How this 22-year-old went from chubby student to gym beast


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Genetics are cruel. They can grant you basketball height, sprinter speed, or rugby power – or they can challenge you with setbacks and obstacles. For Reynhardt Gerber it was the latter, caused by a condition that left all of his ligaments lax and predisposed to injury.

How this 22-year-old went from chubby student to gym beast

While that caused Reynhardt knee issues and hampered his training, it didn’t stop him. His solution: learning from his idol, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and entering our Belly Off competition in 2014. Fast forward a few years, and there’s a whole new Reynhardt: stronger, leaner, and whole lot more injury-proof. Here’s how he did it.

Reynhardt Gerber – Lost 35KG

Hometown: Sasolburg

Occupation: Industrial Broker

Age: 22

Height: 1.92m

Weight Before: 135kg

Weight After: 100kg

Time To Goal: 1.5 years

The Problem
“I was born with a condition that makes all my ligaments too flexible, and it left me prone to injuries. I was also inactive as a child, which caused my condition to get worse, leading to a knee-ligament tear at cricket practice.

“So I started seeing physios as well as doctors, and focused on strengthening my entire body. It failed; I had two more knee injuries in the next two years. I got more depressed, and struggled to train on my own, and to get results – no matter who I recruited.”

The Lesson: Different people are dealt different hands in life. The first step for anyone: get past the excuses, and start the work.

The Change
“A friend who was visiting introduced me to bodybuilding, and I knew what I wanted to do with my life. In matric, I entered Belly Off. I made significant progress, but still lost the competition.

My shyness sank me, not my transformation: my results were better than those of the winner, but I didn’t have the guts to share my story. Knowing I could’ve won broke me. But I never gave up. I got up the next day, and kept exercising. I knew I would have redemption.”

The Lesson: Persistence can overcome anything, from self- doubt to people who want to crush your dreams.

The Strategy
“I harnessed that loss in the gym, exploring new strategies and switching up my meal plan. I wanted food that I enjoyed, but that would also help me build towards my goal. However, I realised I wasn’t eating enough. Sometimes I was even starving myself, and it was hurting my progress.

“I switched from eating three large meals to chowing on five to six smaller portions. That sped up my fat loss and ramped up my muscle gain. For the first time, I felt like I really understood my body.”

The Lesson: Supplement a healthy diet with proper hydration, and your work in the kitchen will pay dividends in the gym.

The Result
“At first I went into this to earn the admiration of my friends and family. But I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what other people think. I’m doing this for myself. Tap into that motivation from within, and you will be the happiest man alive. These days I’m no longer the shy, chubby student I once was.

“Now, I want to use my journey to help inspire other people in that same situation to realise that they do have control – it’s never, ever too late to change things and the world around you.”

The Lesson: You don’t get fat by eating one junk meal; nor do you get skinny by eating just one salad. Give yourself time to succeed.

By: Arthur Jones

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