One on One With Ifbb Bodybuilder Roelof 'Ralph' Coertze

Quick Stats

Name: Roelof Coertze
Age: 24
Height: 1.75m
Competition weight: 95 -100kg
Current weight: 113Kg
Current city: Pretoria
Where do you train: Tuks Student Gym
Occupation: Studying Theology, Psychology and Personal Training

Your dad was also a bodybuilder, did that initiate your love for bodybuilding or was it more than that?

Yes definitely, he competed for 8 years in many competitions then went to the military. My Uncle also competed with my dad and won the masters division at the Iffbb SA National Championships, so they were both really inspiring. Most days after School we used to sit in the gym and watch him train; he was different to most other dads, having big biceps and a huge chest, so it definitely made me want to look like that as well.

“I also started picking up dumbbells at the age of 7; just the small ones but you can see how interested I was at such a young age. My dad would say it’s too heavy right now, but just wait for the right time.”

Roelof 'Ralph' Coertze 1

What do you love about it and what keeps you motivated?

Well I grew up with a love for the sport, so by having that love, that’s really what keeps me going, because I really enjoy every aspect of it. If you do it for the love of it, that will keep you going.

“I am also very competitive and goal oriented. I try to set somewhat unrealistic goals for myself, so that I aim extremely high no matter what.”

For example when I did my first competition I always said to myself I want to go to the Worlds and even to the Olympia, even though I didn’t even have a win or anything at any show. Also the people who surround me support me a lot, in terms of the emotional aspect of the game. They really help to keep me motivated and keep getting better. There are also people who sort of see me as a role model and always come back to me, asking me what shows am I going to do next year and what improvements will I make; so a big thanks to all those people, they help me a lot and I hope I can encourage them in some way as well.

What competitions have you competed in and your placings?


  • USN competition, 1st in division and overall winner
  • Ifbb Gauteng North Provincials, Juniors u21 Division, 1st
  • Ifbb SA National Championships, Juniors u21 Division, 4th


  • H&H Classic, Juniors u21 Division, 4th
  • H&H Classic, Senior Men Over 90kg, 1st
  • Ifbb Gauteng North Provincials, Juniors u21 Division, 2nd


  • Ifbb Gauteng North Novice Classic, Senior Men Over 90kg, 1st place and overall winner


  • H&H Classic, Senior Men Over 90kg, 1st
  • Ifbb Gauteng North Provincials, Senior Men Over 90kg, 2nd
  • Ifbb SA National Championships, Senior Men Over 90kg, 5th

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What was your biggest mistake you made when starting out?

Well there were 2 major mistakes.

1. Firstly training too heavy, too often

I only believed in heavy weights and moving a lot of weight around, I didn’t believe in and utilize higher reps, volume, drop sets etc. The end result was that I ended up getting injured a lot. Rather try to have a balance between heavy weights and everything else. Always include heavy weight now and then.

2. The second mistake was eating too much junk food in the off season

Sometimes I would have KFC twice day! I would then end up gaining a lot of unnecessary body fat which made it more difficult come competition time to lose all that extra fat. I also ended up eating crap some days and then tried to drink liters of milk to make up my protein and carbohydrates in my diet.

Ralph & Johan Boshoff

What are your future plans?

For the sport, I plan to be back next year. I took this year off to add some size and thickness to my frame. I hope to do the H&H, provincials, and SA’s, but my main goal is to qualify for worlds.
Career wise, I have changed and focused more on psychology, and I am planning to work with my dad next year.

Take us through an average day of yours:

  • OK, I wake up and eat; I never wake up and don’t eat (one of my motto’s in this sport).
  • Then go to the gym at 6:00 am to do some personal training until about 8:00 am.
  • I get back home at 8:00 am. I eat again, then get ready and go to class until about 12:00 pm.
  • I eat again then go back home where I do class work and studying during the afternoon.
  • I eat again at about 3:00 pm. I then prepare all my food and shakes for gym and after gym.
  • I’m off to gym at 5:00 pm until about 6:00/6:30 pm, and then do some personal training with two people for about an hour.
  • I get back home at 8:00 pm and eat again. I study and work most of the night until about 1:00 am. But I eat at 11:00 pm and again at 1:00 am before bed.
  • I wake up at about 4:00 am to eat again.
  • If I don’t sleep at least 6 hours or so, I’ll take a nap in the morning again before class.

Roelof 'Ralph' Coertze 3

Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet, pre contest and during the off season.

