Mika Stefano is South Africa’s socialite turned celebrity. The famous social commentator is widely recognised for his witty comments and sharp tongue on various TV shows and radios stations. Mika recently transformed himself and has added a new tag to his name – he has become one of South Africa’s top fitness personalities. A Fitness Chat with Mika reveals how he went from fat to fit and his participation in Old Mutual’s ultimate 5km running and music festival, The Music Run™. Read on as Mika Stefano shares how lost weight, his diet and training programs.
What influenced you to want to lose weight?
Kidney Stones. After a week in the hospital and a number of visits to doctors to remove the kidney stones, I decided to try to lead a healthier lifestyle. Losing weight was a bonus. I was more focused on the desire to improve my level of fitness.
What kind of exercises did you do during this period?
I combined various styles of training. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), weight training and cardio. HIIT is great for all fitness levels but if you want to lose weight, combine HIIT and cardio.
Did you ever feel like giving up? What motivated you to keep going?
Not really. As soon as you notice a small change during a fitness journey, you feel inspired to continue. When you notice, your hard work has paid off, it’s much easier to keep going.
You went from fat to fit; how long did it take you and how have you kept the weight off?
It took me 8 months to lose the 30kgs. I have now gained some weight but my body fat percentage is still low. I am trying to gain some muscle, so now the challenge is to increase my weight (muscle mass) but keep body fat low.
What foods do you and do not eat?
I try to keep my diet clean during the week. Pretty basic – chicken, broccoli and brown rice. Weekends I am a little bit more relaxed. The odd take out to keep the lifestyle balanced. You can’t cut out chocolate completely. I cut down on coca cola, but every now and then I’ll have a glass of coke.
What is your weekly training schedule like?
After the December break, I have been rather slack with cardio. I am taking part in The Music Run™ race on Saturday 4 February 2017 which will be at Riversands Farm Village. So, in preparations, I have added some cardio to my weekly training. Sure, I burn a few calories teaching my classes – But I have also started attending other trainers’ classes.
Can you tell me more about this race? Who knows I might also want to take part haha.
The Music Run™ allows participants to control the soundtrack of the run by voting for their favourite songs in the build-up to the event. People are currently voting via a ‘Music Voting App’ and songs with the most votes make the official run playlist.
So, this Saturday, runners will experience the world’s loudest 5km running course, known as ‘The Sound Track’. More than 120 speakers will be pumping out the most popular songs across five interactive and music-themed zones – pop, rock, old school, hip-hop and dance.
The run will end with the ultimate after-run music festival, which includes world-class DJs, dancers, laser lights, LED screens, chill out zones, giveaways and plenty more. You are coming after hearing this right?
Absolutely! What motivates you to get through a sweat session?
The music. Music plays a huge role in my classes and when I train. When doing cardio and HIIT I try to keep my music fast and fun. Mixes are great.
When weight training I like to listen to deep house, hip-hop and even kwaito. Because it has a slower BPM it allows you to train properly without rushing it as if you are at a rave.
What advice do you have for someone who is overweight and trying to lose weight?
Just keep at it. Set realistic goals and never give up. Find ways of moving that aren’t boring for you. So maybe add dancing, karate, aerobics or swimming to your programme.
Do you have favourite exercises?
This changes. I used to love squats. I mean everyone wants that bubble bum. But I have grown to like various exercises. Shoulder press is cool and so are deadlifts.
Some days I feel like heavy weight training other days I enjoy high interval training and some days, not often I enjoy a good aerobic showdown. Exercises I am starting to like after a long time of disapproving of them, are explosive exercises such as burpees and star jumps.