Hitting the reset button
The start of a new year offers an opportunity to hit the reset button. For most people this renewed motivation only lasts a couple weeks and they’re back to default settings until the next year. I’m no exception but this year I’m determined to dominate from day 1 by automating my habits and incorporating a few mental hacks to help me evolve. I think my approach could be of value to others so here it is:
Become a disciple of discipline
This means early morning wake up calls to get a head start on the day and meditate 🧘🏾♂️ for emotional balance and later hitting the the gym 🏋🏾♂️ or road running🏃🏿♂️ to try and stay sexy 😌How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. Feed your mind, body and soul before sunrise every day.
As a man thinketh, so he is. Who do you want to be? You’re already that guy. Affirm yourself until your thoughts transcend your reality as often as you can. A simple trick I use to remember to engage in this practice is doing so in every mirror I find. I’ve gotten to a point where all I see in the mirror is a lion. 🗣️ The only thing that matters is what you think and tell yourself. Shower yourself with positivity and encouragement no matter what’s happening around you because oftentimes the only good things you'll hear about you are the things you say about you. Learn to be your own booster.
Detach yourself from outcomes
Ambition is everything but it’s often linked (and wrongly so) to tangible results only. This year is about who you become regardless of whether you hit your mark or not. Evolution is intrinsic; embrace the development of character and all the courage you had to muster to chase after your goals. Embrace failure and keep at it until you win. Constant effort is what separates the sheep from the goats.
Do this every chance you get and lift people’s spirits to a higher level than the one you found. Why? The energy you put out is the energy you get back. Don’t be misled by social media flexing abena “2023 I’m not taking any nonsense.” Be good to people. Be patient. Show love.
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!
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.
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
What makes a man a MAN? Testosterone. That bass in your voice, that hair on your chin and chest, that drive and motivation, that macho-man aggression, and those few hints of muscularity on your body are driven by this hormone. Testosterone is impacted by age, nutrition and lifestyle. You can't do anything about Father time but you can certainly make adjustments to your nutrition, lifestyle and training. I want to share what I’ve done to record higher testosterone levels in my 30s than I did in my 20s 🤯 insane but true. Listen up.
Sleep 😴 for a minimum of 8 hours every night. Testosterone is produced in your sleep and it’s output is displayed in your morning glory. More and better quality sleep aids it’s production and ensures more glorious days ahead 🦁 . You're not Elon Musk or Steve Jobs and there's really nothing you're doing when you're up late so prioritize sleeping more.
If you smoke, stop. Shisha, cigarettes 🚬 and weed - lekefyo. Little Jimmy won’t stand up? Blame it on the smokes 💨 cutting off circulation . If you drink 🍺 , do so in moderation (x2 beers per day). Alcohol crashes test levels and elevates estrogen. That big belly? Blame it on the alcohol providing you with excess calories.
Reduce your stress levels 😔. Stop trying to be superman; you can't be a hero for everyone and save them from their problems. Stress causes an elevation in the stress hormone cortisol and sustained or frequent elevations in cortisol subsequently reduce testosterone.
Keep doing whatever it is that you're doing but pay particular attention to your fat intake. You must look to increase this. When it comes to testosterone, fat is your friend. Look into incorporating things such as a fatty fish 🐠 , nuts 🥜 and nut butters, full fat dairy milk 🥛 or cheese 🧀 (choose ONE), avocado 🥑 , whole eggs 🍳 , chia seeds, olives 🫒 and olive oil (when cooking or alternatively you can consider throwing a tablespoon of it into your smoothie - you won't taste a thing!). Personally avocado is my go to, as well as placing the seed options in my smoothies and having nuts as snacks.
Avoid estrogen containing products, mainly soy and soy related products such tofu and soy milk. Growing breasts as a man? That's a sign of excess estrogen. Estrogen goes up and testosterone goes down.
Limit your overall sugar intake. Watch the sodas and consider drinking sugar free options instead to avoid increased fat storage from excess energy intake. Plain old water is the best.
It's simple really, lift heavy things up and put them back down. Repeat this action 3-5 times per week for 30-60 minutes and you're all set. Strength training takes priority over cardiovascular training. Vo tamanga tamanga (running 🏃🏿♂️) won't help your testosterone unless you're overweight. If you're overweight consider incorporating both strength training and cardiovascular activity for accelerated results in the weight loss department. High Intensity interval training is a great option for those short on time.
Supplements to consider:
⚠️ Low testosterone is associated with:
⭐️ Supplementary reading:
Training For Cosmetics
Question: “Nick, how much ya bench?”
Answer: “Doesn’t matter.”
Justification: Thinking you’re King Kong in the gym as a recreational athlete will earn you a one-way ticket to snap city if you’re not careful. The truth is nobody cares how much you lift, they just care that you look like you do 💪🏿 😍 I’m encouraged to publish this blog for the majority of people that hit the gym for cosmetic purposes but don’t quite appreciate how to achieve that. The strongest guy in the gym is seldom ever the most aesthetic guy. Here’s the playbook for those that just want to bring the fire 🔥 :
You want to be bull strong? For who? Where are you going to take that strength? You’re old(er) now, stop flexing like a young lad before you hurt yourself. Always lift with a focus on longevity and the real reason why you’re in the gym - to look better.
Women & weights
I spent the summer hard at work in my coliseum just so I could muscle my way out of my 20s💪🏿. I’m 30 today and I’m pretty pleased with where I’m at physically 😁. I nearly drowned in my sweat and constantly fought off hunger, cravings and temptation but it’s all been worth the struggle. I’m going to tell you what I did to get to this point:
I didn’t touch dairy products 🥛 🧀 (outside of whey protein), bread 🍞 , nshima and juice. When it came to rice and pasta options I’d opt for brown and wholegrain variants. Water and green tea were my primary go to hydration options and I’d occasionally have a couple lite beers just to be social or when I just felt the urge to consume alcohol.