  • 0600:  8 egg whites and 2 cups white rice – blended
  • 0900:  8 egg whites and 2 cups rice – blended
  • 1100:  250 grams of hake and 2 cups rice
  • 1400:  250 grams hake and 2 cups rice
  • 1630:  200 grams pineapple and 5 egg whites blended
  • Train. Pre, intra and post workout shakes.
  • 30 minutes after my post workout whey shake I’ll have 8 egg whites and 2 cups white rice – blended
  • 2000:  250 grams steak and 2 cups rice
  • 2400:  8 egg whites and half a liter skim milk
  • Throughout the night another 8 egg whites and 2 cups white rice – blended

This is an off season diet as I am trying to pick up weight. Even with all of that food it is still tough to pick up. What I will add to this diet is every 1 in 15 meals ill put in a breakaway meal. Meaning I can eat whatever and however much I want for that one meal; this helps to increase your metabolism and the extra calories tends to be quite useful for that little boost.
In season I’ll do the breakaway meals 1 in every 30 meals (1 every 3 days) and I’ll drop some of the rice, and/or I’ll swap the white rice for brown rice or for oats for that slower digestion lower GI carbohydrate.

What supplements do you use if any? And do you have a favorite brand?

I love American brands. I love Muscletech as they have always supported me throughout my career and I have worked for them with Cobus Van Der Merwe. The supplements I normally use are:

  • Pre workout either jackd 3d or BSN NO explode
  • During my workout, Muscletech’s Anabolic halo
  • Post workout, Muscletech’s Nitro Tech.

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Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training and on average how long do you workout for?

I believe in doing 1 muscle group a day and never training for more than an hour and a half. Depending on the muscle I train, my total sets vary between 9 and 25 (bigger muscles I do more sets, e.g. for back I do 25 sets and for a smaller body part like biceps I do 9 sets).

“I believe in a combination of volume and big ass weights, and a lot of contraction and isolation, even when I do big weights.”

Lastly the difference between a first place and a second place is the smaller muscles (like calves, forearms etc) which people often neglect to train so I am always sure to train everything.


What’s your favorite form of cardio?

Weight training! I don’t really believe in cardio.

“My cardio would be a higher volume weight workout. I’d rather train twice a day splitting the body parts even more because in the end it’s all about burning calories, and by doing this I can take my supplements twice a day which helps me grow a lot more even when prepping for a show.”

It helps to keep that thick muscle, and you can also eat more food when you train like that because in the end you end up burning more calories because weight training burns more calories than cardio.  I never go off season like before so I don’t need to lose excessive amounts of fat to get stage ready.

What would you say are the two best exercises you can do for a wider back?

Well my Dad brought me up in the gym with wide grip pull downs and T bar rows. So what I used to do is take one of these exercises to start my back workouts and do like 10 sets of it to really focus on the upper back, and then carry on with other exercises. So that’s how I got my back quite wide.

Roelof 'Ralph' Coertze 5

Favorite bodybuilders:

Arnold is one of my favorites, but I like athletes like Branch Warren and Frank Mcgrath because of their ways of training, the more hardcore ideas. On the other hand I admire guys like Kai Greene and his very philosophical and psychological approach. I think the best would be to have a balance between the ‘hardcore’ and the ‘philosophy.’

Which do you prefer and why. Today’s bodybuilders like Jay Cutler and Phil Heath, or the smaller physiques like Frank Zane.

I’d like to quote Shawn Ray: “Too often bodybuilding loses its beauty, and the shape that it had in Arnold’s days, and bodybuilding tends to lose its quality in our days. Words like classical, beautiful, artistic and old school won’t be used by some of the athletes today, for instance guys like Jay Cutler, Dennis James, these guys played Ronnie’s (Ronnie Coleman) game and chased his game in terms of being freaky and huge.” I like Phil Heath though because he still somewhat has that balance between the mass and the classical frame.

Favorite Quote:

“Ain’t nothing to it but to do it” by Ronnie Coleman

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One piece of advice for someone wanting to change their lifestyle and achieve their ideal physique?

I’m a personal trainer, and I tell this to a lot of people, set your goals high but start with small steps, clean up your diet and lean it out (limit fat and sugar) and be consistent with that. Then use a blender A LOT. It should be your best friend in a body building lifestyle. Lastly consistency in weight training, diet and supplementation plays a very important role in succeeding in this game and train for the love of the sport and not just for the arms and the chest!

Where can people get hold of you?

Face book or at the Tuks student gym, that’s where I work (personal training) and train.

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