Name: Dani Waterston
Height: 1,69 m
Competition weight: 56kg
Current weight: 59kg
Current city: Johannesburg, South Africa
Occupation: Psychometrist and Client Relationship Manager/Nutritionist
Sponsored by: Evox Supplements and Ironrodds Gym
How did you get started or have you always been active and lived a fit and healthy lifestyle?
I have always been involved in an active lifestyle. My family has always been health/fitness conscious so I always had exposure. But this type of physical attention put pressure on me to remain a certain way.
“I struggled with body issues and other problems growing up. My weight fluctuated a lot during this time, along with my self-esteem and self-image.”
At the end of 2009 I was partying a lot, drinking and leading a very unbalanced and in essence destructive lifestyle. Needless to say I packed on a whopping 20 kgs between 2009 and 2011! Denial became my best friend during this time.
I was deeply unhappy and I knew it. I realized that I was carrying a lot of emotional weight and decided to tackle it on four levels:
I started with my trainer Doug Rodd, got an eating plan, threw myself back into therapy and began my journey.
“I created little goals along the way.”
I wanted to do Body Beautiful as a friend had done it the year before and I NEVER thought I could do it. My goal was achieved in September 2012 and that is when this incredible opportunity to begin my career in the fitness industry began :)
What do you love about it?
There is no better feeling that I experience like the one when I challenge myself. By stepping up on stage and knowing that I have worked countless hours to get there is the most empowering experience.
What competitions have you competed in and your placings?
Last year was my first year competing.
- Body Beautiful, 9th
- Rossi Classic, Top 10
- WPF SA Champs, 5th
- USN Face of Fitness Challenge, Top 6
What are your future plans?
I recently completed my Masters in Psychology and qualified as a nutritionist. My entire life journey with food, health and fitness has been quite complex and last year (after my shows) I realized how crucial it is to have someone aid in maintenance and containment after reaching your goals. To be honest, I did (and I noticed many others) dipped into a bit of a depression when all the hype ended.
“I plan to get into coaching and offer a maintenance service to help individuals (in the fitness industry and around) maintain their goals and reintegrate themselves as this ‘new person’ into normal life.”
I’m not giving away the whole plan but I will be combining psychology with nutrition to achieve a holistic approach to this :)
I definitely plan on continuing to compete and go to Vegas within the next 3 years! It would be an amazing experience.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- I usually wake up 5am/5:30am. Put my gym clothes on and hit the gym – either Ironrodds 3 times per week or Morningside. I train for an hour (mainly heavy weight training).
- After I get home I practically inhale my Evox shake and oats and get ready for work. I work at a consulting company.
- The rest of my day is usually spent visiting clients, replying to emails and some admin.
- During competition season I may train twice a day so I will hit the gym again around 4pm for some interval cardio.
- That’s followed by walking my dog and then lazing in front of the TV/going for dinner with a friend.
- Then finally I return to my bed, around 9/10pm.
Give us a description of your philosophy on your diet
My philosophy is pretty simple:
- Eat consistently
- Never go hungry
- Eat foods you enjoy
- Have enough protein
- Avoid sugar and high GI carbs,
- Plan your day ahead
- And most importantly EAT WHEN YOU ARE HUNGRY.
“So often people mistaken emotions for hunger and as a result make unhealthy choices that make them feel miserable afterwards. Listen to your body.”
My diet is pretty strict: 6 meals a day, protein and low GI carbs. I have at least 4L of water a day. When I am not competing I keep to the same structure but of course it is less rigid – I am human after all and love good food!
How do you stay motivated to keep on training and sticking to your diet?
This is quite a tough question to answer as it was difficult to motivate myself at the beginning of this year. The most important thing to know is that you have to dig deep. That is what I do. I think about what I want and how to get it, remind myself to be patient and just keep going.
“There are many mornings that I want to sleep in and many dinners that I want to eat the plate next to me but I constantly remind myself what it is I am trying to achieve for myself. I feel amazing after a workout and that feeling is motivation in itself.”
I have recently sought a lot of support from my Evox team mates (Rudi Pretorius and Jacques Greeff) and they have been great! They definitely help keep me motivated.
