Name: David Watkeys
Height: 1,77 m
Competition weight: 82 kgs
Current weight: 88 kgs
Current city: Durban, South Africa
Occupation: Honours student and trainer
How did you get started?
I played rugby at school and kept getting knocked out. I suffered a really bad head injury on one occasion and I either had to stop playing or stop getting knocked out. So I went into the gym and started working on my strength and all round conditioning in the off season and luckily I never suffered from a concussion again.
What do you love about it and how do you stay motivated?
I love that I can be alone in the gym and forget about everything else that may be going on in life. It gives me a way of challenging myself on a daily basis and it has just become a daily part of my routine.
Motivation has never been an issue for me. I can’t put my finger on what motivates me but I think when you are passionate about something, you can’t really explain where the motivation comes from.
What made you enter your first show? How did you prepare for it?
My coach, Riaan Dohne approached me and suggested that I compete but I told him no because it was so far out of my comfort zone. Eventually about 18 months later after some more encouragement from Riaan, I decided to just try and see what happens.
It was extremely hard to prepare.
I don’t think anyone expects it to be as hard as it is but that’s what makes it an amazing journey.
It was a relatively long prep with 2 training sessions a day and the usual boring diet food.
How has your prep changed or evolved from then till now?
In my second year I started my prep quite late but I made sure I stayed relatively lean in the off season. Therefore when I started we weren’t in a rush to drop body fat levels. This allowed me to eat more carbohydrates and more food, while doing less cardio. I feel this helped an enormous amount and is part of the reason I had a much better physique on stage this year.
What are some things you learnt about yourself through competing and through the process of competing?
You learn to make the most of an opportunity when it is presented to you because there are no second chances. You surround yourself with the right kinds of people who only want to support and help you on your journey.
You learn you are far more capable than you ever thought.
How important is the mental aspect of this sport? How do you keep a positive mindset and attitude through setbacks?
The mental aspect is incredibly important. If your mind isn’t right or if you are not tough, those hard days will stop you in your tracks. I’ve taken a lot of time this year to work on myself mentally through listening to podcasts and it made a massive difference.
My coach has also always been there to help pick me up when I start to doubt myself. It has also been amazing to be surrounded by my Rishape team mates as we all support and help one another.
What has been your biggest setback thus far and how did you overcome it?
I would say my biggest disappointment was where I placed in my shows this year, 5th, 7th and 8th. Those were very hard to take but I did all I could in my preparation, so you just have to keep working hard and your time will come.
But on the flip side Jaco De Bruyn approached me to become an ambassador for Aesthetix Era, so everything has a way of working out.
What are your future plans?
One massive goal I have is to be on the cover of a magazine. That would be a surreal feeling and moment. I also want to create a respectable online training business.
Competing wise, my next show will be WBFF SA 2017.
Who has been your biggest inspiration and who do you look to for motivation?
Riaan Dohne has been a big inspiration to me in and out of the gym. I have worked for him at his body transformation challenge for 2 years, so we have become very close and he is like an older brother to me. Being sponsored my Aesthetix Era has really motivated me and helped me believe in myself.
What are your top nutrition tips to shed fat while holding on to as much muscle as possible?
- Take your time.
- It’s a process and you need to learn to love it.
- Don’t do anything drastic and if your plan is working then stick to it and have patience.
- Nutrition wise, stick to the basics, good whole food choices.
- Carbohydrate cycling can prove to be very effective when implemented the right way. Eg cycling between low, medium and high carbohydrate intake on particular days.
What process do you follow when its time to start getting ready for a competition?
Clean up the diet and stop having little things here and there. I’ll have 2 cheat meals a week, then 1 and then none. Carbohydrates gradually decrease until I’m stage ready.
I like to be stage ready a few weeks out. Training intensity gradually increases through high reps, supersets, shorter rest period, dropsets, anything to increase intensity.
Take us through an average day of yours:
I’ll give you the worst days I had to go through when I was prepping this year. Note, everyday was not like this but it was pretty close.
- 4am: Wake up and have breakfast and get ready for the day
- 5am-7am: Run Rishape Fitness classes
- 7am-8am: Cardio and abs/calves
- 8am-9am: Have second meal and prep the rest of the day’s meals
- 9 30am-3pm: Attend lectures at university and study
- 3pm-4pm: Weight training session
- 4 30pm-5 30pm: Private personal training
- 5 30pm-7 30pm: Run Rishape Fitness classes
- 7 30pm-10pm: Time to relax or do whatever needed to be done
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet, pre contest and during the off season:
Good basic whole foods. Don’t over complicate things. Stick to the basics and eat enough food!
Far too many people are under eating. My pre contest and off season diet are quite similar. In the off season I have more carbohydrates on a daily basis and I don’t miss dinners with families and friends. It is important to find a balance in your time off. I also love chocolate, so I enjoy that when I’m not competing.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training style:
Be consistent. That is the most crucial factor there is. Don’t train for 2 months and then stop for one month and continue that cycle.
Commit to one year of solid training and once you see what one year of consistency can do, you will train for another and so it will continue. Forget about what weight you are using and focus on the contraction of the working muscle itself.
Training schedule is weights sessions 6 times a week, all year round. Hitting weaker body parts twice a week. Mix things up, heavy one week and then supersets the next.
Make sure your body never gets used to what stimulus it is receiving.
What are some tips for beginners putting together a training program to build size?
- Make sure you are doing the exercises correctly.
- Hit each body part once a week.
- Be consistent.
- Ask the right kinds of people questions.
- I have no problem answering questions at the gym and helping. So find someone that can help you.
Do you include much cardio in your training?
Pre contest I do cardio every day. Off season I like to do 2 HIIT sessions a week.
What are your three favourite exercises and why?
Leg day is my favourite and the squat is the traditional leg exercise.
2. Wide grip pull ups
Back width is something I want to improve on, so this exercise has become my favourite to try fix this.
3. Hill sprints
Not an exercise, but one of my favourite and most effective methods of training I have ever used.
What tips and advice would you give for developing such dry and solid abs and side abs (serratus)?
I spend a lot of time on the pull up bar doing hanging knee raises, side twists and windmills. Focus on breathing out completely when contracting and hold that contraction for 2 seconds.
Make sure you are just contracting the abdominal muscles and not using momentum!
What is the most common question you get asked?
Can I have your diet?
My answer: Your diet is so dependent on the individual. My diet will not necessarily work for everyone and my diet changes on a monthly basis. Unfortunately one size does not fit all. It would be irresponsible of me to throw my diet at everyone. The best thing I did was invest in a coach and get real results.
Favorite Influential bodybuilders:
“Fortune favours the bold.”
Favourite female fitness icons:
Dana Lynn Bailey.
Best piece of advice you ever received?
Work hard. The right people will come to you and your time will come.
What are some things you see guys/girls doing wrong in the gym that you wish you could correct?
Guys try go too heavy and don’t execute the exercise correctly. Some girls spend too much time on the treadmill walking and not enough time in the weights section.
What competitions have you competed in?
- East coast classic | 1st
- SSN | 4th
- Provincials | 4th
- King shaka | 5th
- Arnold classic | 7th
- Wbff | 8th
Where can people get hold of you?
- Facebook: David Watkeys
- Instagram: davewatkeys