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!
Hydration During Summer
The summer heat has been unforgiving this year 🥵! Solely depending on plain water to keep yourself hydrated is a mistake when you work out intensely. The quality of your fluids, particularly electrolytes, is just as important as the quantity you consume. Surviving on freezits and soft drinks 🥤 has minimal impact on hydration status for active individuals as it only provides a sugar dump and cooling effect for your body. Here’s what I do for optimal hydration:
Standard 40-45mls per kilogram of body weight daily. Buying 2.2 liter water jugs from Game, Shoprite or a China Mall keep me honest about my intake and make it easier for me to track.
When you’re pushing it and sweating a lot opting for fluid with electrolytes in it is your best approach. My go to beverages are coconut water 🥥 💧 and energade during and just after exercise. Not only do they keep me hydrated but they also keep me from cramping. Cramping is a direct result of an electrolyte imbalance. If you’re a cheapskate you can make a homemade electrolyte drink by mixing the following items 👉🏾
Bananas 🍌 , pretzels 🥨 and nuts 🥜 🌰 are the primary snacks I consume to help support my hydration levels. The sodium, magnesium and potassium elements balance my electrolytes and replenish what I lose in the gym when I sweat 😓. They’ll likely be a good addition for you too.
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 💪🏿:
Weight Loss Toolbox
Life's been busy the past couple of weeks and after struggling to fit myself into a number of suits I belatedly realized that I had put on some weight. I promptly hopped on the scale and found myself a full 6kgs heavier😵💫. I was shocked! I badly wanted to believe that it was a combination of low grade washing powder and 'made in China' clothing that converted comfortably fitting clothing into body hugging attire. But that's untrue 😩 . Anyway, I have no budget for another wardrobe so these same clothes must serve me. Many in a similar position tend to make full use of what I call a weight loss tool box. I'm going to quickly run through what most of us tend to do to avert a crisis.
Slimming teas 🍵
These are an intermittent solution that can be used for appetite control for anyone struggling with portion control and cravings. Other uses include inducing more urination to drop any excess water weight and pooping 💩 to help with bowel movements and clearing of waste. I view these as useful short term interventions.
Slimming supplements aka fat burners 💊
My personal experience with these has been a mixed bag and the truth is that they don't work unless you do. This means you have to move your body more, even if you're just walking more, watch what you eat and sleep properly to avoid hormonal confusion. Only then will these little pills and powders compliment your efforts. If used in isolation they'll do next to nothing. Note that fat burners are mostly stimulants that get you excited and encourage movement, mixed with thermogenic ingredients that increase body temperature and make you sweat more and/or appetite suppressing ingredients to keep your hunger at bay.
Konjac powder (glucomannan) in particular is a type of fiber weight loss chasers use to fill their stomachs prior to meals. Konjac once ingested expands in the stomach to help keep you full and prevent overeating. Over time eating less can lead to weight loss. Other forms of fiber are useful in any weight loss journey but konjac in my opinion has an edge. I haven't found any locally so if it appeals to you as a weight loss hack then you'd likely have to import it here from places like Bulk Powders UK.
Slimming juices 🥤
These are mostly laxatives in a liquid form. The general idea is to clear the backlog. The products are effective over the short term but they're nasty 🤢 and WILL test the strength of your desire to lose weight quickly. Pooping my way to slenderness by drinking a foul concoction is not my preferred way of doing things. It's uncomfortable and quite literally draining. But hey, to each his own.
Intermittent fasting aka diet ya njala 🍱 ⛔️
If I could do just one thing of everything listed here then it'd be intermittent fasting. It's simple really, your mouth opens at certain times and stays closed at other times. It takes some getting used to but works wonders for weight loss when executed properly.
Sustainable weight loss is only obtained via optimal dietary interventions, exercise and lifestyle adjustments. The weight loss toolbox is a quick fix and desperate attempt to lose weight quickly i.e. I want to fit into that dress by this xxx (date). Outside of intermittent fasting, dependance on other weight loss hacks listed above is unwise. Use them to get to where you want to be and stop. Change your habits and overall behaviour to maintain.
⚠️ People with pre-existing conditions (known or unknown), pregnancies or breastfeeding would be wise to consult a medical practitioner before utilizing any tool in the weight loss toolbox. You might slim yourself into non-existence if you don't know what you're doing.
