Name: Zinhle Masango
Height: 1.64 m
Current weight: 68 kg
Current city: Kempton Park, South Africa
Occupation: Online coach
What made you get started with training and eating right? Has it always been a part of your life?
I have always been athletic, and did athletics at school which I excelled in as well as netball in primary and high school. I literally started weight training and gym in 2014 but became more serious late last year.
Who has been your biggest influence/support in your life and how did they affect you?
My coach Given Mthimunye, he taught me everything I know now about fitness training and diet. For crying out loud, now I am doing cardio because of him, and I never ever did cardio. He truly is my pillar.
Another person would be Sibusiso Kotelo, he has achieved so much and he’s open to give me advice whenever I require it.
Are you currently preparing for your first show?
I was until a week ago when I injured my knee while doing leg extensions. I was 4 weeks out when I got injured.
Prep is not easy at all, it requires a lot of discipline and hard work. Before commencing with the prep, my coach took me for a trial run: workout plan and diet plan. So when I started with the prep, it was not a shock to my body.
Do you ever have to deal with negativity from other women in the gym/social media regarding this ‘fitness’ sport and your involvement in it? How do you deal with that?
Yes, a lot. Especially being a black female. Bodybuilding in our community is not yet socially accepted by the masses.
I have to deal with guys telling me I look like a man. So I simply tell them if they lifted as much weight as I do they would look like a man too! hahaha
If you do, why do think some people are like that?
Definitely it is misunderstanding and lack of information on this type of sport.
What are your future plans?
Short term goals:
- To run my own boot camp sessions (military style).
- Go on stage, I was really disappointed that I could not take part in the November show due to my injury.
- Represent a fitness brand.
- Get more celebrity clientele (only training one celebrity at the moment).
- Launch my FitnessJunkie home gym starter packs.
- Own a private gym.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- Wake up at around 5:45am, say a prayer, go through my instagram lol.
- Prep my son for crèche, have some coffee and take my morning supplements.
- Walk up to the gym, do cardio.
- Come back home, prep my meals, eat, attend to my client’s emails and draft out training plans, eat, and eat some more.
- Go to the gym for weight training, eat, bath my son and tuck him in, pray and get ready to sleep.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
I keep it as clean as possible. I make sure I have a balanced combination of complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and most importantly water!
Every now and again, I take in a cheat meal too.
What are your top Nutrition tips for losing fat?
Diet, diet, diet and Cardio or HIIT along with a good fat burner.
What process do you follow when it’s time to start getting ready for a competition/photoshoot?
I literally cut out all simple carbs and alcohol. My diet is mainly made up of complex carbs and fish (KETO diet). I also train twice a day as opposed to my usual one session a day.
What supplements do you use and think are necessary for a beginner?
I personally think a good whey protein and a fat burner are necessary for a beginner. That’s what I used when I first started gyming.
What are your top tips for the ladies looking to actually gain some quality muscle? Is it a hard process?
For me, there should be a balance between cardio, weight training, good supplementation and most importantly diet and rest. I do 30 – 40 minutes of fasted cardio daily, I do 8-15 reps when I go heavy and 15-30 reps (sometimes up to failure) with light weight.
Diet plays a crucial role in building lean muscle, so increasing lean protein intake and having a good serving of complex carbs e.g. sweet potatoes and broccoli.
Supplementing also assists as it helps replenish your muscles pre, intra and post training. And lastly, making sure that you get quality rest and sleep so that the body can recover.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training schedule and on average how long do you workout for?
In the morning I do fasted cardio and then do weights in the evening. I give each muscle group at least 48 hours rest before I train it again. I also change up my workout routine on a regular basis to target new muscles.
My weight training sessions usually last between 45-60 minutes.
What are your top training tips for someone starting out in the gym?
Set an achievable and time bound goal (start small and gradually build up towards your goal), do research on diet and training programs (there are tons of sites e.g. Fitnish.com and bodybuilding.com that give out credible and useful tips and programs) and if possible get a personal trainer or online-coach.
What are your essentials that are always in your gym bag?
Glutamine, amino acids, lifting straps, lip balm, deodorant, whey in my shaker, and a water bottle.
Do you have any fit fashion tips for the guys?
If it were up to me, I’d have guys walk around topless hahahha.
But…the tighter the better! I honestly like when the guy walks in the gym wearing a string vest that shows off arms, back, pecs and back! Tights are great if you have great legs lol.
What are your 3 favourite exercises?
- PULL UPS: great for back width and essential for that V-taper!
- Next would be PULL UPS for legs and glutes.
- Lastly, TRICEPS EXTENSIONS for my arms. Good for the horse shoe!
Which body part is your favourite to train and what are some of your trips to training it and favourite exercises?
Legs. I separate my ‘quad days’ and ‘hamstring/glute days’ focusing on each muscle group.
On leg days I bump up my carb intake and take pre-workout and go as heavy as possible on quads and I emphasize compound movements like squats, and then finish them with high rep extensions and walking lunges.
On hams/glutes days I use light weights with high reps.
What are some of the myths many girls fall prey to when it comes to trying to get a flat tummy and abs?
Thinking there is some secret or magic pill, drinking hot water, starving yourself, doing abs every day, waist training…the list is endless.
Favorite male Fitness models or bodybuilders?
- Locally would be Sibusiso Kotelo and Clint Arendse.
- Internationally, Simeone Panda, Flex and Ronnie Coleman.
Favorite female fitness icon(s):
- Locally, I have girl crushes on Charelle Johnson, Roxy Barker and Jessica van Rooyen.
- Internationally would be 2x Ms Figure Miss Olympia Latoya Watts and Kristina Nicole.
“The wolf at the top of the hill is not as hungry as the wolf climbing the hill.”
What is the most common question you get asked?
How do you get abs?
- My answer: training and clean diet.
Are people accepting of you if you offer advice to them in the gym if they look like they don’t know what they’re doing?
I hardly socialize when I’m in the gym or chit chat, however I offer advice when approached.
I wish I could change the perception of going to aerobic classes or doing long strenuous cardio sessions every day and hoping that will make them lose weight and tone up.
Do you plan to do any competitions?
I am yet to grace the stage. My first competition will be March next year as I had to pull out of Summerbodies in November.
Where can people get hold of you?
- Facebook: Gugu Zinhle Masango
- Instagram: zee_fitnessjunkie
- Email: zeefitnessjunkie[at]gmail.com