Eat clean, train mean, get lean. NPL athlete Khulekani “KK” Sibiya shares his secrets on how to build and maintain a lean, muscular athletic look all-year round!

Maintaining a lean physique all year round may seem like mission impossible to many but KK has the formula all worked out.

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The get lean equation

When asked how he does it, KK simply puts it down to the combination of mindful eating and disciplined training.

Attaining a well-toned and defined physique requires more than just counting calories. You need to learn about your body and what works best for you,” he explains.

KK emphasises the law of individual difference – the principle that what works for one individual may not necessarily work optimally for another.

Having learnt this early on in his fitness journey, KK has since taken the time to learn as much as he can about his body through trial and error.

From testing multiple diet plans to nutrient sources, macronutrient ratios, and his daily calorie intake, it has taken him years to find the optimal nutritional balance which he believes allows him to thrive – preserving his muscle mass while maintaining a relatively low body fat percentage.

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Nutrition matters: The KK study

I follow a high-protein eating plan with moderate amounts of carbs and fats,” explains KK.

He is macronutrient split is 50% protein, 30% carbs and 20% fats.

Contrary to what many believe regarding fat loss, we shouldn’t completely eliminate carbohydrates and fats from our nutritional plan,” warns KK.

By balancing these macronutrients, we are better able to regulate our metabolic and endocrine (hormonal) systems to ensure our body performs optimally.”

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A day of wholesome, clean-eating with KK

  1. Morning glory: KK starts his day with half a grapefruit; a glass of warm water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, chased by a serving of NPL’s L-carnitine.
  2. Meal 1: ProOats (120g raw weight), a sprinkle of cinnamon; a serving of NPL 100% Whey Isolate protein; topped off with a handful of blueberries.
  3. Meal 2: 120g grilled chicken breast, 100g basmati rice, and 80g cucumber.
  4. Meal 3: 120g grilled hake fillets, 100g basmati rice, and a handful of green beans.
  5. Meal 4 (pre-workout meal): 2 servings of NPL 100% Whey Isolate protein, 1 serving of NPL Cream of Rice; and a dash of cocoa powder.
  6. Meal 5: A small green salad paired with a few asparagus branches, 150g grilled chicken breasts and a handful of Brazil nuts.

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Train INSANE or remain the same!

Training protocols may change but the one thing that remains a constant is KK’s training intensity.

Never to be out-worked, he thrives on drop-sets, giant-sets and challenges himself with more advanced training methods such as the FST-7 training system developed by world-renowned bodybuilding coach, Hany Rambod.

As if that isn’t enough, KK prioritises cardio training 4 to 5 times a week, either post-workout or first thing in the morning.

I push my body hard knowing that I’m getting closer to my goals with every session,” says KK. However, he warn that recovery is just as important as training when you employ this strategy.

This is where he benefits tremendously from his NPL supplements regimen.

These quality products allow me to push my limits day in and day out, while ensuring that I recover in time for my next session.”

Supplementing his WHEY to all-year shreddedness

KK’s recommended NPL supplement shopping list for ultimate fat-burning, and body toning:

  • NPL L-Carnitine 2500: Stimulant-free weight management aid formulated to convert fat stores into energy.
  • NPL CLA 1000: Supports the breakdown of fats and is a stimulant-free body toner.
  • NPL Thermo Fuel: Potent thermogenic fat-burner which enhances energy, speeds up the metabolism, and boosts mental focus.
  • NPL Water Cuts: Electrolyte balanced diuretic to release excess water weight and improve muscle definition.
  • NPL Neuro Burn: Hybrid pre-workout enhanced with nootropics to aid alertness and focus.
  • NPL 100% Whey Isolate: Ultra-filtered, premium whey protein for rapid absorption.

Athlete stats

  • Profession: Portfolio Manager
  • Lives: Roodepoort, Gauteng
  • Trains: Virgin Active
  • Competitive highlights: Mr Pretoria 2015, 2021 IFBB Pro League KZN Iron Showdown Men’s Physique Overall Champion
  • Sponsors: Nutritional Performance Labs (NPL), Dranged, Trifocus Academy
  • Instagram @kksibiya

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Living high on LIFE and LOW in FAT

We all have 24 hours in a day but how we choose to spend it is very different. KK emphasises the need to prioritise what you value most in life, set goals, practice self-control and manage your time effectively.

I am a very structured individual. I ensure that all my meals are pre-packed and prepped on time. I write down tasks on a daily planner to ensure that I know what I need to do and that it gets done. I believe in living life to the full, which is only possible with discipline and structuring your life around your values.”

KK’s top tip: How to hack a diet plan

It’s very simple: diets should be a lifestyle. That means it should from part of your life and should not feel like an obligation. Try to build your eating plan around foods that you mostly enjoy but remember to practise self-control by keeping your daily calorie intake goals and expenditure in mind. Stay motivated by rewarding your efforts with one small ‘cheat’ meal a week, without it cascading into a cheat day. Make small changes each week to your meal plan, avoiding a bland and monotonous diet.

Quick facts

  1. Best music to train to? Hip Hop, Rap and Rock
  2. Favourite cheat meal? Sushi
  3. Least favourite vegetable? Tomatoes
  4. Best inspirational quote? “The biggest risk is to risk nothing”
  5. Thing to do when not training? Enjoying time outdoors with friends
  6. Exercises you love and hate at the same time? Definitely any exercise that focuses on glutes.
  7. How many meals do you eat on average per day? 6-7
  8. How many calories do you consume daily? 2300-2500 calories during competition season and 3500-4000 calories per day during the off-season.
  9. What’s in your gym bag? NPL supplements, knee straps, waist belt, grips, and toiletries.

Quick-fire Qs:

  • Can you out-train a bad diet? No, I believe there is no getting around a bad diet.
  • Does fat-loss requires a low-carb diet? No, you can burn fat without having to starve your body of carbohydrates.
  • Do you have more gym outfit options than regular outing clothing? Yes, I spend more time in the gym than going out so it makes sense that I have more gym outfits, right? Look good, feel good vibes.