Vuyo Dabula shares his fitness and diet tips with us

Vuyo Dabula is definitely fitness goals. Image: Manelisi M. Dabata/S Mag
Vuyo Dabula is definitely fitness goals. Image: Manelisi M. Dabata/S Mag

For years Vuyo Dabula has enthralled viewers in movies and on TV – including Africa’s first original Netflix series, Queen Sono. Apart from his acting chops, he has inspired many with his impeccable fitness regimen.

He shares his fitness journey with us.

The love of fitness was instilled in me at an early age because my father very athletic and my mother loved jogging and maintaining a good diet. As a young boy, I was also influenced by international action heroes such as Bruce Lee, Jean-Claude van Damme and Sylvester Stallone.

I grew quite skinny and I was body shamed a lot. So I adopted a fighter character which I played for myself on a daily basis. To warm up I spend about an hour on the treadmill, running about 10-15km. After warming up, I move on to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which consists of a variety of intense workouts and resting for about 10-30 seconds in between. After the workout I go to work, if I have work. In the evening I will focus on a specific muscle group. For leg day it’s exercises that focus on my hamstrings, thighs, calves, and so on. The next day I may move onto my stomach – an ab workout – or on my arms. And on Saturdays and Sundays I will do lower intensity workouts.

Diet is important. I eat regularly throughout the day but in small portions. I eat foods that are high in protein like beans and darker vegetables. I make sure I burn more calories than I consume.

I always try to maintain a balance in my life despite my hectic schedule. Sometimes I have to shoot two different shows simultaneously. For example I was shooting Queen Sono and Generations: The Legacy (on SABC 1) at the same time. During such times it’s important to prioritise because I have to be able to train, spend time with my family and also deliver at work.

I am lucky that I have a supportive family and close friends who understand my impossible schedule. However, it is very important for me to make time for my close people and still be able to [go to the] gym and perform.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I don’t have a personal trainer but, where I lack wisdom, I don’t hesitate to ask for advice from those who have the knowledge.

Learn to priories and make sacrifices. There is no way you can achieve your goals without deciding what’s important. You will have to cut out on things that have a negative impact on your body or do them in moderation, like drinking alcohol.

Have discipline. To succeed, you need discipline because you need to put in a great deal of time and effort in order to see results.

Be easy on yourself. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, remember to be easy on yourself and build yourself up slowly. It took small steps for me to get to where I am today. Do it slowly and wisely.

Be kind to yourself. You cannot be hard on yourself if you have not been kind to yourself. That’s why people fall off the wagon – because they are not kind to themselves.

This article first appeared in the March 2020 print edition of S Mag. The Sowetan’s quarterly lifestyle magazine.