Name: Xola Magwaza
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Why I decided to transform
The lowest point of my life came when I could not play professional soccer due to a chest infection that later resulted in asthma. I fell into a state of depression, which led me to eat my sorrows away.
Think two McDonalds meals simultaneously, multiple dinners, and late-night binging. I was ashamed of showing my body in public. I wore a XXL in shirts and size 40 in jeans.
I continued to play soccer socially to try maintain some form of fitness, but I just looked like an overweight veteran. I used to get chirped on the field about my weight from opponents. I decided that enough was enough: I needed bounce back into my prime.
Looking back at it now, I'm glad I decided to take matters into my own hands. The major differences that I feel today are that I have more energy and I am a lot more confident. I can finally wear tight-fitting clothing and feel good in it.
Weight: 242 lbs.
Body Fat: 33%
Weight: 169 lbs.
Body Fat: 15%
How I accomplished my goals
After consulting with my dietitian and reduced the calories I had to eat, it was obvious that my training method also had to change to go hand-in-hand with my diet. I was 110-percent committed: I made sure that I got no less than seven hours of sleep, I never missed a training day, and I set monthly goals to keep me motivated.
For Lent this year, I gave up all kinds of junk foods, cheat meals, juices, and sodas. Even after Lent was over, I decided to up the ante and challenge myself to something extreme: go 365 days without a cheat meal. So far so good; still going strong!
Sticking to my diet was a challenge, especially on Saturday and Sunday nights. Eating with my girlfriend proved tough, because the last thing she wanted to eat was tuna or chicken breasts on a Saturday night. And my mom's Sunday dinner is always to die for, but I limited myself there as well.
I'd felt committed the whole way through. I didn't need a lot of inspiration because I knew the only way to "get it" was to stay focused and dedicated. As I always say, you can't complain about the results you didn't work for. One thing that did—and still does—inspire me is the training montage in Rocky 3 when he was training with Apollo for the Clubber Lang rematch.
The effort, dedication, and hard work he puts in, along with that great soundtrack, really inspire me to go hard.
Supplements that helped me through my journey
With supplements, I just kept it simple and went with products that complemented my diet and training.
Diet plan that guided my transformation
I really appreciate the help my dietitian provided me. At the end of the day, you are what you eat. Food can be your biggest advantage or greatest downfall.
egg whites 4
rye bread 2 slices
pineapple 3 slices
Optimum Nutrition Hydro Whey 1 scoop
sweet potato 1
tuna 1 can
Light Mayonnaise 1 tbsp
Multigrain rice cakes 2
Fat-free cottage cheese 1/2 cup
Ostrich fillet 8 oz
veggies 1 cup
Training regimen that kept me on track
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip3 sets of 10-15 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown3 sets of 10-15 reps
Barbell Incline Bench Press - Medium Grip3 sets of 10-15 reps
Lying T-Bar Row3 sets of 10-15 reps
Cable Crossover3 sets of 10-15 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row3 sets of 10-15 reps
Barbell Squat3 sets of 10-15 reps
Lying Leg Curls3 sets of 10-15 reps
One Leg Barbell Squat3 sets of 10-15 reps
Seated Leg Curl3 sets of 10-15 reps
Leg Extensions3 sets of 10-15 reps
Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift3 sets of 10-15 reps
Seated Barbell Military Press4 sets of 10-15 reps
Side Lateral Raise4 sets of 10-15 reps
Front Dumbbell Raise4 sets of 10-15 reps
Seated Dumbbell Press4 sets of 10-15 reps
Reverse Flyes4 sets of 10-15 reps
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row4 sets of 10-15 reps
Dumbbell Shrug4 sets of 10-15 reps
Barbell Shrug4 sets of 10-15 reps
Barbell Curl3 sets of 10-15 reps
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press3 sets of 10-15 reps
Preacher Curl3 sets of 10-15 reps
Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment3 sets of 10-15 reps
Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl3 sets of 10-15 reps
Cable One Arm Tricep Extension3 sets of 10-15 reps
What aspect challenged me the most
I have days where I work late into the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes being up that late makes me really hungry, but I just have to bear with it. I had to make sure that I pushed my meals an hour or two over my normal schedule to have something in my stomach and eliminate those late-night cravings.
My future fitness plans
The sky is the limit. I have not quite planned anything concrete, but all of this cannot be for nothing. I plan on entering competitions, but I am still enjoying my life despite the hard work I put in. I am interested in entering international natural competitions should the opportunity arise some day.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
Have a clear understanding of what your goals are. Focus on yourself and know your limits.
When it comes to supplements, educate yourself. Don't just take supplements for the sake of it. Know what it contains and see if it suits what you want to achieve, but don't rely too much on them. There's no substitute for hard work, which brings me to the topic of your diet: Diet is the single most potent weapon when it comes to transforming your physique.
Go see a dietitian, get a plan that complements your lifestyle and training methods, and limit cheat days to a cheat meal. If your diet, training, and rest are on-point for a consistent period of time (not just four, six, or eight weeks), you will reap the benefits of your hard work.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
I wouldn't be where I am today had it not been for Bodybuilding.com. I can confidently say that, since I got my BodySpace account activated, there hasn't been a single day that goes by without me going on the site. Everything I needed to know was all on the site.
I have educated myself tremendously about bodybuilding just by reading the articles. Every single article goes into detail, leaving no stone unturned. Constantly updating my BodySpace account kept me disciplined and focused, because I couldn't say one thing there and then live a completely different lifestyle.
Xola's Top Gym Tracks
"Breaking the habit"
Chief Keef Ft. Lil Reese
"I Don't like"
"Breaking the habit"
Chief Keef Ft. Lil Reese
"I Don't like it"
I'd like to thank my amazing girlfriend for always seeing the best in me even though I never saw it in myself. She always supported me and stood by me when I had to eat clean and cancelled on a few dinner dates.
Thank you to my mom, who helped me out a lot when it came to food, and to my family for all the support and praise. Thank you to my gym partners, Matthew Fagri and Tshepiso Mothokoa, for being there and helping me get this far in my personal journey.
Thank you to my personal trainer, Dougal McDonald, for seeing the potential in me and showing me the ropes; Lou-Ann Rivett for allowing me to train in her gym, even when I was a bit behind on payment; and Georgia Torres for kick-starting my fitness campaign (you are a godsend).
Finally, thank you to all my friends that gave me the extra motivation by just being proud of what I have accomplished and keeping me positive.