In summary, it’s lots of nyama (meat) na nsomba (fish), fruit & vegetables.
I’m more than happy to share my complete and exact training plan for those that are interested. All you got to do is subscribe to my newsletter here and request for the plan on WhatsApp. Osa yopa ku funsa, ni mahala (don’t be afraid to ask, it’s free).
Supplement World Zambia was my plug locally. I got pro nutrition’s 6 pack fat burner, whey protein powder, creatine and CLA. I took them to help build muscle faster, recover from sessions and drop fat (through thermogenesis and appetite suppression) . Other supplements I opted to stack with were fish oil from real science athletics, vitamin D + zinc + magnesium + L-tyrosine from Bulk Powders UK🇬🇧 . The extras were used to optimize my hormone profile (mainly testosterone - zinc), enhancement of mental focus and motivation (via L-Tyrosine) and assistance with the replenishment of lost minerals from sweat (zinc & magnesium).
NB: Guys, please, don’t rush to buy and consume supplements mungulu mungulu if you don’t know what you’re doing. Have a chat with Patrick first (0962-212157). But yeah, this is what I took.
If all this sounds like too much work then it’s just not important to you. The truth is that when you’re in shape you don’t have to walk up to somebody and say “yo, I love myself.” You look 👀 😋 like you take care of yourself and that’s real self love. Learn to do it more.
Women & weights
The belly must go!
Fitness & alcohol
Advice to the Mrs.
The 5 minute myth
Digging your grave with a knife & fork
📸 Photo Credit: Ryan J Banda (0974-101553)
🗣🎬Creative Director: Lombe Mulenga (0975-911308)
⚠️ Protocol demands that you refer to me as His Royal Buffness when you see me 🤴🏾 😄 jokes! I hope you, whoever you are that’s reading this is encouraged to get in shape and assume your place as King or Queen of your own body.
I was on the ‘gram the other day and found my feed flooded with delicious looking individuals and it made me realize something 🤔Social media can give your insecurities an unhealthy boost if you’re not careful. I thought I should encourage body positivity today particularly for the women folk and suggest a few things that might help boost your confidence. Men tend to take pride in their big bellies but hey, if you like how it all jiggles then bounce that belly and do you bro😊
Cosmetic changes (hair trouble, stretch marks, cellulite, acne)
Your Hair Goals Zambia got you covered. Everything from consultation to hair products. It’s a one stop shop for all things hair related, with packages extending to the balding lads 👨🦲 among us. A pala (bald head) doesn’t have to be your portion.
Cocoa butter, Shea butter and almond oil can help fade stretch marks if applied on a daily basis for a number of weeks. Stretch marks for the most part are permanent but you can make them less noticeable and get them to fade slightly. Worth a shot if you’re bothered by them.
Cellulite is fat deposits beneath the skin. You can rid of the fat by cleaning up your nutrition and tone up by getting active 🏃🏿♂️ 🏃🏾♀️. Better nutrition can be simplified by including a piece of fruit, 2 servings of vegetables and a glass of water at each meal sitting. You don’t need a trendy diet or nutrition protocol overhaul. It’s the little adjustments that make a difference over time.
‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’ 💯 Everybody’s different, embrace who you are and appreciate the unique aspects of your body. Consider restructuring your social media feeds and unfollowing pages if they generate negative energy and trigger you.
Nobody’s perfect and when it comes to your body and your appearance you have to make due with what you’ve got. Accept yourself and then love yourself whether you’re big, small, short or tall.
If the mental hacks suggested above don’t help then change your ways. Eat better and get active. You might not get the body that you admire and desire but you can certainly improve on the body that you have right now through diet and exercise if it’s important enough to you. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for walks, jogs, bicycle rides. Swim, do yoga, aerobics every couple of days. Play a sport or join a social group that incorporates exercise. The possibilities are endless, and they can be fun. You’ll feel better and look better.
The belly must go
I was happily going about my business at the work the other day when someone stopped me and asked "What kind of watch ⌚ is that? Interesting accessory to have on with a suit, don't you think?" 😄 I was amused by the shade and decided to satisfy my co-worker's curiosity. "It's a polar fitness watch. I use it to track my daily activity and keep me on track with fitness targets i.e. 10, 000 steps and give me insights on my stress and recovery levels using my heart rate and sleep scores. All this and more." At this point in time the method to my madness and unorthodox fashion sense seemed reasonable and I was then asked to shed more light and give recommendations. What I shared in that conversation is what I want to share with others here today.
Benefits of Fitness Trackers
The benefits of fitness trackers and wearable tech are great for keeping you on track and staying true to your goals. These include:
Best buy for those balling on a budget: Polar M430, Garmin 245, Coros Pace 2
Key shared highlights:
Best buy for those that just throw it in the bag: Garmin 945, Coros Apex Pro, Polar Vantage V2
Best buy for overall fitness tracking (female): fitbit charge 4
Wearable fitness isn't cheap, and the tech that is usually doesn't last long or offer very much. Other more expensive tech looks fancy but offers little in return. Don't be swayed by the half eaten fruit or pretty logo. The fitness trackers outlined above are ones that I have either had direct experience with or know someone that has and has been satisfied with the product. If you're tight on the pocket but would like one of these products then consider waiting until the Black Friday sales later this year. You can knock off a few coins from the selling price on the majority of these watches.
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritionist
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