable is anchored on consistent daily habits and not any extreme short term interventions. I’m going to share the habits that have been useful to me with you.
Lifting weights daily🏋🏾♂️
My current physique 🦍 is mainly attributable to gym sessions where I pick heavy stuff up and put it back down. Rinse, repeat 🔁 for an hour (see exhibit A 🎬). The gym is an absolute essential for anyone that wants a better physique and improved body composition, including women (ka shape shape 🍑 mwaishiba ka?)
Drinking water 💧 with a slice of lemon 🍋 first thing in the morning on an empty stomach
This practice keeps me pooping 💩 on a regular basis and addresses issues of bloating and constipation. If you’re not dropping bombs 💣 🚽 twice a day, you should consider adopting this to improve your situation. Don’t turn your body into a septic tank. Note that a hot cup of green tea 🍵 , moringa tea or coffee ☕️ will also loosen the bowels and get the job done if that’s your preference.
Going 50% on everything 🍽 ✂
It’s simple - whatever I feel like putting in my mouth is halved. Feeing like two lumps of nshima? I’ll have one. Feeling like four slices of bread? I’ll have two. I TRY to do it for everything and never eat to complete satisfaction.
I try to walk as much as I can as often as I can. I’ve even set up an hourly health walk at work where every hour I get up and take a stroll. This little activity adds up to big results over time and I’m sticking with it. It’s not as cool as telling my office mates how tired I am from my morning 15K as others like to do but it serves its purpose and keeps the weight controlled. It’ll likely make a difference for you too.
Sleep hygiene 🛌 😴
I sleep well and sleep long (+7 hours) every night to keep my hormones balanced. If you’re possessed by a spirit of entrepreneurship and neglecting sleep to hustle just know that your waistline will expand at the same rate as your business if you’re not careful. More on sleep here.
Daily weight and food tracking 𐄷
I make an effort to weigh myself everyday and track food intake. The scale makes me alive to my reality and food tracking exposes my eating habits. You cannot change what you don’t make an effort to know so all this is done to elevate my level of awareness so I can make adjustments where required. I track my food with an app called Nutrionix. It’s free, doesn’t contain any ads and it's very easy to use.
Alcohol 🍻🥃 🍷🍹
I only consume alcohol on weekends and this practice has saved me from a protruding tummy. If you drink often and outside of weekends it likely shows on your belly so you might want to limit your drinking sessions so you don’t jiggle as much. If you want step it up a little you can adjust what liquor you consume and what you mix it with. Lite beers and water as mixers are the way to go. More on this here.
Modeling myself after others aka Copy & Paste
Physically there’s always someone within our reach that has the body we want. I walk up to them with puppy eyes 🐶 and tell them I admire them and maybe a few extras if necessary. Once their ego is massaged I start to pick their brain on what they do (habits), what they eat, how they train - any and everything of interest that’ll help me learn more about how they manage their body. I simply adopt what I think is useful and discard what isn’t.
4 Kilos Down and Counting
I'm four kilograms lighter from the last time I blogged about my clothes suffocating me and my decision to make full use of the weight loss toolbox to mitigate a disaster. I'm not where I want to be but I'm further than where I began this journey from. I'm building back up to African King status and this is how I'm going about it:
Mental 🧠 🙇🏿♂️
I've changed my mindset and mental approach to losing weight. It's no longer about hitting the scales at a certain number but about forming the right habits and behaviours that lead to the body I want. There's a lot less anxiety when I'm weighing in and regardless of what the scale says I know that it's only a matter of time before I reap from where I've sown. Take the pressure off yourself and simply strive to become the kind of person who has the body you want. Do what they would do in most situations and you'll have the same results.
I intermittently fast for 16-18 hours on most days by skipping breakfast and only eating lunch at 12 and dinner between 6 and 8pm. I like junk food just as much as the next man but I’ve opted to limit take out to one meal per week, at most two, and that’s usually on weekends. I’ll even throw in ice cream 🍨 or a couple freezits if I feel like it. A hard training and hard dieting approach is unrealistic for most and usually quite damaging. I still cut weight and so will you, just stay active and ensure that most of what goes into your mouth is prepared in your kitchen. Aside from gym it’s the little things such as parking far from your office and taking a long walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator at every opportunity, and choosing to walk instead of drive to places that you can see that make a BIG difference over time.