I also keep things exciting. I make good tasting food, I like the gym clothes I wear and I write down my training routines to keep track. In essence I take pride in what I do and when I start seeing results it drives me more to continue.
“If the reward outweighs the current situation go for it! It isn’t easy but it is so fulfilling in the long run.”
What’s your favourite cheat meal?
I have to admit I have a sweet tooth. I’m a sucker for muffins, cake, ice cream and chocolate but I LOVE more wholesome foods like pizza and pasta. I try treat myself to more meal based treats than junk as I have become very sensitive to sugar and it puts me on a bit of a sugar-high.
What supplements do you use?
I use a range of Evox products. Specifically:
- 100% Whey
- Synergy whey
- Caseine whey (on occasion)
- Evox Hydro Heat
- MCT oil
Give us a description of your philosophy on your training and on average how long do you workout for?
WEIGHT TRAINING IS GOLDEN! Your body is capable of doing so much more than you think it can. The weight section gives you the freedom to truly challenge yourself. Ask a trainer for guidance though as incorrect training can lead to injuries.
“I do believe cardio is important but I enjoy high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio as you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.”
I weight train 4-5 times per week and do HIIT cardio about 4 times per week (30min max per session). I enjoy long distance running too but not during competition season.
How do you measure your progress? And how often?
I do a body fat assessment and measurements once per month and weigh myself numerous times during the week. I don’t advise that others weigh themselves this often though – competition dieting/training/measuring is different to daily life.
How much cardio do you normally perform each week? What’s your favourite form of cardio?
I absolutely love the stepper. I do interval based cardio on this for 20 minutes. This consists of 2 minutes warm up and then an increase in intensity every minute for 4 minutes then back to base lines level. This ‘4 minute intensity increase’ is repeated 3 more times after that. Let me tell you after that you really feel like you’ve had a serious work out! I don’t do a lot of cardio in general. I like to do about 30-40 minutes twice to three times a week. However I do an extra 20 minutes after my weights during competition season. Once a week I take my dog for a 30 minute power walk as well.
What would you say are the top exercises women should include in their back work outs?
I definitely recommend:
These are great and such a challenge!
Fitness models or bodybuilders?
Ronnie Coleman is a living legend! Fact! I have to take my hat off to my coach Doug Rodd as well, as he is an ex body builder who did incredibly well during his competing days.
Favourite female fitness icon(s):
Jillian Michaels (from The Biggest Loser) is my fitness idol. She is inspiring and motivating. My fitness girl crush is Jamie Eason, she is just wow!
“Your life is a physical manifestation of your thoughts.”
“Every possibility already exists.”
What do you think are some of the biggest mistakes or myths that many girls fall prey to when starting out in the gym?
I feel there are 2 major downfalls: Women do too much cardio, and are afraid of weights.
- Myth #1: Cardio burns fat. Yes, HIIT cardio does, but not hours on a cardio machine, this burns muscle! In fact, weight training has proven to be more effective in fat burning as your metabolic rate is raised and you burn more calories for the 24 hours following your workout.
- Myth #2: Weights make woman bulky. This isn’t possible as women do not have enough testosterone to bulk. The amount of weight training a woman needs to do in order to gain muscle is quite a large amount. I weight train 4-5 times a week with heavy weights and do I look all manly and bulky?
Advice for someone wanting to change their lifestyle and achieve their ideal physique?
DO IT! Actions beat good intentions every time! Don’t just think about it, rather implement your actions.
It is hard, it is a mental challenge and you will want to give up BUT don’t. It is much easier breaking it down and taking it slow. E.g. commit to gym 3 times per week on 3 specific days, visit a nutritionist for a realistic life plan, visit a trainer for an exercise programme/sessions and commit to sticking to it for 3 weeks. Finally, face the fear. Go have a body fat assessment, use a pair of jeans that track your progress and, yes, weigh yourself.
I like to use the scale as it shows consistency. HOWEVER it can be an invalid reading, but it is still an important measure to use. If you do not want to know your weight have your nutritionist document it – you need to know where you stand.
The gym isn’t for everyone. If you are one of these people, no problem! Take up something you enjoy: dancing; outdoor walking; road running; martial arts; cross-fit; swimming. There is so much to do and all you have to do is decide that you want to do it and DO IT!