I only listen to Jay Z or Kanye West when I’m at the gym, so I was bound to reference their lyrics eventually (see what I did there?). There’s nothing quite like listening to The Black AlbumMy Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyWatch the Throne or Yeezus while weight lifting, grunting and forcing yourself to get those last few reps of the last set out. “The New Workout Plan” from Kanye’s first album The College Dropout (which also turned 11 yesterday) was tailor-made for running on the treadmill or cycling, so much so that my earphones hardly pop out when it’s playing.

My love for rap aside, the past week has been quite tame. It was SA Menswear Week last weekend so I worked out on Wednesday evening (upper body) and Saturday morning (lower body) to make sure I could down the complimentary drinks guilt-free. Luckily there were coupons with our tickets that only allowed us two drinks a night. I got my upgraded programme for the next three weeks and let’s just say I’m going to be rolling and slithering around the office for the first few days. I’m moving from a two-day programme to three days and apart from having to up the weights, there are a lot more exercises involved. For chest and shoulders day, for example, I have to incorporate dumb bells for incline bench presses and flies. For arms, cable crossovers and more tricep exercises are part of the plan; and for legs, more calf raises and hamstring exercises. The instructor from Zone Fitness who gave me my programme, Mkhanyisi, will be helping me out once a week and tracking my progress, which I’m grateful for because the new lifts seem extremely technical.

I’ve also decided to do some body weight training before I go to bed and randomly during the days I’m at home on weekends. The popular 30 Day challenges seem to be doing the trick, especially the arm and ab exercises. I’m hoping the exercises will help with my mid-section and getting it more cut, plus gains in my overall strength.

During my consultation with the dietician at SSISA, I was told that for people working towards gaining muscle, when it comes to diet and exercise, it should be 50-50. I’ve been having more snacks during the day at work and eating more vegetables. The cafés downstairs have nuts and biltong in stock, so I’m not complaining. I’m also not complaining about all the fish I’ve been eating, because protein. I really love seafood, so it’s a highlight of the diet revamp. I also have an excuse to eat lots of lamb, chicken, tuna, avo, carrots and all the carbs I love way more than I usually do. I’m slowly warming up to cooking and enjoying the preparation process. I’m nowhere near hosting a dinner but knowing that I’m about to have a delicious and healthy meal motivates me enough to not mind chopping veggies and standing over a hot grill after work. I’ve opted for going to gym in the morning before work because apart from Saturdays, it’s the only time it isn’t too full. I’ve also noticed I’m less tired on the days where I do go, my thinking is clearer and my appetite has increased too.

I’m a bit anxious and paranoid about how long it’ll be before I start showing progress, arms bulging out of my T-shirts but my mother reminded me that it might take a while because of the pace of the programme and also that it’s only the second week. My challenges for the next few weeks are to be consistent with eating five times a day (three main meals and snacks in the late morning and mid-afternoon), make substantial gains the weights I lift at least every two weeks and to push through the post-training aches. It’s what Kanye would want me to do.