👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi there 👋🏻, my name is Kyla Dos Santos or better known as Coach Ky, born in 1995 and I currently reside in Johannesburg. I’ve been training since the age of 16 when I got told by a friend’s dad, who then claimed to be an ex-bodybuilder that “the fitness industry would eat me alive” and well I did my first show 12 weeks after that discussion and I’m still kicking.
My day time job is my online training and coaching along with my full time studies towards my clinical psychology degree. I am, however, qualified in sports science, nutrition as well as three years of LLB law studies behind my name before I decided to switch my major to psychology.
I’m engaged to a Viking of a man Tyrone Jagger who supports and accepts me like no other. Apart from training in the gym for shows, I’ve also done boxing and Krav Maga because self-defense is important, ladies, and it makes you feel badass 😉.
The fitness industry can be cruel but there’s also a large community part of it that I absolutely love because we are all just trying to better ourselves.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Being approached for an interview can be so daunting as I’m not here to try and pretend to be something I’m not, hell I can tell you I workout seven days a week but I don’t, I can tell you I don’t eat chips or carrot cake (massive lie ), I could tell you I’m ALWAYS MOTIVATED (biggest lie) and to be completely honest the fitness industry can get pretty dark and ugly.
I’d describe my training as hybrid training because it changes every so often. Some weeks I’m into yoga other weeks I’m into Krav Maga and during lockdown, it’s been body weight training and testing my cardio limits at home.
However, when it comes to prepping for a show, you would probably catch me in the gym doing an hour of resistance training along with about 40 mins of cardio, five days a week. However, it’s all dependent on where you start in your journey and what might work for me won’t work for someone else and the same goes for dieting.
Have I competed?
Yes, a couple of times and let me tell you my honest opinion on competing is that it's not as healthy as it looks. The truth behind the day can be pretty shocking, the lengths that some people go through for a water drop to look tight for one day.
I mean, let’s forget about the bodybuilders for a second and talk about the bikini girls, I’ve seen bikini girls inject themselves backstage with no care in the world and then you have to ask yourself ... what am I really up against ?
I myself have had such severe dehydration after a show that my entire body cramped up and forced me into the fetal position not being able to straighten my body for hours so believe me when I say I’ve seen and probably done it all except for injecting myself.
I compete because I love the glitz and glam and drive it gives you but it’s not for everyone and I’ve also had to learn healthier methods of doing this hence the reason I do not do prep coaching for shows and I am more lifestyle orientated with my clients and let’s be honest I also get my days where I don’t feel like it.
One of the biggest challenges is working, studying, making time for loved ones and still managing to train and some days. I’m just not up for it so I’d rather adapt my food to adjust to the lower calorie expenditure, but if we are talking about competing it’s another story and finding someone who understands what you do and why we do it can be difficult because it honestly does turn into a very selfish sport leading up to a show and sometimes you need someone who can support you but ground you at the same time “thanks mama“ haha
My family is my biggest support system but through them I’ve learned that there is no excuse to treat people badly but it does come with a price and this can be difficult when you start obsessing over the show and my best advice for this would be to keep your head down and work!
Don’t stalk your competition it will do more harm than good and always remember that pressure is privilege there are people out there that would give their front teeth for a good meal and here we are eating with special dietary requirements so always remember how blessed you are.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
The question I get most often is how do you stay so motivated all the time? I don’t. It’s that simple. I get my off days just like everyone else and I get through it.
My motivation changes all the time, sometimes it’s for a show, sometimes it’s for a Holiday, other times it’s to fit into an old pair of pants haha motivation to me is ever changing and it’s whatever drives you.
Let’s look at our lovely friend the Corona virus causing a national lockdown of our gyms each and everyone of my clients don’t have a gym membership anymore and train from home and personally speaking it’s become my new normal, too, and my coaching is busier than ever.
Does it get difficult, of course, but none of us know how long this will last so why not make the most out of what we have right now and my motivation is to be and stay happy in the skin I’m in and that can look different to everyone but to me that includes feeling healthy and active because I know myself and if I don’t look good I don’t feel good.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Interestingly you asked me what I would change in my fitness career if I could start over and what advice I would give my younger self, guys, please don’t sell your soul for a sponsorship is my first piece of advice and if I could start over I wish I did more research and didn’t just trust everything my coaches said.
Challenge the people guiding you ask questions and ask “why “ a thousand time if you must to understand what you are doing to your body and what the science is behind it.
Like I said, I’ve seen the ins and outs of this industry and you will either find yourself or lose yourself completely in it. It’s not all doom and gloom though some recent fitness trends that have been exciting me are these couple challenges like the #koalachallenge they can be great fun and provide a good laugh for the family and everyone involved.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Injuries and set backs can be blessings in disguise and a funny story about this was back in 2014 when I was 10 days out from a show and felt very sick and the doctor told me not to train because I had glandular fever and of course I went to gym and BAM!!!
I woke up the next morning with full blown mumps, nine days out from show refusing to take medication until a week out because I had no choice and ended up doing the show because I was too stubborn to quit and we’ll let’s just say five extra kgs of water retention and trying to contour something that resembled a jaw-line did not work out in my favour haha so that taught me a hard lesson in listening to my body and pushing harder might do the opposite of what you want.
Magnesium, magnesium, MAGNESIUM is like gold for recovery I swear by it especially for sore muscles and gut health and my recovery tool of choice is a deep tissue massage it helps so much with lymphatic draining but don’t do this too close to a show or a shoot as it might make you look soft due to the inflammation in the muscles after a massage.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
When it comes to will-power I view it as a muscle; the more you train it, the stronger it gets. Early on in my fitness journey, I recall having to leave the room because I couldn’t watch someone eat bread in front of me while I was in prep haha but honestly now I don’t really notice the food people eat or it doesn’t affect me and this is due to not restricting myself to that breaking point because I now use a more flexible approach with counting calories and macros.
