'I gained 13 kilos of muscle by tracking my calories'

Exercise and the right food will transform your body.
Exercise and the right food will transform your body.

Growing up, Fulufhelo Siphuma knew all about the great benefits of exercise. But when life got a bit too demanding, fitness took a back seat. Not liking the sluggish feelings due to the lack of exercise, she decided to head back to the gym and totally transform her body. Wanting to challenge herself, set her sights on building lean muscle. With a whole lot of determination, consistency and discipline, this audit manager gained 13kg of muscle and is now sharing her passion for fitness.

Fulufhelo Siphuma

City: Pretoria

Occupation: Audit manager

Weight before: 49kg

Weight after: 62kg

Time required to reach goal: A year

Secret weapon to your fitness journey: Discipline and proper time management

How it all started

“I have always been active growing up. When I grew up, we used to fetch water from the communal street tap, these on rare blessed golden days, otherwise you would first have a fierce fight with a bull in order to get your turn to draw water from a spring. I did a lot of other house chores which kept me active. We also had a bit of sport at school even though we had very little facilities,” she recalls. When Fulufhelo went to university to study chartered accounting, she slipped a bit on her physical activity due to her demanding schedule. Due to this, she says that her energy levels dropped, making it harder to concentrate and be productive.

It wasn’t only her activity levels that had her energy levels down; her eating wasn’t that great either. “I used to eat anything with the mindset that I have a faster metabolism and would never gain weight. I loved simple carbs such as cakes, chocolates,” she explains. Fulufhelo wasn’t happy with her lack of energy; she decided it was time to head back to the gym.

“I had to find something that will increase my energy levels and keep me upbeat. I started going back into fitness.” When she got back into things, she kept it basic. “Bodyweight exercises were my go-to exercises at the beginning of my journey”. When her body changed, she started adding in weight training. Next to change was her eating habits. She adjusted her eating habits to suit her goals, something which is often easier said than done.

How she eats

“My goal to transform and build muscle and I was having a hard time eating enough calories to build muscle. I started calorie tracking to ensure I am consuming enough protein and calories to meet my goals. And kept a calories-ingested versus calories-expended journal. Along the way, I learnt that no workout is good enough to transform a body without a solid diet plan behind it. Once I got over the hurdle of actually showing up to the gym consistently, I had to ensure that my results were not sabotaged by bad eating habits,” she explains.

This meant that she needed to ensure that she ate the right food pre and post workouts. “I started fuelling my body right so that I don’t sabotage my results. I fuelled my workout with high-quality carbs and followed up my exercises with lean protein and yet more carbs. If you want to put on weight, you cannot be shy with the carbs and good fats.” Fulufhelo eats six meals a day, all which are balanced and cater to her goals.

On a typical day, she starts with oats, three fresh fruits, one of which is a banana, and a scoop of protein powder. Fulufhelo has a variety of snacks of which she chooses from, such as boiled eggs, avocado toast, protein bars, cottage cheese and veggies, and fruit. Lunch and dinner consist of a lean protein like chicken, fish and steak with salad, vegetables and brown rice. Fulufhelo says that she is sure to track her calories set her goals on an app so that she knows she is hitting her target. And to round off her day, she has a protein shake before bed.

More than muscle gains

Fulufhelo says that since falling in love with fitness, she’s had a better approach to working out, “I work out because I love my body and not because I hate my body and that helps me enjoy the journey so much more”. This has led to her coming out of her shell since her transformation, so much so, that she now aspires to help others reach self -love and confidence. “My confidence grew and passion expanded to also instilling the love for fitness to other people. That is how Fulufhelo Siphuma-fitnesswas born to give tips to the fitness family. Right now we are sitting in 33 000 followers. I started the fitness boot camps and radio fitness talks as well. Where I instil this confidence and self-love,” she explains.

Fulufhelo’s tips

Wellness is a necessity: “As women, it is imperative that we prioritise wellness and healthy lifestyles to energise us for the demands that life puts on us be it motherhood, executive position, entrepreneurship art etc. Wellness is not just exercise; it comes in many forms, be it meditation, painting, reading, writing, and getting that spa day.”

Be patient: “If you are embarking on a weight loss or a weight gain regime, results will not come overnight as we would wish, but this journey is totally worth it and your body will reward you for it in more ways than one. You will enjoy how exercise immediately improves your state of mind and energises you.”

Give yourself a break: “It is okay to rest. Your body actually needs to rest. It’s good and well when you’re so committed to your workout, but if you’re not giving your body enough time to recover and rebuild, it can increase your risk of injury and actually hinder your progress.”

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

Image credit: iStock

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