Gqeberha born Yanga Ngcayisa recently surprised everyone with his drastic physical transformation.
The 24-year-old fitness entrepreneur, product innovator, and the founder of The YNOT Workout who revealed that he lost 34kg in six months, and has been making waves in the fitness industry since.
Besides growing the YNOT brand, Ngcayisa also proudly serves as an Operations Manager for Creed Living which he says has skyrocketed his growth as he is surrounded by supportive leaders and colleagues.
IOL Lifestyle sat down with the entrepreneur to find out more about his transformation journey.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to make a change to your health?
A: I was always a ‘big guy’ but the sports I played kept me active, so I never really had any health or weight issues.
After calling it quits in rugby, I had an identity crisis, and more free time, and found comfort in excessive alcohol and food which led to a rapid weight gain.
I decided to make a change because I was not happy with where I was and what I saw in the mirror.
I figured that the only way I would do better was to be better, so I decided to reinvest in myself and that is how my journey started.
Q: How did you manage to integrate this healthy lifestyle into your life?
A: At the start, I had plenty of time on my hands, so it was easy to incorporate daily exercise and healthier meals into my life.
I lived in a self-catered student residence so I could prepare my own meals which laid the foundation for my transformation.
With that being said, it has become a bit more challenging with a lot more things demanding my attention but the way I manage is to have exercise as a staple in my routine and to stick to the routine.
Q: Has your approach to fitness and health changed as you have gotten older? And do you do things differently now compared to when you first started out?
A: It most definitely has as it is a lot more of a mindful approach as opposed to the ego-driven approach in the beginning.
An example is instead of trying to lift the heaviest weights, it is more about the time under tension that I am exposing my muscles to, and instead of seeing the gym as an ‘escape’, it has become a place to be more present and to get the important mind and muscle connection as well. It is a lot more mental than physical these days.
Q: What goals have you achieved since you started?
A: I am proud to be featured in internationally recognised publications such as Men’s Health and GQ South Africa along with having the opportunity to share my story on many other well-known local publications, television and radio stations.
Other boxes ticked include creating the YNOT Workout Deck and our first collaboration coming soon with media powerhouse and entrepreneur Pabi Moloi.
I have also achieved so many personal goals and it genuinely feels like the harder I work, the luckier I get.
I have more goals that I am working towards, but the main goal is linked to people. In my Instagram video link which I shared when I started my journey, I said that my goal was to inspire people to become better versions of themselves and to be the best that they can be.
That is still the goal through the YNOT brand now which encourages people to live limitlessly.
Q: What is your favourite form of exercise and why?
A: I enjoy HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts which incorporate main lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, shoulder presses, and pull-ups with cardio in between.
I get the most out of these workouts as there is both the benefit of resistance training and cardiovascular training.
Q: What is your favourite healthy food to eat and why?
A: Collagen and protein smoothies – add fruit, a superfood such as chia seeds, dairy or plant-based milk, Creed Living Collagen or Whey Protein and you have just made the nutrition Gods happy! I love these because they are quick and easy to make, they are an on-the-go meal and full of nutrients.
Q: How did you manage to alter your eating habits?
A: I did it by first observing my habits and I was surprised by how much I was eating simply because I was either bored or just because I saw the food in front of me – this was the first problem to solve.
I then started decreasing my portions and later cutting out starchy carbohydrates and sugar. I have since reverted to incorporating everything in moderation as cutting out things completely can be sometimes unsustainable.
As you go, you learn what your body is like and what works for you, and your lifestyle which I think is the key – adjust your eating habits to a long-term healthier lifestyle rather than a ‘quick fix.’
Q: What is your best piece of advice for those just starting to exercise?
A: I think I would say start small because it is the accumulation of the little bits of hustle that gives you the confidence to keep going.
Do one more rep each time, start with a 1km run, start with one less teaspoon of sugar and then build from there. It is also less overwhelming to start small and stay away from ever comparing yourself to anyone else because your journey is yours alone.
Q: And lastly, tell us about The YNOT Workout Deck.
A: The YNOT Workout Deck is where fun meets fitness! It is a pack of cards that boasts fifty-two exercise cards with various effective and challenging exercises to target the main muscle groups.
Workout variation is an integral part of keeping workouts engaging and staying consistent.
Without variation, training quickly becomes monotonous and less effective as you plateau. You simply draw a card, the number on the card represents how many repetitions you do, and the illustration is the exercise that must be performed.
The goal is to complete the workout deck and then further improve the time it takes you to complete the deck. In addition to this, there are a further few ways that the cards can be utilised in the form of card games.
For more info visit www.ynotofficial.co.za.