Rugby players spend a lot of time in the gym adding muscle and building strength to perform on the field and Sihle Diniso was no exception.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic swept through the country, Sihle was playing rugby for the University of the Free State and the Cheetahs franchise, alternating between the pivotal lock and flank positions.
“I spent a lot of time in the gym and had gained a lot of muscle. I was also pretty lean from all the training and exercise.”
At the peak of the season, the tall player weighed a lean 99-102 kilos.
His inability to get through an entire training session came a shock to Sihle and served as a rude awakening to his post-lockdown health and condition.
“I was out of action for a month after that training session. And I didn’t feel great in general and was tired all the time. Even after I got back into the gym, I could push weights but had no endurance.”
Sihle explains that he wanted to feel and look good again and looked for a plan that could get his health and body back on track.
He attempted to follow his own approach for a month but soon realised he didn’t know enough about nutrition and eating for weight loss to achieve his goal.
“I was eating just two meals a day on weekdays in an attempt to cut calories. But this meant I starved myself during the week and I ended up eating too much over weekends,” explains Sihle.
He also focused on weight training and wasn’t doing much cardio.
“I remembered reading about the USN Body Makeover Challenge before and went onto the website to see if it was still running. The next competition started in a few weeks time so I decided to sign up.”
Sihle weighed 110 kilos when he started the challenge.
“What I liked most about the USN Body Makeover Challenge was the various options it provided. It was easy to choose a plan that would fit into my lifestyle and everything is there in black and white. It is impossible to go wrong!”
Sihle selected the low-calorie eating plan as it ensured he reduced his daily energy intake but ate more regularly, which meant he never felt starved.
“I never felt like I didn’t have energy to get through the day, which was really beneficial and much easier to stick to.”
However, Sihle had to change his approach to meal prep to make it a sustainable change to his lifestyle.
“Planning and preparing my weekly meals proved the most challenging aspect of the transformation process,” he recalls.
“When you run low on energy and food doesn’t fill you up, you tend to make poor food choices. But when I did the meal prep upfront, I always had a healthy meal on hand as I carried it with me. This made it easier to stick to the plan.”
Sihle also changed his training approach based on the recommended approach in the Body Makeover Challenge guide.
“I was following a traditional body part training split, which didn’t burn fat as effectively. I chose to follow one of the training programmes provided by USN, which proved far more effective at helping me lose weigh and get leaner.”
Sihle’s weekly workout split:
Day 1: Push + cardio
Day 2: Pull + cardio
Day 3: Legs + cardio
He also started to include cardio, focusing mainly on cycling, rowing and the elliptical due to his knee injury.
“I performed 20 minutes of cardio with every session and ended up falling in love with the elliptical trainer. I still use it now,” says Sihle.
By following the tried and tested USN Body Makeover Challenge approach, Sihle lost 15 kilos in 12 weeks and earned the title of 2021 Male Winner.
Since completing the challenge, Sihle says he now has a different perspective about training and food.
“I am more discerning about what I eat and know how different foods affect me. I also have more knowledge about training and dieting and how to incorporate different styles based on my goals at the time.”
The transformation process also created greater mental strength in Sihle, who is now able to stick to his diet plan and resist the temptation to eat foods he doesn’t want to eat.
“And I have more energy than ever and my motivation levels have never been higher.”
Sihle is currently working to add more muscle and get leaner to compete in a bodybuilding show as a physique athlete.
“Ultimately, I learnt that food’s primary role is to provide your body with energy, and that creating a calorie deficit is the key to weight loss.”
Sihle says he now feels empowered to maintain this lifestyle and adapt his approach as needed to achieve the results he wants.
“I trust my knowledge and experience to create a plan that helps me achieve my goals. I’ve also learnt that as long as you have the ambition, you can do something about your condition or your situation in life. It is never too late to change your lifestyle, so don’t want for a big trigger. Do it now because it is worth the effort.”
Favourite healthy dish: Baked or grilled baby potatoes and sirloin steak
Favourite workout: Pulling movements for back
Favourite exercise: Pull-ups or rows
Your top diet tip: Plan and prep beforehand to make sure you are ready for anything
Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program or taking any dietary supplements. The content on this website is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.