However, I’m extremely dedicated when I’m in prep and find a set plan to be easier to follow because I don’t have to give thought to what I need to eat and prefer sticking to the old school basics of egg whites, chicken breast and rice but a tip I can suggest is when doing a carb up before your show stick to the carb sources your body has become accustomed to because sometimes having cake or chocolates, jelly tots or even coke before you go on stage can backfire massively because your stomach isn’t used to it and you might bloat.
Cheat days are weekly and in my opinion it’s definitely more of a psychological treat than a physical one but I’ve got my set standards because binging isn’t great either so I plan it and it’s usually movie night with my Viking, Rocomamas burger and chips or Chinese chicken fried rice with a chocolate donut and a jam filled donut or carrot cake.
So basically a good meal and a dessert because unplanned cheat days can turn into binging real quick because none of the foods are satisfactory and you end up eating until you find something that satisfies you and end up feeling more disappointed in yourself afterwards.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Okay so my gym look says “good girl just tryna lift weights “ but my playlist says “I’ll rip your throat out “ hahaha I need my earphones at top volume with some Rock to get my head in the game and I definitely prefer training alone it’s a very personal experience for me because training with someone just leads to a chat session haha.
Podcasts and YouTube videos are a great way to educate yourself but please listen to educated people who know what they are talking about.
Some of my faves include layne Norton, Holly Baxter, Paul Revelia and Jeff Nippard, there’s always new studies and explanations so these are great to educate yourself and kill cardio time.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I prefer training in big shirts with band logos haha I don’t know how some girls do it in their rainbow sports bras that might nip slip an innocent bystander at any given moment while turning blue in the face from sucking it in. I’d much rather throw on a Megadeth T-shirt and get it done.
If I was new to fitness now I would definitely not put so much pressure on myself by comparing my starting point to others that have been doing this for years.
Stay humble is advice number 2, chances are you aren’t as great as you think you are, advice 3 is that honestly most supplements that you buy over the counter are useless and you’re just helping the fella at dischem in the supplements isle make his commission, those people don’t need a degree or certificate to sell you something they are sales people, their job is to sell you stuff.
Does the average female need whey protein in her diet, probably not she could very well get in all the protein she needs from her food, protein shakes were originally created for bodybuilders who needed to get more protein in that surpasses the average persons daily protein goals.
THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR FOOD, along with fillers, soy (that mimics estrogen within the body not a great idea for people with estrogen dominance) and a lot of other stuff you don’t need along with unnecessary calories. I personally haven’t used supplements like whey protein in at least two years.
Oh and lastly, don’t get sucked in by social media guys, nobody is posting their failures and let’s be honest nobody looks like some of those Instagram pictures. Heck, the people posting it don’t even look like that haha, we’ve all seen those warped backgrounds where the waist is so tiny it pulls the background into another dimension #dontbefooled #staywoke
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
The long term effects some of these diets and supplements can have on your body can be pretty scary and that’s why I love what I do.
I’ve found a gap in the fitness industry for a more holistic approach to weightloss. We’ve all heard the “ive tried everything but I can’t lose weight “ now sometimes this statement might not be as far off from the truth .... hormones have a major role to play hence the reason I’m so engulfed in getting my Clinical degree, estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency, thyroid issues there are so many and that’s where my psychology works hand in hand with my clients.
I do put a lot of effort into my clients because I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach and I take EVERYTHING into consideration and because I have an app based online system it’s extremely easy for my clients to have their diets and training in their pockets and it be accessible wherever they are.
Something as simple as high stress levels for example can have an avalanche effect on your hormones and if you don’t bring down your cortisol levels you will battle to lose weight and this can also be triggered by traumatic events such as heart break or even postpartum.
Depression is referred to as the common cold amongst psychologist because we live such highly stressed lives and on top of that certain antidepressants can cause weight gain, certain birth control pills can cause weight gain and then instead of helping you, you might end up more depressed due to the weight gain than when you started a little.
Fun fact is that a lot of people battling with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) could be suffering from a lack of serotonin (one of our happy hormones) now you might be thinking this should effect the brain, right? Wrong ! Up to 80 % of our serotonin can be found in our gut and this effects our gut health along with digestion and absorption.
My advice “ Listen to your body and take a balanced approach “ your body will give you signs if you listen to it, things such as bloating, break outs, hair loss, weight fluctuations, tender breasts. mood swings and so much more are all indications that something is not right.
When I say balance, I say find an approach that A: sets you in a calorie deficit if your goal is to lose weight, include foods that you like along with nutrition that will benefit your hormones and goals because I firmly believe the diet that actually works is the one that FITS into your lifestyle.
Gosh, you don’t have to eat eight meals a day, you don’t have to train 24/7 and no you don’t have to turn down that birthday cake and always be the odd one out instead make it fit to your day and let me tell you something....losing weight is just as much of a mental game as it is a physical one, if you can’t control your mind you’ll lose yourself every time.
Dealing with suicidal clients and people who are at their wits end can be overwhelming but that’s why I not only strive to help people lose weight.
I educate so that they can learn to love themselves in the process and learn how to maintain long after I’m gone and I have a weekly checking approach with all my clients because there should be some sort of change in that time and if something isn’t working I don’t want to leave them doing the same thing for a month before it gets changed and they’ve lost that time.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
💬 Kyla Dos Santos quotes
Kyla shares some great, motivating insights in this interview. Feel free to share these quotes on your Instagram, Pinterest and so on 😍