These words lie at the heart of Kabelo Mabalane’s philo-sophy on fitness. Having lost more than 40kg and completing seven Comrades marathons in the past seven years, the kwaito star has become the poster boy for healthy body transformation.
But Mabalane’s journey to what is undoubtedly his best body ever, hasn’t been easy. For years, the former TK Zee member battled with drug and alcohol abuse and since getting clean, he has dedicated himself to spreading the word about living a healthy lifestyle. Last year, Mabalane teamed up with DStv to create a show called Kabelo’s Boot Camp.
On the show, Mabalane takes 10 overweight South Africans through an eleven-week course to lose weight. All the contestants work towards one goal: to lose the highest percentage of weight possible.
Speaking about how he has been able to help the contestants on the first season of the show, he said: “I’ve got to a point where I’ve practiced certain principles for sustained periods and they have worked for me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that should they [contestants] apply them, they will experience transformation.”
The first of Mabalane’s fitness beliefs has to do with a person’s mindset.
“You need to take full responsibility for your current [physical] status. Embrace the fact that it’s not someone else’s fault or poor circumstances,” he says.
Discovering why and how you’ve gained weight could help you figure out what you need to change about your lifestyle. Did you discover a great new bakery and have since become a regular customer?
Did you go through a particular life event that has led you to eat for comfort? Or have you been solely focused on getting a promotion at work, such that you no longer have time to go to gym or spend time outdoors? Once you can figure out what the obstacles have been to your fitness, you can start working on removing them.
The second rule on Mabalane’s list could possibly be the hardest one for many of us to follow: controlling the food.
“Six-packs are made in the kitchen, not the gym,” he says.
“It’s 70% diet, 20% exercise and 10% genetics.”
According to Mabalane, what you eat is the most important factor to consider in your fitness plan. The trick here is simple: eat more of the good stuff such as fruit, vegetables and protein and limit the amount of carbohydrates, fats and sugars. Preparing tomorrow’s meals today is an easy way to control what you eat.
Thirdly, Mabalane says: “Cut the emotion about your body and methodically follow a structured, realistic plan.”
Don’t spend too much time scrutinising your body and counting your flaws.
“Work with what you have and work with it now,” he says.
Commit to a date, time and place to start working out and don’t make any excuses. Set up your work-out routine in a way that makes it easy for you to stick to it. If you enjoy working out at a gym, sign up to one that’s close to home or work. If you prefer working out at home, make sure you have the space and the necessary equipment (dumbbells, skipping rope, workout DVDs, upbeat music) you may need for your workout.
Pushing your body to its limits is the only way to achieve results, which is why Mabalane always tells his contestants to “make friends with discomfort and hardship”.
Working out is not easy – and it shouldn’t be, but the results, which can include increased energy, better sleep and an overall improved quality of life, are priceless.
Mabalane’s last words of fitness wisdom are “always finish what you start”.
Every gym instructor will tell you: don’t ever give up on your fitness goals. If you decide to join a fitness programme like boot camp, do yourself a favour and complete it, no matter what. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.