Name: Damian Wade du Plessis
Height: 1.74 m
Competition weight: 80-82 kg
Current weight: 90 kg
Current city: Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation: Buyer in procurement
How did you get started?
I used to play football all of my life and a few years ago suffered 2 terrible knee injuries and as a result was unable to take football further. I was not used to being inactive so a friend recommended I join him for a workout at the gym.
March 2010, I have not looked back since.
What do you love about it and how do you stay motivated?
I love the solo aspect of gym, the raw mantra of “WHAT YOU PUT IN YOU GET OUT.”
I learned to appreciate this especially coming from a background with team sports. Besides the ‘look’ that fitness brings, I also appreciate and value the added health benefits, a healthy body a healthy mind.
I stay motivated because I always have goals; I always want to progress, long term and short term. I’m never at any point training ‘blindly’.
What made you decide to enter your first competition?
People at various gyms kept urging me to do it. One day I just decided to give it a try, why not. This was in 2014.
What show(s) are you planning to enter this year?
What are your future plans?
Well in fitness I solely aim to leave a mark on the SA fitness scene. I want to be remembered as a great athlete for my physique, work ethic, and attitude. I also want to keep being a great ambassador for this sport and hopefully a role model to younger aspiring athletes.
In the near future I’m aiming to finish my degree in Finance and just see where the road leads from there.
Knowledge is everything!!
When it comes to the process of preparing for a competition, what sort of process do you follow?
Firstly believe it or not I never cut out junk food, I know it seems bad but It keeps me sane haha. So my preps are usually 7 – 8 weeks.
I keep carbs high and clean for the first 5 weeks, with every meal. I have a cheat day on Sunday, I usually favour burgers during my prep as you still get lots of protein there, and I love chocolate.
From experience I have learned that the sooner you start cardio the better. Getting your body fat to a really low percentage early on can be advantageous.
I say so because then you are able to tweak and fine tune certain areas of your physique whilst still being really ripped and sensitive to food. Also it eliminates the extra stress of prep in those last few weeks. 2 – 3 weeks out from show day I gradually start dropping carbs and increasing cardio, at this stage I cut out junk food. I believe 5 hours of cardio per week will see you through. It’s tough, but worth it.
Take us through an average day of yours:
This is me on a great day, which I try make most days haha.
- Wake up, alarm is set for 5 am
- In gym by 5:30 either for a morning workout or cardio usually fasted cardio for 30 minutes.
- Home, make breakfast: oats, pack my meals.
- Out of the house by 7:30 am and on my way to work, which starts at 8 am.
- Work ends at 4:30 pm. I head straight home and relax for a few minutes then gear up for training again.
- Assuming I did cardio in the morning I will then lift weights for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
- I have my last meal after gym which is around 8 pm then it’s an early night for me.
I don’t watch TV at all unless it’s football, so I always sleep early and wake up early.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
My philosophy on my diet, I have 2 things I always say:
- Your diet does not have to be boring (so add spices and sauces, not too much of either and be selective with sauces, there are low calorie options for just about every sauce)
- Stick to your diet and be patient. Things take time, especially in fitness.
If you enjoy your food it’s easier to eat. If you understand and commit to your goals, you will eat it anyway haha.
My diet changes as I go along but right now this is pretty much it:
- Meal 1: big bowl of oats with whey protein, cinnamon and peanut butter
- Meal 2: 150g steak, basmati rice, and some avo
- Meal 3: 150-200g chicken breast, with sweet potato
- Meal 4: 200g ostrich mince, basmati rice, green beans
- Meal 5: chicken breast and sweet potato and egg whites
What are your top nutrition tips to shed fat while holding on to as much muscle as possible?
Eat!! Keep carbs and protein clean and moderate.
I think a good thing is also trying to do 20 minutes of cardio after every second workout , so if you train everyday do cardio every second day. This keeps you lean, and your diet should keep you looking full not flat.
When lifting, keep reps high for muscle density and don’t be afraid to add weight, you don’t have to be the strongest dude in the gym, but increase your effort so your muscles will grow.
What do you normally eat before and after training? What’s the ideal foods to take in after training in your opinion?
There are many opinions for this question. So I’m just going to share mine.
I like to eat my last meal 2-3 hours before training; I much prefer to train on an empty stomach. Chicken and rice or steak and rice are preferred choices before gym.
Post workout I drink my whey shake immediately, then I try my absolute best to get a meal in no later than after 30 minutes. There I prefer steak or ostrich, with potatoes and avo (for good fats) and egg whites.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training routine:
What you put in you get out. Your results reflect your work ethic, your commitment and dedication, results are the truth.
Stay focused, be smart, work hard.
Do you include much cardio in your training?
I never did before, but I’m slowly starting to phase it in.
What are your three favourite exercises and why?
So many to choose from.
1. Flat bench press.
This exercise is the one haha, it’s a pure display of power and grit and also a constant challenge. I enjoy it.
2. Lat pull downs.
I just enjoy everything about back day.
3. Preacher curls.
The pump is crazy and biceps are great haha ;)
What tips and advice would you give for developing size and strength in your arms?
- Push heavy with triceps; it’s the largest muscle on your arm.
- Always do preacher curls for biceps.
- Don’t neglect forearms.
- Make a day in your program for just training arms.
What is the most common question you get asked?
Do you take steroids??
My answer always – NO I don’t , because I don’t.
Favorite Influential bodybuilders:
- Favourite bodybuilder Jay cutler.
- Most influential Kai greene.
- Also a big fan of Arnold and his ways and mentality in his prime.
- Most admired physique for me would be that of Serge Nubret and Flex Wheeler.
“It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.”
Favourite female fitness icons:
Paige Hathaway and Andrea Brazier. They are both on point haha.
Best piece of advice you ever received?
Work for it. I grew up with that notion.
What are some things you see guys/girls doing wrong in the gym that you would like to see less of?
Talking whilst on a machine. Someone else could be doing a set. Also improper form, trying to impress others.
What competitions have you competed in and your placings?
- Rossi classic 2015 | male fitness | 1st and overall winner
- Rossi rand bodies | male fitness | 1st and and overall winner
- Rossi grand prix | male fitness | 1st
- Nabba provincials | male fitness | 3rd
- Nabba nationals | male fitness | 2nd
- Nabba WFF world championships | 7th in bodybuilding (was a learning curve and experience , I will stay in fitness thanks)
- Rossi classic 2014 | male fitness | 1st and overall winner (my first show)