I grew up believing the infomercials I saw on TV, the pictures and articles I saw and read in magazines. All you had to do was swallow this pill or mix this powder in your favourite drink and it would change your body from the inside out overnight. I genuinely believed that’s all it took and I spent my money on supplements waiting on my body to dramatically change. And when I didn’t see results I increased my investment in a whole cocktail of supplements. It took me a while to break down supplementation and understand what works and what doesn’t.
It's something you take before you work out to give you a little and sometimes big boost ⚡. These are fantastic 'switch on' supplements that can elevate your training by giving you energy and motivation to push harder. However, not all pre-workouts are created equal and not everyone responds the same to them. I'm not loyal to any specific pre-workout, I just look out for a reasonable combination of the following ingredients at these dosages to ensure energy, focus and a pump:
Creatine Monohydrate 🦍
Creatine is one of the few powdered supplements that have been thoroughly researched and proven to work. It helps improve strength, power, and muscle mass. Extensive studies have found that it is safe to consume long term without negative effects.
⚠️ Keep it simple and avoid other 'advanced' forms of creatine. It's not that they don't work, but that they just don't don't give you the same value for money. Stick to plain old creatine monohydrate.
Whey Protein 💪🏾
Protein is effective for muscle recovery and building muscle. The most important thing is the quantity and quality of protein consumed daily. 2g of protein x your bodyweight in kgs will give you a daily protein target to aim for. Depend on food first and supplement with protein to make up the difference where you fall short. How will you know? Download the Nutritionix app or Myfitnesspal app on your phone and start logging what you eat at each meal. You'll get a rough estimate of how much protein you're ingesting and if it falls short of the calculation outlined you may want to consider supplementing. If you don't fall short, then don't supplement. More isn't better.
I typically take 2-4 servings per day in addition to the food I already eat. I use protein supplements in specific phases and training blocks to cut weight and recover from sessions quickly during certain periods i.e. Summer Shredding. Outside of that it's just not that serious for me, it shouldn't be for you either.
Fat Burners 🔥
Great short-term options that mostly get the job done by acting as appetite suppressants and metabolism boosters. The stimulant versions of these products are a lot more effective than the non-stimulant versions. Be wary of excessive stimulants if you're taking both a fat burner and a pre-workout. One of them should be stimulant free if you want to combine the two because believe me when I tell you that overstimulation is not a sexy feeling.
⚠️ Pay attention to your mood on fat burners. If you don't feel good there's likely something in the product that doesn't agree with you. You might want to abandon ship and switch until you find what works for you.
Multivitamin 🌈 ✅
An insurance policy against any nutritional gaps which are more than likely for an active individual. They don't break the bank and benefits you get from them won't punch you in the face because they're are subtle but listen, they're very useful. Anyway, I'm a believer and Wellman's multivitamin (UK brand) is typically what I use. Available in local pharmacies.
Supplement World Zambia has everything you need in one store. Game stores is an alternative but it might be at a higher price point and so is Nutritech Zambia with more competitive pricing and product ranges. If you want to know more about ingredients in terms of what they do, whether they work and how much to take then read more on this on the examine.com website. It has excellent free resources to help you make an informed decision.
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 💻 .
Dropping a dress size or getting rid of that belly doesn't have to be a long drawn out, punishing process that only the tough among us can endure. It could really be as simple as adding more of one specific nutrient to your diet: fiber.
What is fiber?
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that passes through the digestive tract relatively undigested.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber moves through your digestive tract and it absorbs water to create a gel-like substance. This has a softening effect on your stool. Insoluble fiber is essentially roughage that does not dissolve in water, but absorbs it, helping to form bulkier poop and improve elimination. Overall, fiber intake helps reduce your risk for constipation, haemorrhoids (you don't want these, trust me), and some forms of cancer while also stabilising blood glucose levels, lowering total blood cholesterol, increasing fullness and delaying hunger and finally, improving gut health and immunity
Easy-to-find food sources of fiber:
Some tips for increasing fiber:
Fiber has a myriad of benefits and on the weight loss front fiber is king. There's no better appetite suppressant or cravings killer that can outdo fiber. Get yours in and you'll literally be flushing away the excess weight 🚽 💩.
⚠️ Warning: For those unaccustomed to high fiber intake you'd be wise to incorporate more lemon water and/or a probiotic supplement or probiotic containing food or drink such as yoghurt or kombucha to combat the gas 💨 you'll likely experience. The effects of gas tend to wear off with time so this recommendation is for those that would rather not wait 😄.
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritionist
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