In addition to all this, I'm consuming 4+ liters of fluid a day to replenish what I lose at the gym and ensure I'm hydrated throughout the blazing hot weather. Multiply 40mls by your bodyweight in kilograms to determine a reasonable hydration target for someone your size.
🎬 🎥 🎞Subscribe to my YouTube channel for gym related content 💪🏿:
A Woman's Struggle for Fitness
"Nick. This fitness life isn't for me. Nili na pressure." I didn't understand at first but she went on to further explain what she meant. Women face a number of hurdles when it comes to getting back in shape and this is how she broke it down for me:
The petty stuff
The real stuff
Ultimately when it comes to responsibility for the married or committed among us, you need your partners support. Your husband needs to step up and share responsibility whether it’s with the kids, with the cooking, cleaning - EVERYTHING. Fitness should be a shared goal.
Running and dogs
Chikwela mu gym
Restarting your fitness journey
Women and weights
Summer bodies are made in winter
I was recently asked to blog about gym etiquette by a friend of mine and fellow gym mate that's irritated by unwritten rules not being followed by some. Common sense isn't common so let's discuss these matters before someone gets tagged with a dumbbell!
Mind your business
It’s perfectly fine to introduce yourself to new members or people you keep seeing at the gym but avoid ichibeleshi✋🏾. Don’t offer unsolicited advice and unless you have the physique that screams 'I know what I'm talking about' and/or you're familiar with the individuals you wish to correct stop policing people. Many gym goers are fairly self-conscious in the weight room, so don't shine a spotlight on them; mind your business.
Respect personal space ⛔
Gyms can get busy, but it’s polite to give other gym-goers as much space as you can. Try not to get on a bike or treadmill right next to someone if other machines are available. If you're forced to train next to another person, keep your eyes from wandering and on your own machine. As for weights stand far enough away from your fellow exercisers to give them room to train comfortably and just breathe without you suffocating them.
Lastly, be polite to other members, but be mindful of starting conversations that don't have an ending. While you might be lovely company and a funny guy many people just don't have the time for excessive small talk and mickey mouse conversations. It's distracting.
Clean up after yourself 🧽
During your workout, it’s best to keep your water bottle, towel, mat, and other items close to you instead of spreading them all over the place mungulu mungulu. This helps other gym-goers know which equipment you’re using and which spaces are available for them to exercise in. And when you're done please wipe down 🧽 any and all machines you used! Use a towel to wipe down all surfaces your skin touches.
Proper gyms should have wipes or a spray bottle with disinfectant 🦠 throughout the gym that you can use to spray and wipe down a piece of equipment. If they don't you might want to consider changing gyms before you start catching bacterial infections and your skin starts changing color.
Keep it pushing and don't be a hoarder
When you’re using the gym equipment, it’s important to remember that—like you—other people are working out on a tight schedule ⏰ . You need to train and keep it moving. Nobody swings by the gym to witness you sitting on equipment you’re not using to text or scroll social media. They don't show up to marvel at you doing your circuit either so please avoid circuits during peak hours. Come during off peak if that's your preferred way of training to prevent holding up everyone else.
Lekeni ichongo (Noise) 🗣 🦍
Gents, when you're moving serious weight please spare us with the macho noise making and dropping of weights. Working hard, with a few grunts and groans is understandable but when it's excessive, it becomes a distraction for other gym members. Control yourself and be respectful of others by reducing your volume.
Sambani Please (Bath) 🛁 🧼
More on this here. People should not be able to smell you coming. Keep things fresh!
Chikwela Mu Gym
Winter's here 🥶and it's been brutal! The cold temperature changes can adversely impact positive health and wellness habits real quick but I'm hoping to keep you on track with your fitness goals. Here's how you can manage yourself:
Can't get out the blankets? Choose to intermittently fast and skip breakfast to compensate for the lack of activity in the morning. Eat according to what you intend on doing. If that's nothing then place your mouth on the same abstinence schedule. The general idea is to force your body to sustain itself off your fat reserves. The jiggly components on your body consisting of your belly, thighs and love handles are all fat reserves. Intermittent fasting melts away any excess fat that you don't want. I highly recommend it!
Watch your fluid intake
Nothing beats a hot cup ☕ of anything on a cold, miserable day but consuming multiple cups with multiple tablespoons of sugar and honey WILL pack on the pounds. Opt for green tea 🍵 as your first choice hot beverage option and senna tea every now and then . Green tea will help you lose fat by stimulating your metabolism and slowing down your absorption of carbohydrates while senna tea will help you poop more 💩. ⚠️ Note: Senna should only be considered as a short term remedy to keep things moving and not as a daily tea option. If you prefer other teas then consider sweeteners such as stevia (available at Umoyo) ahead of sugar. As for honey, it isn't a get out of jail free card because if you over-indulge you will get fat. Watch yourself on those honey and lemon tea combinations.
Home-based workouts are a viable solution to your winter troubles. You can follow a structured program such as P90x or Insanity (available on Beach Body) or engage in simple interval training such as Seven right from the comfort of your warm home environment. If you’re too lazy to work out at the gym or go running every morning, you can always exercise at home. You can skip the gym, but there’s no need to skip the workout.
Hit the Gym After Work or Over Your Lunch Break
Just in case you don't feel motivated to leave your bed in the morning finding time over your lunch break or after work might work out better for you. You'll have a bit more time to adapt to the weather and get on with it.
Befriend Your Bathroom Scale
Remember that scale in the corner of your bathroom? Put some respect on it and bring it back to the centre of your bathroom and use it daily. Best done first thing in the morning after using the restroom. This practice will keep you well aware of any undesirable changes in body weight while you hibernate. Armed with this knowledge you can make an informed decision: Either you start doing some activity or turn your head from left to right every time food is offered to you.
The winter provides you with an opportunity to hide what you're not happy with under various layers of clothing, summer does not. Avoid surprising yourself!
Diet Ya Njala
Restarting Your Fitness Journey
The 5 Minute Myth
Restarting Your Fitness Journey
Everyone has likely found themselves in a corporate building or shopping mall having to take the stairs because the elevator wasn’t working. If you're out of breath and cursing the engineers and the schools they went to then just know that you're letting yourself go. Life gets busy sometimes but you need to get back on track with your health and fitness. I want to show you how.
Make exercise the first order of business
Go for a run/walk 🏃🏿♂️ 🏃🏾♀️ first thing in the morning or hit the gym 🏋🏾♂️ for a strong start to your day. Those afraid of getting slapped while exercising in the morning can opt to join the Lusaka Fitness Squad for group running sessions. If you don't have the discipline or experience to exercise on your own then consider guided classes such as aerobics with Lubasi (0969-900786), spin class with Twambi over at lifestyle gym or boot camp over at Go-Go Fitness. If you want personalized attention and encouragement then Joe (0978786307) has got you covered with personal training services to whip you back in shape.
Whatever you decide to do just get it done as the first order of business before the spirit of laziness gets a chance to overwhelm you. And most importantly remember to have fun with it! You won’t be consistent if you engage in activities you don’t enjoy.
Consider joining a recreational sports team/club
Social soccer ⚽️ at the Barca Academy is good keep-fit option to consider for those that didn’t quite make it pro😅. Whatever team you decide to join will likely play a couple times a week and that's sufficient for a start (>0) and most certainly better than no activity at all. Your employer might even be paying for your recreational activities so join the madalas for free and run around a little. Alternatively you could sign up for golf ⛳️ . I'm not entirely convinced about the merits of golf as a sport but it does allow for a fair bit of walking 🚶🏾♂️ and for the opportunists among us, a chance to network.
Purchase a home workout program such as insanity or P90x
All you need is money and a TV and you can follow guided fitness sessions at a time and place of your convenience. I strongly suggest doing this in the morning before breakfast as any time after that is more of a gamble. Get active before someone spoils your day and sends you straight into your blankets 😤 🛌 after work. Available for purchase and streaming on Beach Body.
Clean up your nutrition 🍽 🥦 🍌 🥛
Eating better and nourishing your body in a manner that aligns with your body goals doesn't require a complete kitchen overhaul. Small adjustments add up to big results over time. Tips on how to do this include:
Sleep adequately 😴
Aim to have better quality and quantity sleep by targeting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Poor sleep in terms of quality and quantity has been linked to hormonal imbalances, and subsequent poor mood, appetite control and weight gain as well as a compromised immune system. Neglecting sleep is self-sabotage. Nga taule nchetekela kepushe ba Google 💻 .
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritionist
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